US Freedom of Religion Under Attack? California Bans Singing in Church
Conservative politicians and Christian leaders alike in the United States railed against California legislators for a new coronavirus-related regulation that bans singing in any indoor religious services, even with masks on, under new guidelines issued Wednesday (7/1/20) by the Department of Public Health.
And after pointing out the irony of unfettered protests in the US amidst the ongoing pandemic, Bethel Music worship leader, Sean Feucht, posted a photo of his reaction (featured/below).
Feucht tweeted Friday: “Welcome to California. We encourage you to shout with thousands during protests but have banned you from singing in church to God.”
ME AFTER HEARING THEY BANNED SINGING IN CHURCH IN CALIFORNIA! ????????????????????????????????????????????????
LOL LOL LOL
SEE YA TONIGHT YA’LL!!!! pic.twitter.com/SJi93SY298
— Sean Feucht (@seanfeucht) July 3, 2020
Several influential leaders, including Pastor Jentezen Franklin, said that the government order was discriminatory and goes against the First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion clause which states that everyone in the US has the right to practice his or her own religion. Franklin also pointed to the government’s apparent green light to the recent marches in the US.
“California’s Governor just banned singing/chanting at church,” Franklin tweeted Friday. “Catholics can’t recite mass; Evangelicals can’t worship out loud. The very definition of discrimination is to allow thousands to march and scream without masks while telling churches 100 or less that you cannot sing.”
California’s Governor just banned singing/chanting at church. Catholics can’t recite mass; Evangelicals can’t worship out loud. The very definition of discrimination is to allow thousands to march and scream without masks while telling churches 100 or less that you cannot sing.
— Jentezen Franklin (@Jentezen) July 3, 2020
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas also weighed in on Twitter, calling the order “grossly, transparently unconstitutional.”
???????? This is the text of an actual government order: “Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing….”
Grossly, transparently unconstitutional. https://t.co/PmmCe0T9yI
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 3, 2020
CDC Guidelines: Places of Woship
Even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations. In particular, activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk- reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.
*Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower. Local Health Officers are advised to consider appropriate limitations on outdoor attendance capacities, factoring their jurisdiction’s key COVID- 19 health indicators. At a minimum, outdoor attendance should be limited naturally through implementation of strict physical distancing measures of a minimum of six feet between attendees from different households, in addition to other relevant protocols within this document.
Journalist commentator Todd Starnes reported on his site:
Dr. Paul Chappell, the pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church, a mega-church north of Los Angeles, told The Todd Starnes Show that his congregation plans on singing even louder.
“First the state told us when to worship. Now they are telling us “how” to worship,” he said. “We have been patient, and safe (even wearing masks). Our church will sing to the Lord Sunday.The heavens declare His glory and so will we.”
It really is the only proper pastoral response to such an unconstitutional edict.
“We have watched our elected leaders pray and sing with demonstrators in the streets. We invite them to join us Sunday to see we actually practice social distancing and we will obey the scripture to sing and admonish one another in the Lord,” the pastor said.
Featured photo: Sean Feucht