Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Home Bible Studies, Against California COVID Restrictions

Late Friday, April 9, 2021, the US Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling against California’s COVID-19 restrictions on home Bible studies and prayer meetings. California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, had issued an order mandating in-home religious gatherings be restricted to three households with attendees masked and socially distanced. The lawsuit was filed by two citizens in the San Francisco Bay area who wish to host such meetings in their homes.

The Supreme Court majority opinion noted how religious groups were treated much differently than secular groups and businesses which caused them concern since no valid evidence or lower court rulings showed religious groups posed a greater risk of transmission. They further acknowledged their awareness that state officials in California were planning to ease their restrictions on April 15, but moved ahead on their decision anyway since California officials had a habit of moving the goalposts to renege on easing restrictions at any given time.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan stated in her dissenting opinion that the majority Justices were undermining state officials’ ability to fight a public health emergency. She also stated that in such situations, the law doesn’t require all groups to be treated equally. Her seemingly callous statement implies what typical liberals think of the First Amendment, religious freedoms, Christianity, and human rights in general. They believe it’s fine to use manufactured crises to exert an overreach or abuse of government power. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the minority in the case, continuing his history of dinging American constitutional liberties.

Source: Associated Press, Divided Supreme Court strikes down Newsom’s pandemic rules that limited in-home worship to three households, saying California’s regulations violated the First Amendment, Daily Mail, 10 April 2021.

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