Commonwealth Policy Center

The First Amendment guarantees religious liberty for every American. But the US Supreme Court had to remind California Governor Gavin Newsome of this. Unfortunately, he banned most in-person church services. At the same time, he allowed similar venues to remain open including liquor stores, gyms, and yoga studios. Californians were also allowed to carry on mass protests but those who wanted to worship with other believers, even with precautions, were told they couldn’t. The state threatened churches with fines and even imprisonment if they violated the orders. In a similar decision for New York. Justice Gorsuch asked, “Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?” The Supreme Court acknowledged what many of us already knew: churches are essential and religious liberty cannot be suspended, even amidst a pandemic.