Discrimination in Social Services

Americans United Hails Federal Court Decision on California Public Health Order That Limits Both Religious & Secular Gatherings

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Americans United for Separation of Church and State hailed a federal court decision today to uphold California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s public health order that includes both religious and secular gatherings in the temporary ban on large groups.

In his order denying a request for a temporary restraining order in Cross Culture Christian Center v. Newsom, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez cited Americans United’s amicus brief that explained it is permissible for officials to protect public health by including houses of worship and religious services in temporary bans of in-person gatherings. The brief also argued that it would be unconstitutional to exempt religious gatherings from these orders.

“Especially during hard times, we must hold fast to our constitutional principles, including the separation of religion and government,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United. “Gov. Newsom’s public health order does not violate religious freedom; it ensures that the government is not favoring some people’s religious practices in a way that endangers other people’s lives. As we’ve already seen in California and across the country, COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate between religious and secular gatherings – it spreads easily at both, putting the health of entire communities at risk.

“We sympathize with Californians who find solace in communal religious services and applaud the faith communities who are finding creative new ways to worship together remotely. We will get through this crisis together, even if not in person.”

 AU’s Amicus Brief.

Judge Mendez’s May 5 Order.

Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Press Contact

Liz Hayes
Associate Vice President of Communications
[email protected]

BREAKING NEWS

Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.


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