Supreme Court says California must allow in-home prayer meetings

The Supreme Court late Friday said that California must lift its coronavirus-era restrictions on in-home prayer meetings and other forms of home-based religious gatherings.

In an order from the court, five conservative justices wrote against rules in most parts of the state that limit indoor social gatherings to no more than three households, while different restrictions apply to places such as schools and churches.

“California treats some comparable secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise, permitting hair salons, retail stores, personal care services, movie theaters, private suites at sporting events and concerts, and indoor restaurants to bring together more than three households at a time,” the justices said.

Additionally, the justices noted that a lower court in its ruling “did not conclude that those activities pose a lesser risk of transmission than applicants’ proposed religious exercise at home.”

While California has announced changes to its coronavirus safety restrictions, including policies on gatherings, the high court wrote Friday that “the previous restrictions remain in place until April 15th, and officials with a track record of ‘moving the goalposts’ retain authority to reinstate those heightened restrictions at any time.”

Friday’s order indicated that Chief Justice John Roberts would have denied the application for the case to be considered by the court, while Justice Elena Kagan wrote for herself and Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor in dissenting.

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Source: the Hill