California Governor Sued by Church and Pastor for Violating Religious Rights

Why does it take a lawsuit to force a Governor to obey his oath of office?  The very first amendment to the Constitution grants religious freedom to all Americans—except those in California.  Here, the Supreme Leader has set aside the Constitution.  My theory is that he had to do this statewide, so that the GOP candidates for Congress and State Senate in the Tuesday Special Election could not use congregations as a place to promote their candidacy nor harvest ballots.  This was election fraud by the governor in the “name” of public safety, while abusing the rights of 40 million people.

“ The legal filings highlight a recent favorable ruling in 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals , which held that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause protected the right of a Baptist church in Louisville, Kentucky, to host in-person worship services even during the pandemic. The court highlighted the church’s commitment to practice strict social distancing guidelines during the services. In this case, South Bay United Pentecostal Church and Bishop Hodges are seeking similar action by way of a temporary restraining order against state and county officials to keep them from enforcing the ban on church services while the lawsuit moves forward.

 “The Governor continues to shutter synagogues and churches with no end in sight,” said Charles LiMandri, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society and partner at LiMandri & Jonna LLP. “After weeks of government suppression of their religious freedoms, our clients have said enough is enough. The First Amendment still protects their right to freely exercise their faith, even during a pandemic.”

Maybe Newsom needs to go to church and walk directly to the confessional.  He has a lot of sins to admit.

California Governor Sued by Church and Pastor for Violating Religious Rights

Thomas More Society’s Federal Complaint Decries State’s “Intentional Denigration” of People of Faith

 Tom Ciesielka, Thomas Moore Society,  5/12/20 

(May 13, 2020 – San Diego, California) A Christian congregation in Chula Vista, California, and its pastor are suing Governor Gavin Newsom and other officials for unconstitutional stay-at-home orders and actions during the coronavirus pandemic. After weeks of mandatory isolation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Governor Newsom has begun a four-stage plan to “reopen” California’s economy.  Retail and supporting manufacturing are now resuming business; and shopping malls, car washes, pet grooming, dine-in restaurants, and schools, will be allowed to reopen within a few weeks. Despite claiming that 70% of California businesses are available reopen, the Governor continues to shutter places of worship indefinitely with no timeline for reopening. As a result, Thomas More Society attorneys filed a civil rights lawsuit on May 11 on behalf of South Bay United Pentecostal Church and Bishop Arthur Hodges III in San Diego federal court.

 The legal filings highlight a recent favorable ruling in 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals , which held that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause protected the right of a Baptist church in Louisville, Kentucky, to host in-person worship services even during the pandemic. The court highlighted the church’s commitment to practice strict social distancing guidelines during the services. In this case, South Bay United Pentecostal Church and Bishop Hodges are seeking similar action by way of a temporary restraining order against state and county officials to keep them from enforcing the ban on church services while the lawsuit moves forward.

 “The Governor continues to shutter synagogues and churches with no end in sight,” said Charles LiMandri, Special Counsel for the Thomas More Society and partner at LiMandri & Jonna LLP. “After weeks of government suppression of their religious freedoms, our clients have said enough is enough. The First Amendment still protects their right to freely exercise their faith, even during a pandemic.”

 iMandri explained: “California is one of only eight states whose response to the COVID-19 pandemic has included no accommodation for—hardly even a mention of—the religious rights of its citizens. The churches and religious leaders of California are no less essential than its retail, schools, and offices, to the health and well-being of its residents. To place houses of worship alongside hair salons, nail boutiques, and tattoo parlors, shows Governor Newsom’s lack of understanding or unwillingness to recognize the inherent rights of every American to religious liberty and free exercise of worship and other freedoms protected under the Constitution.”

 “The governor’s Executive Orders criminalize worship, using language that explicitly threatens criminal enforcement,” LiMandri added. “At the same time, these state orders, adopted and expanded upon by the county, allowed citizens to gather at liquor stores, pot-dispensaries, and Planned Parenthood, and also named the entirety of the ‘entertainment industries’ as essential.”

 The lawsuit elaborates on the effect of California’s criminalization of religious worship:

 LiMandri said: “This was not a hypothetical situation from an Orwellian novel describing a bleak future—this was the current and very real nightmare endured by millions of religious citizens who maintained the conviction that the faithful practice of regularly gathering together was absolutely ‘essential.’ But those citizens decided to wait anyway. Religious Americans are no less patriotic than any other Americans, and they are absolutely willing to do their part to ‘flatten the curve.’ But they are not willing to have their faith denigrated, demeaned, and compared to attending a movie theater.”

 South Bay United Pentecostal Church and Bishop Hodges seek relief from the stay-at-home orders and are seeking a restraining order to prevent law enforcement officials from enforcing them. The suit names California Governor Gavin Newsom, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California Public Health Officer Sonia Angell, San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, San Diego County Director of Emergency Services Helen Robbins-Meyer, and San Diego County Sherriff William Gore as the offenders in this scenario.

 Read the Thomas More Society’s First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief on behalf of South Bay United Pentecostal Church and Bishop Arthur Hodges III, filed May 11, 2020, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in South Bay United Pentecostal Church, et al v. Gavin Newsom, et al, here [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/1.Complaint.First-Amended-sans-exhibits.pdf].

About the Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, Omaha, and Fairfield, NJ, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit thomasmoresociety.org.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. You are staring into the face of someone hoping to achieve absolute power. It runs in the political party.

  2. John Steele says

    A lot of citizens are re-discovering the Bill of Rights and now see how important they are in the face of authoritarian demoRat gov’s illegal orders.

  3. I believe the governor Should read the United States Constitution before he makes any decisions that handcuff American citizens. That way he won’t be sued.And he will see that we are a republic. A government of the people by the people and for the people.

  4. Robert Wilson says

    The pastors should take the lead and just open up their churches. What is dictator Nesom going to do? Arrest all the churchgoers?

  5. Skeptical says

    The word is that Governor Grating Nuisance was flattering himself to be Presidential Hopeful Nuisance in years to come. Well not likely with the stains of legal accusations and unconstitutional actions violating the 1st Amendment, and of course the 2nd Amendment. OOOPS! What’s a ‘Frisco carpet bagger to do?
    Oh well, one time California Senate President pro tempore Kevin “Illegal” a Leon thought he could crash the federal scene too.
    Progressives never really do learn, do they?
    That’s why they are currently making such good globalist patsies.

  6. Richard Wahl says

    They are REGRESSIVES.

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