Even in the midst of a recall, Governor Gavin Newsom may be facing pressure by other western governors to use his executive powers to continue the restriction of churches and coerce them into boosting California’s COVID vaccination rates.
There are valid questions about whether California actually had the authority to restrict and/or allow churches to raise or lower capacity limits in the first place. Certainly, the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in Governor Newsom’s oversteps several times now. With a recall election looming, the defeats at SCOTUS have lead Newsom to remove capacity restrictions on churches – at least for now.
But will those restrictions return if the State of California believes COVID cases are on the rise?
In the State of Washington, which often foreshadows “reforms” radicals then try in California and Oregon, the governor has issued new guidance that allows churches to increase their capacities – but only if they create a section for vaccinated people.
Regardless of your opinion on vaccines, this is a prime example of government coercing churches into abiding by rules and capacity restrictions that it probably had no authority to create in the first place.
Certainly, COVID gave Governor Newsom plenty of opportunity to challenge the bounds of his own executive authority. California courts have mostly deferred to him, but the U.S. Supreme Court has not.
Sadly, radical leftists who control much of the nation seem to have completely abandoned the true meaning of “separation of church and state.” So-called progressives don’t seem to have a problem with the government telling churches what they can and cannot do, not just in times of genuine public emergency, but even as pandemic deaths and cases are rapidly declining. Conversely, the government in California would never tolerate churches telling them what to do during the pandemic. Many in politics continue to see churches as an unnecessary part of society.
We have a real conundrum to address here in California as many counties sit in COVID recovery limbo.
We must start thinking beyond COVID and ask the tough questions: how will we respond if “vaccine passports” become an entry requirement for churches? Will we allow our government, which exists to serve us, to impose burdensome restrictions again on our churches and businesses? Will we allow the government to tell us how many people we can have in church during other types of public emergencies?
The decisions made by our state’s leaders today will carry an impact in future years, and that’s why it’s important that we remain vigilant to promote a government limited to its constitutional authority and responsibilities.
Every Christian church has a mandate to go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). California Family Council will continue to stand with churches seeking to minister to the world and meet with each other in a way that is consistent with their rights under the U.S. Constitution.