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Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

U.S. Department of Justice Gives Gov. Newsom Stern Warning Over Church Closings

DOJ cites First Amendment in California house of worship closures

By Evan Symon, May 21, 2020 2:01 am

There is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights


On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sent Governor Gavin Newsom a three-page letter warning that that state’s house of worship closures are discriminatory and should receive equal treatment under the First Amendment.

The letter from Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband specifically noted that while businesses and film studios are allowed to currently operate in California, houses of worship remain closed. Dreiband specifically cited this as an ‘unequal treatment of faith communities’.

“Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights,” noted Dreiband in the letter. “California has not shown why interactions in offices and studios of the entertainment industry, and in-person operations to facilitate nonessential e-commerce, are included on the list as being allowed with social distancing where telework is not practical, while gatherings with social distancing for purposes of religious worship are forbidden.”

The letter further states that houses of worship, under equal treatment, should have reopened along with restaurants and other businesses during Phase 2 of reopening while also employing social distancing and public health measures such as facemasks.

A growing number of churches in California have set a May 31st reopening date in defiance to California’s Phase system. To date, over 1,200 clergy members have signed on to reopen before the end of the month. The openings would happen several weeks before the official state reopening date of Phase 3, which includes places of worship. Governor Newsom said that Phase 3 would begin as early as June,

“Every church, every synagogue, every mosque, every temple, every type of place of worship wants to reopen,” explained Pastor Deborah Richardson, who plans to open up her church on May 31st. “And we’ll do it in safe ways. Some churches are looking into renting drive-ins to host services for social distancing for example. But the norm will have mandatory masks and families sitting six feet apart.”

“That will lead to some standing room only ‘seating’, and some of us have been talking about offering up another service time to accommodate everyone, but it’s that important. That’s why we’re all looking to start early.”

“That [DOJ] letter just confirms what we’ve been saying this entire time. I wish it didn’t have to come to a head like this and have the federal government forced to step in. We should have been working together with the state since Easter for proper guidelines, like what safe distances are, what maximum capacities should be, and other guidelines to open up earlier. We know there is still a pandemic going on and we want to be safe, but this will also help people spiritually and give some much needed morale.”

“I stress again we need to do this safely, but reopening is important. That [DOJ] letter only shows we were in the right.”

While Governor Newsom’s office has not offered comment beyond disclosing that they had received the letter, it is expected that the state will respond with a decision based on public safety concern and current coronavirus figures to back up their decision.

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Evan Symon
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4 thoughts on “U.S. Department of Justice Gives Gov. Newsom Stern Warning Over Church Closings

  1. I wish pastors the best as they wrestle with the decision to open for live services. As for our church, we have NEVER closed our doors for those who wish to attend live services during this pandemic (or should I say Dem Panic). We also live stream because we recognize some people are not comfortable congregating at this time. We acknowledge it is a personal choice.

    1. Glad to hear that some people have taken this approach. I wish our church had done the same. With a large sanctuary that seats over 2000, it would have been easy to allow those who wanted to come to be there, well spaced out, while doing the live stream for those who wanted to remain isolated.

  2. Nowhere in the First Amendment is there an exception for anything, including a pandemic. Closing or not closing churches should have been left up to individual pastors and their congregations. Pastors who just meekly followed what the government DEMANDED of them will rue the day that they gave in. This was a practice run to see how far the LEFT could take this kind of tyranny, and they’ve taken it pretty far. The next time, churches may be shuttered for all time. I’ve said from the beginning that if you give them an inch they’ll take a mile. Using this hoax of a “pandemic” was a dry run.

  3. The American People
    A True Story by Another Generation

    Once upon a time there was a nation that was the bravest in all the world. However, in a faraway country, a tyrannical despot came to power. In the hands of this vile sadistic madman, along with his buddy, a SCIENTIFIC Frankenstein doctor; they used their captured countrymen as guinea pigs for horrendous human experiments. Once the citizen was captured, a number tattooed on their arms for identity purposes, such as a cowboy does with his cows/cattle or horses was made. Arrested Infants, children, boys, girls, teenagers, adults and all older folks were put in camp; reduced to slavery, or put to death to eliminate the population. Those who lived, were used as slaves when in the concentration, isolation, placement camps. Why you ask, didn’t their neighbors protect them? Although, they too, needed to carry a pass whenever leaving their homes, they were also at the mercy of this mental and emotionally disturbed self-involved dictator that threatened them with severe punishment and even death! He used advertising propaganda, which caused the once normal folks to think of themselves as heroes; for reporting their neighbor. It became safe to become mindless. Guess they also didn’t know the classroom rule of “Don’t be a tattletale.”
    The story ends by a country named America, that sent thousands of courageous military men and women. and a multitude of nurses and helpers, along with their allies, into that faraway country to wage a fierce battle against that bad guy named Hitler. It was the battle named World War II. In freeing the illegal imprisonment of thousands of innocent folks; millions died. We remember our freedom fighting warriors on Memorial Day. Unfortunately, that honor is no more. What was once known as America “Home of the Free…Because of the Brave,” has been reduced to “America, Home of the Locked Down… Because of the Frightened.” Apparently, the FEAR of catching the virus is too great to even go to work. The Memorial Day nationwide CANCELLATION that celebrated respect, gratefulness, and remembrance to those who fought for what was yesterday’s freedom, is no more. Will the 4th of July be cancelled too?
    The End

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