U.S. Supreme Court Orders California County to Permit Indoor Church Services

Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for ChristianHeadlines.com | Monday, March 1, 2021
a woman praising in church, SCOTUS rules against California county's ban on in-person indoor religious services

U.S. Supreme Court Orders California County to Permit Indoor Church Services

Last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a California county’s ban on worship services after local officials implemented a ban on houses of worship weeks ago.

According to The Christian Post, the nation’s highest court had previously lifted a statewide ban on religious gatherings. Friday’s ruling comes in favor of five Santa Clara County churches who are now permitted to resume services at 20 percent capacity.

The order even called the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ earlier ruling in favor of the county’s restrictions “erroneous.”

The Supreme Court explained that Friday’s decision comes in the wake of the South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom case, in which the justices ruled that the state could cap services at 25 percent capacity while singing and chanting continued to be banned.

Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams expressed disappointment over the decision in a statement, saying that the order was made “without any analysis at all of the County’s gathering rules.”

Williams contended that the county’s rules “have always been neutral and applied equally to all gatherings across-the-board.”

“Indoor gatherings of all kinds remain very risky, and we continue to urge all religious institutions to carefully follow the public health recommendations to avoid the spread of COVID-19 among their congregations and the broader community,” he continued.

Williams said that Santa Clara County is permitted to limit the capacity of religious gatherings to 20 percent instead of the state’s 25 percent limit as it also applies to all indoor businesses and facilities.

On Thursday, the county sent a letter to the nation’s highest court citing continued COVID-19 cases but noting that the ban would be lifted as early as March 3rd.

The five churches involved in the case are Gateway City Church, The Spectrum Church, The Home Church, Orchard Community Church and Trinity Bible Church.

Friday’s decision came as a response to a lawsuit that the churches filed against the county’s ban.

Photo courtesy: John Mark Smith/Unsplash

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.