Supreme Court rejects to limit church services

Supreme Court rejects to limit church services
| PentecostalTheology.com

WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal by a California church that challenged state limits on attendance at worship services that have been imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Over the dissent of the four more conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, in the San Diego area.

CALIFORNIA ANNOUNCES CHURCHES, HOUSES OF WORSHIP CAN REOPEN UNDER CERTAIN GUIDELINES AMID CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

The church argued that limits on how many people can attend their services violate constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and had been seeking an order in time for services on Sunday. The church said it has crowds of 200 to 300 people for its services.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Supreme Court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, Calif., in the San Diego area.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Supreme Court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, Calif., in the San Diego area.
Roberts wrote in brief opinion that the restriction allowing churches to reopen at 25% of their capacity, with no more than 100 worshipers at a time, “appear consistent” with the First Amendment. Roberts said similar or more severe limits apply to concerts, movies and sporting events “where large groups of people gather in close proximity for extended periods of time.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in dissent that the restriction “discriminates against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses. Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.” Kavanaugh pointed to supermarkets, restaurants, hair salons, cannabis dispensaries and other businesses that are not subject to the same restrictions.

Lower courts in California had previously turned down the churches’ requests. The court also rejected an appeal from two churches in the Chicago area that objected to Gov. Jay Pritzker’s limit of 10 worshipers at religious services. Before the court acted, Pritzker modified the restrictions to allow for up to 100 people at a time. There were no recorded dissents.

5 Comments

  • Reply May 31, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    If you reopen your buildings for worship services and people show up, will they like the experience and want to come back?
    I think this is going to be a stretch…especially for people you are trying to reach. I’m imagining this scenario:

    First you need to go make a reservation on our website. When you arrive on our campus, you’ll need to be escorted to your seat. We’ll need to get your contact information to track you down in case someone is here with the virus. You’ll need to wear this mask. You have to sit six feet apart from everyone else in this big room which will be about 20 percent full. Your kids will need to sit with you through this entire service that is designed for adults because we can’t open our kids environments at this point. When the service is over, please leave promptly and return to your cars while avoiding contact with other people.

    It sounds delightful.

    Again, I have to ask, is this the wisest use of your resources (time, leadership, volunteers, money, energy, etc.) during this season? Or, would the Kingdom return on investment be better if you focused on your digital ministry strategy and the long-term shifts you’ll need to make to effectively carry out your mission and vision once this crisis is behind us.

  • Reply May 31, 2020

    Alice Carver

    I will pray for strength in these last days, we’ve got to make a stand for GOD.

  • Reply May 31, 2020

    Isara Mo

    Good decision.

  • Reply May 31, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    Your article needs to consider this Micael Grenholm

  • Reply June 1, 2020

    Varnel Watson

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