California County: Sanctuary for Church Worship

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

“San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow confirmed late last month he will not prosecute churches for holding worship services or for singing in church, which was deemed unlawful by an order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom. ‘I declare San Luis Obispo County a sanctuary county for singing and praising in our houses of worship,’ Dow said in a video shared via Twitter. ‘Inherent with my responsibility to enforce the law is the discretion I have to pursue only those charges that are warranted and are in the interest of justice.’ More than 30 counties in California are not allowed to gather for church services, according to Newsom’s order that places even greater restrictions on counties included in the state’s COVID-19 watch list. Gatherings of 10 people or more in households in those counties are also banned, essentially prohibiting some in-home Bible study gatherings. Whether a church can legally gather or not, singing during worship is disallowed under Newsom’s order. In Dow’s Twitter announcement, he referenced an Independence Day speech he gave in which he spoke about the importance of the First Amendment. It was in the July 4 speech that he first declared that San Luis Obispo County would be a ‘sanctuary county for worship and praise in church.’ ‘Now more than ever in 2020, we need more people attending their houses of worship and seeking help from the Almighty for an answer to the coronavirus,’ Dow said. ‘In that spirit, I’m calling on people of faith in our county and across our state, across our country and across the world, to pray for peace and healing.’”

“DA declares,” The Christian Post, Aug. 10, 2020