Christians in California Can’t Sing this Sunday Because State Orders “Places of Worship Must . . . Discontinue Singing”
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly and you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts .” ~ Colossians 3:16 Singing is a fundamental part of worship, commanded in the Scriptures. Yet, this Sunday every church across the state of California is banned from anyone singing as part of the worship service. Under the new California Coronavirus guidelines : Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities and limit indoorattendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower. It’s not a suggestion or a recommendation; it’s a government mandate. And as our legal team at the ACLJ has determined, a blatantly unconstitutional one . Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, churches have adhered to the recommended guidelines. As we told you , many quickly looked to alternative ways to reach their congregations, share the gospel, and maintain the essential sense of community that churches provide. In fact, in many respects, churches led the way in showing their members they can remain safe and still worship. And as we reported early on when the country began locking down, our legal team has been vigilantly monitoring the situation and scrutinized every new recommendation and mandate. We want American’s to remain safe, but this government intrusion into the very heart of a worship service has gone too far. Churches have already willingly agreed to follow social distancing practices, open at limited capacity, and require masks for the safety of their own attendees. But now they cannot sing? This is no longer even a recommendation. This is an order: “Places of worship must . . . discontinue singing.” And unfortunately, it’s an unconstitutional violation of the religious freedom our country was founded on, as it’s specifically singling out churches and houses of worship with these targeted restrictions. Will the next mandate ban ministers from delivering a message vocally? Sunday services can only consist of Power Point presentations or captioned slides? You may say that is a far-fetched, extreme example. A month ago, I would have said a singing ban was far-fetched – even downright ridiculous – and wouldn’t really happen. Yet here we are. We cannot stand aside and allow it to happen. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” ~ Psalm 100:2 Verse after verse in the Bible commands us to lift our voices in song. The point is, singing is part of our faith. It cannot be infringed upon. This ban is a direct order not to practice our faith the way we believe we should. We must take a stand to make that clear. This is why the ACLJ is taking direct legal action to defend religious liberty and free speech – or in this case, the freedom to sing. Our legal team is preparing to file a lawsuit against California’s ban on singing in churches, to show that it is a violation of religious liberty, regardless of its intent, and urge that it be lifted immediately. We are witnessing believers being stripped of their God-given right to raise their voices in praise and worship, not only as they choose, but as the Bible teaches. Especially now, when so many are finding hope and solace in their faith more than ever in these uncertain times, that silence would be deafening. And for some, devastating. Stand with us. Lift your voice and demand the right to sing as we at the ACLJ prepare to go to Court.