Standing Up for Religious Freedom

(Westwood One)- A group of pastors claiming to represent tens of thousands of congregants say they’re opening the doors of their churches at the end of the month despite a state order to keep them closed. More than 1,200 pastors in California have signed a petition that says they will resume in-person services beginning on May 31. That would defy the state’s stay-at-home order, which was enacted to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. “We believe you are attempting to act in the best interests of the state, but the restrictions have gone too far and for too long,” attorney Robert Tyler, who represents the pastors and the thousands of churches and ministries they lead, wrote in a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Under Newsom’s current plan, churches would be allowed to reopen in Stage 3. But the state is currently in the early portion of its Stage 2 road map to reopen. Newsom has been under increasing pressure by the state’s faith-based institutions to reopen.