Supreme Court Orders California to Lift Restrictions on Religious Gatherings in Homes, Including Prayer Groups and Bible Studies

A tightly divided Supreme Court ruled late Friday to prevent California from enforcing restrictions on in-person religious meetings in homes, including prayer groups and Bible studies.

The 5-4 ruling with conservatives in the majority was the latest in a series of Supreme Court decisions to block state governments from imposing some coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions on religious events. California had limited indoor gatherings to three households or fewer, with different rules for other places.

“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 unsigned opinion said.

The opinion hit the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, saying the court failed to require California to say why it couldn’t safely allow in-home worshipers to be in larger groups by taking precautions used for non-religious activities.

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SOURCE: Politico, Ben Leonard