From RNS: 

Three evangelical churches in California have sued Gov. Gavin Newsom for banning singing and chanting in places of worship but permitting such activities elsewhere.

The state’s July 13 order about COVID-19 permits worship services as well as fitness centers, hotels, shopping malls and protests to remain open or active in Mendocino and Butte counties, where the suing churches are located.

“Singing and chanting, however, is only banned in places of worship,” says the 20-page complaint filed Wednesday (July 15) in a federal district court by the American Center for Law and Justice and two other legal groups.

Calvary Chapel Ukiah, Calvary Chapel Fort Bragg and River of Life Church in Oroville asked the court to halt officials in the state and their counties from enforcing the orders that call for no singing in houses of worship.

“Banning singing in California churches is an unconstitutional abuse of power,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, in an announcement about the suit. “And to do it in the name of a pandemic is despicable.”

The state’s early July guidance for houses of worship notes a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in a congregational setting of multiple households.

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