Court upholds Newsom’s ban on in-person church services in California

California
Demonstrators, holding signs demanding their church reopen, protest during a rally to reopen California and go against Stay-At-Home directives on May 1, 2020 in San Diego. Rallies have been held at several state capitols across the country as protesters express their deep frustration with the stay-at-home orders that are meant to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Sandy Huffaker / AFP via Getty Images)

Demonstrators, holding signs demanding their church reopen, protest during a rally to reopen California and go against Stay-At-Home directives on May 1, 2020 in San Diego. Rallies have been held at several state capitols across the country as protesters express their deep frustration with the stay-at-home orders that are meant to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Sandy Huffaker / AFP via Getty Images)

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The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on in-person church services, in a split ruling that landed Friday night and is likely to further anger pastors who claim that California is trampling on religious freedoms.

The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego cannot reopen immediately, the two judges in the majority wrote in their order, because in this case “constitutional standards that would normally govern our review of a Free Exercise claim should not be applied.”

“We’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there presently is no known cure. In the words of Justice Robert Jackson, if a “[c]ourt does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact,’” they wrote.

The decision came the same week more than 1,200 pastors vowed to hold in-person services May 31, Pentecost Sunday, defying a state moratorium on religious gatherings that Newsom imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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