California removed its COVID-19 restrictions on indoor religious gatherings Monday in response to a Supreme Court ruling deeming such prohibitions to be infringements on religious liberty.
“In response to recent judicial rulings, effective immediately, location and capacity limits on places of worship are not mandatory but are strongly recommended,” California’s Department of Public Health stated on its website.
Though indoor worship gatherings are legally permitted now, the department said it “strongly” discourages individuals from meeting indoors in regions falling under the highest level of California’s four-tiered pandemic restrictions. (RELATED: CDC Tells Surging State To Lock Down Again Instead Of Sending Them More Vaccines)
It further recommended capacity limitations on buildings, ranging from 50% to 25%, depending on what tier their localities fall under.
“[Democratic California] Governor Newsom should have done this a long time ago,” the founder of the Center for American Liberty tweeted, quoting its founder, Harmeet Dhillon. “For over a year, the state of California has targeted the faith community for discriminatory treatment depriving them of their fundamental right to worship.”
“Governor Newsom should have done this a long time ago,” said Harmeet Dhillon (@pnjaban). “For over a year, the state of California has targeted the faith community for discriminatory treatment depriving them of their fundamental right to worship.” https://t.co/icAKiaMyc2— Center for American Liberty (@Liberty_Ctr) April 13, 2021
The center challenged Newsom’s “Blueprint” plan to reopen the state through several lawsuits on behalf of a number of churches, alleging that Newsom’s policies “unconstitutionally burdened religious expression,” according to the center’s website and reporting from the AP.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Friday that California’s prohibitions against indoor gatherings involving more than three households in private homes were unconstitutional in that it treated “comparable secular activity more favorably than at-home religious exercise.” (RELATED: Liberal Activists Pushing For Justice Breyer To Retire Because He’s Against Court-Packing)
Multiple religious groups have appealed to the Supreme Court challenging Newsom’s restrictions since Newsom imposed them in the summer of 2020, reported the AP.
During the pandemic’s early months the court’s rulings on such cases often favored state restrictions over religious groups, the outlet reported. Since Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, however, the rulings have favored the concerns of religious groups, according to the AP.