In an action that has gone largely unpublicized, liberal Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan ordered Santa Clara County, California to resume allowing indoor worship services, as National Catholic Register reports:
“Bishop Oscar Cantú of San Jose, California, located in Santa Clara County, welcomed the news.
“I join all Catholics and people of faith in Santa Clara County in expressing our satisfaction in tonight’s U.S. Supreme Court decision rejecting Santa Clara County’s ban on indoor worship services,” he said in a statement. “Santa Clara was the only county in the country to continue such a ban. Banning indoor worship and yet allowing people to gather at airports, personal services establishments, and retail shopping is unconstitutional — and the Supreme Court has said so several times.”
Bishop Cantú confirmed that the diocese had worked with Becket, the public interest group, to file a friend-of-the-court brief in a lawsuit brought by several local Protestant Churches over the past week.
“We are grateful to San Jose’s Gateway City Church and The Spectrum Church, Campbell’s The Home Church and Orchard Community Church and Morgan Hill’s Trinity Bible Church for their efforts to uphold our right to worship in Santa Clara County, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution,” said the bishop, who noted that parishes, missions and chapels in the diocese would not be able to resume indoor worship services at up to 20% capacity, “but only if and when each parish can safely do so following all masking, social distancing, and sanitization protocols.”
Friday night’s order from Justice Elena Kagan followed a Feb. 5 ruling in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, which effectively required the state to lift bans on indoor worship. At the time, as the Register reported, Santa Clara County argued that the court’s ruling did not apply to its public health directives because they did not single out religious worship and had broad application.”
This is a welcome victory for religious freedom and a blow to wanna-be tyrants using covid as an excuse to crush our most basic civil liberties.
Let us hope this trend continues and that more and more of the covid restrictions we are currently suffering under are rightly deemed unconstitutional and quickly come to an end.