California Gov. Gavin Newsom has banned singing and chanting in houses of worship amid the COVID-19 pandemic and faithful leaders are not pleased with the order.
As per new guidelines from state health officials, places of worship must halt singing and chanting, as well as limit indoor attendance to 25 percent or a maximum of 100 attendees. Center of Disease Control and Prevention officials recently revealed that singing has proven to be a way that coronavirus spreads, particularly after California recorded more than 11,700 new cases on a previous Sunday, the highest single-day count of any state. To keep you up-to-date, California has the second-highest number of cases behind New York, with 271,000 and at least 6,366 deaths.
As for their interim suggestion, state health officials have recommended that churches host online singing from the safety of their own homes. "Practices and performances present an increased likelihood for transmission of Covid-19 through contaminated exhaled droplets and should occur through alternative methods like internet streaming," the state's Department of Public Health announced in an order on Wednesday (July 1).
As expected, the new restrictions have leaders quite upset. Sean Feucht, a Bethel Music worship leader and pastor in Northern California, described the order as an "unprecedented attack" and is trying his best to push back with a petition on his official website. "For the last several weeks, tens of thousands of people have been gathering outdoors in cities all across California and they have been screaming and chanting and protesting, and all the while state officials are encouraging them as they do this," Feucht said. "And then now, as the church wants to gather just like we've been doing for thousands of years to simply worship God, they bring the hammer down against us. It's just, can you see the hypocrisy and how insane this is? ... It really is time that we take a stand and that we fight back."
Meanwhile, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who is a member of the National COVID-19 Recovery Commission, called Newsom's order "completely discriminatory" on Instagram. "How can you permit, not for one day, but for many days, tens of thousands to march in protest without wearing masks and then demand that 100 worshipers refrain from singing?" Rodriguez asked in a post.
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