California’s Santa Clara County, Reportedly the Last Place in America to Prohibit Indoor Worship, Finally Lifts Ban Following Supreme Court Order

The Supreme Court issued an order on Friday that required California’s Santa Clara County to lift its prohibition on indoor religious services.

Santa Clara County is home to Silicon Valley and the city of San Jose. It may have been the last place in the United States to maintain its indoor worship ban prior to the Supreme Court order, which came almost a full year after the in-earnest beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in America.

Bishop Oscar Cantu of San Jose said in a Friday night statement that “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. 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.”

Religious services in Santa Clara County, however, cannot take place at more than 20 percent capacity and without strict mask, social distancing, and sanitization protocols.

After hearing the South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom case, SCOTUS ruled on February 5 in favor of the former and effectively mandated that the state of California lift its ban on indoor religious services. Santa Clara County tried to maintain that the ruling didn’t apply to them because their county directives did not specifically target religious worship, but the court is evidently not buying that explanation given Friday’s order.

The decision back in 2020 to deem religious services “non-essential” was disastrous and evil from the beginning. Glad the Supreme Court has been doing its part to rectify that injustice.

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