(Pasadena Now) A Pasadena church with additional campuses in Irvine and Corona filed an emergency request with a federal judge early Saturday seeking a temporary restraining order halting the threat of enforcement of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on singing and chanting in places of worship —enacted to help fight the spread of the coronavirus —at Sunday’s service and all future services.
Pasadena-based Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry Inc. allege in a federal civil complaint against the governor that the ban violates the right to religious freedom clause of the First Amendment, and the “cherished liberties for which so many have fought and died.”
The church contends that failure to gather in person for religious worship services “is disobedience to the Lord for which (the church) will be held divinely accountable.”
Recent guidelines issued by the state Department of Public Health, through the governor, discourage singing or chanting indoors due to fears that it increases the spread of respiratory droplets, thus increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 among a crowd.
Newsom’s office could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday.
The church maintains that in times of “trouble and distress,” congregants “are to sing to the Lord even more and to sing aloud to Him,” according to the 74-page suit filed late Friday in Los Angeles. The emergency request for a temporary restraining order was lodged with the court early Saturday.
Harvest Rock alleges that public health guidelines unfairly target places of worship over other institutions, because Newsom supported protests over George Floyd’s in-custody death and police brutality that included chanting during the pandemic.
“The Governor cannot claim a compelling, legitimate, or even rational interest in his orders when he has permitted and encouraged mass gatherings of thousands of protesters to engage in the very activity he claims poses a massive danger to California if it takes place in Plaintiffs’ churches,” the suit states.
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Editors Note. This article was written by Fred Shuster and published at Pasadena Now. Title changed by Pulpit & Pen
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