Californians are still free to attend their house of worship. But they’re forbidden from singing or chanting. Updated COVID-19 guidelines issued Wednesday by the state Department of Public Health require churches and other houses of worship to “discontinue singing and chanting activities.” In previously allowing religious organizations to reopen in late May, the state merely said these institutions should “strongly consider discontinuing singing, group recitation, and other practices and performances.
And why shouldn't the California governor be bold? After all, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an application for injunctive relief filed by South Bay United Pentecostal Church (Church) challenging California Governor Gavin Newsom's restrictions.
And now this.
The US Navy has in some commands restricted participation in indoor religious services off base. Service members are required to sign that they have received the FRAG orders. Those who disobey will be held accountable. The orders also add that “civilian personnel, including families, are discouraged from” these indoor church services, as well.
The provision is particularly odious because frequently the choices on base may be severely limited due to the fact that some, perhaps even many, installation chapels are still closed—even though many of them could well ensure appropriate social distancing. Of course, the Navy cannot legally prohibit family members from frequenting religious services off base. Those family members return home where the military member lives. What is the protective effect of the prohibition for the Navy personnel?
And again, the Church is viewed as an enemy and worship is prevented. How will this help?