The Church vs State Constitutional Debate Over Pandemic Worship


We all learn early on in our American history classes in school about the separation of church and state, and the debates and legal battles.

And now as the state of California has begun to open up the economy after the ordered shutdown due to the pandemic, the debate over the separation of church and state is heating up after 8 weeks of only on-line worship services.

As we’ve been reporting, a South Bay church is appealing a federal judge’s decision last week against the bishop and his congregation who want to resume in person worship services.

And now with more than 1,200 pastors in the state have signed what’s called a “declaration of essentiality” and say they plan to resume in-person religious services on May 31 in defiance of the Governor’s continued ban on religious gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

An attorney for one of the churches says they should be allowed to open while following physical distancing and other precautions

And the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has told the governor that California is discriminating against churches, saying the state’s reopening policy violates civil rights protections through “unequal treatment of faith communities.”

So while many religious leaders in the state are crying let my people go to church, the state’s government leaders are saying not yet.

And that’s why when future history books are written about the pandemic of 2020, there is sure to be a chapter on the separation between church and state.

PHOTO: Demonstrators holding signs demanding their church to reopen, protest during a rally against Stay-At-Home directives on May 1, 2020 in San Diego, California. - (Photo by Sandy Huffaker / AFP) (Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

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