California Churches Fight Back Against Gov. Newsom’s Crackdown on Worship

Gavin Newsom Sued by CA Churches
Jeff Chiu/AP

Churches are fighting back against California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s orders to keep churches shuttered, even forbidding singing in small groups who are gathering to worship on Sunday.

The Florida taxpayer-funded National Public Radio station reported on a the Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin, California, that opened for services last Sunday:

Pastor Greg Fairrington prayed for Newsom in a sermon on Sunday, telling his congregation that they were engaged in a spiritual battle against the government for the right to worship freely, according to the Sacramento Bee.

“I believe our call is to get the church ready for an outpouring, to get the church ready for an awakening, but God is giving us right now in this moment a rude awakening before he gives us the great awakening, and for some reason God is using Destiny as a hub,” Fairrington said.

The Washington Examiner reported on three churches that have sued Newsom after he mandated they suspend singing because of the resurgence of coronavirus cases in the state:

The churches, which filed the suit on Wednesday in a federal court in Sacramento, are seeking an exemption from a July 1 executive order requiring them to “discontinue singing and chanting” at services. Like other coronavirus-related church lawsuits, it argues that the order treats churches differently than other sectors of society, saying that Newsom “has been unwavering in his support of massive protests,” where much chanting has occurred.

“When asked to explain whether people should heed Newsom’s mandate and avoid large crowds and gatherings, Newsom refused to place the same restrictions on protesters and explained ‘we have a Constitution, we have a right to free speech,’ and further stated that ‘we are all dealing with a moment in our nation‘s history that is profound and pronounced — do what you think is best,'” the complaint said.

The complaint said that Newsom’s order does not extend the same leniency to churches, instead threatening them with a “fine, imprisonment, or both” if they violate the singing ban.

“This ban is clearly targeted at religion,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, one of the nonprofit law firms representing the churches, said. “It is clearly a violation of the First Amendment and a direct violation of religious liberty.”

The Examiner reported:

But the three churches, Calvary Chapel of Ukiah, Calvary Chapel Fort Bragg, and River of Life Church, are not part of a second ban Newsom instituted this week, asking the majority of churches in the state to suspend their indoor services to prevent spreading the disease. Many other churches have stated that they have no intention to comply with the ban.

“Enough is enough, said Don Komush, pastor of Upper Room Church near Fresno, who is planning to hold a large protest against Newsom’s orders this weekend.

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