Radio Recap – California Bans Singing in Church — ACLJ Takes Action


Jordan Sekulow

July 6, 2020

3 min read

Religious Liberty



Governor Gavin Newsom banned singing in church in California. Now the ACLJ is taking action.

On today’s Jay Sekulow Live, we discussed California’s new guidelines to battle COVID-19 which includes an outright ban on singing in churches.

Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, along with the California Department of Public Health put out this guidance on “Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services and Cultural Ceremonies”:

Even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations. In particular, activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.

Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities and limit indoor attendance to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower. Local Health Officers are advised to consider appropriate limitations on outdoor attendance capacities, factoring their jurisdiction's key COVID19 health indicators. At a minimum, outdoor attendance should be limited naturally through implementation of strict physical distancing measures of a minimum of six feet between attendees from different households, in addition to other relevant protocols within this document.

That does not sound like a simple recommendation to me.

My dad, Jay Sekulow, made the following point:

Let’s break this down for everyone. I think the first thing you look at is ‘Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities’, so you cannot sing or chant in a church that is operating under the guidelines, the California guidelines. They have banned singing in church or chanting. In some faith traditions, as we’re going to learn, chanting is part of the liturgy.

Now, take it a step further. Do you think they’re going to prohibit singing and chanting in protests that are taking place throughout the country? I think the answer is no. They are not going to do that. So here you have the question of constitutionality. Is it constitutional to ban singing and chanting even when exercising the restraints that you put in place to prevent the spread of the virus? The answer to that is it has to be unconstitutional.

Friends, we’re going to find out because the American Center for Law and Justice is teaming up with our friends at Advocates for Faith and Freedom, and our good friend Bob Tyler. We’re going to be filing a series of lawsuits challenging this.

Look, we’ve been resistant to filing lawsuits on this issue because we know that the localities are trying to work through these situations. But this one came to our attention and at first we said that it can’t possibly be true and then that they must have writen it as guidance, but then in the order itself, it’s crystal clear. It’s prohibited activity.

The full broadcast is complete with more discussion by our team of California’s ban on singing and chanting in churches.

Watch the full broadcast below.