California remains under Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom’s controversial stay-at-home order. The rule puts tight restrictions on “nonessential businesses,” a category that includes places of worship.
But while the South Bay United Pentecostal Church considered that to be an unconstitutional infringement on religious liberty, two Democrat-appointed judges just decided otherwise, according to a report from ABC News.
In a 2–1 ruling Friday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the church’s request for a temporary restraining order against the COVID-19 lockdown order, according to ABC.
A ruling authored by Judges Jacqueline Nguyen and Barry Silverman claimed that the policy does not “infringe upon or restrict practices because of their religious motivation,” ABC reported. The judges also asserted that the plaintiffs failed to show how Newsom’s order imposes “burdens only on conduct motivated by religious belief.”
“No known cure”
According to ABC, the judges pointed to the severity of the coronavirus disease as further justification for their decision. ”We’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there presently is no known cure,” they wrote, according to ABC.
That same day, President Donald Trump made clear that he felt differently about the situation.
“At my direction the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] is issuing guidance for communities of faith,” the president told reporters at a press conference on Friday, according to a transcript provided by the White House.
“Today I’m identifying houses of worship, churches, synagogues, mosques, as essential places that provide essential services,” he continued, as ABC reported.
“It’s not right”
The president went on to point out the logical inconsistency in how “some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and houses of worship,” places that “hold our society together and keep our people united.”
“It’s not right,” he remarked, according to the White House’s transcript. “So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there’s any question they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call.
“If they don’t do it I will override the governors,” Trump warned, according to ABC. “In America we need more prayer, not less.”
He did not elaborate on what specific actions he would take against state governors should they continue targeting religious institutions, however.