California faith community ignores Governor’s ban on singing and chanting; ‘Don’t Ban Singing in Church’ Petition gains thousands of signatures

By Michael Hernandez

SACRAMENTO—The California faith community (Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus) is ignoring Gov. Gavin Newsom’s July 1 Executive Order stating: “Places of worship must therefore discontinue indoor singing and chanting activities” as an unconstitutional overreach of executive power which will be legally challenged.

The directive is written on page 3 of  the “COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services and Cultural Ceremonies” released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on July 6.  (Editor’: To see the 14-page document go to: https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-places-of-worship.pdf.)

The executive order will face a legal challenge next week by the American Center for Law and Justice in coordination with Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting constitutional and religious liberty in the courts. This Murietta-based law firm is led by Robert Tyler, General Counsel.

Meanwhile, the American Center for Law and Justice petition entitled ‘Don’t Ban Singing in Church” has generated 188,142 signatures in just five days.  (Editor: To sign the petition go to this link: https://aclj.org/religious-liberty/dont-ban-singing-in-church.)

The nationwide ACLJ petition states: “Radical Left-run states are banning singing in church. This is a blatant violation of our religious free exercise and free speech. The Coronavirus pandemic is real, and no community has done more to be flexible and ensure the health and safety of their congregants than churches all across America.

“We all want to keep America safe, and the ACLJ has been hard at work to do that. But NOTHING should be allowed to trample our constitutional rights. The radical Left has gone too far. Banning singing is an unconstitutional abuse of power. And to do it in the name of a pandemic is despicable. In California, the ban is as direct as it is unconstitutional: “places of worship must…discontinue singing.”  This is clearly targeted at religion and clearly a violation of the First Amendment.

“At the ACLJ, we are preparing to potentially file lawsuits on behalf of numerous churches if the state won’t back down. These cases could quickly head to the Supreme Court. We urgently need you to take action with us now.”

The American Center for Law and Justice released the following three stories on the ban of singing written by Executive Director Jordan Sekulow:

July 7:

https://aclj.org/religious-liberty/radio-recap-california-bans-singing-in-church-aclj-takes-action

https://aclj.org/religious-liberty/aclj-defending-religious-liberty-against-new-california-singing-ban-that-specifically-aims-to-silence-churches-worshiping

July 8:

https://aclj.org/religious-liberty/radio-recap-the-aclj-fights-back-against-californias-ban-on-church-singing

To read a Fox News story (written by Caleb Parke and published July 6) on “Outrage after California bans singing in churches amid coronavirus pandemic: Pastors call Gov. Newsom’s order ‘completely discriminatory’ after weeks of protests” go to:

https://www.foxnews.com/us/california-singing-ban-church-coronavirus-restriction

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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