DOJ Warns Cali’s Governor Over Religious Discrimination
Article from The Daily Wire by Hank Berrien.
On Tuesday, the Department of Justice fired off a letter to California governor Gavin Newsom warning him that his executive orders are being unfair to religious gatherings, saying the DOJ is concerned about civil rights violations.
The letter started by stating, “We are writing to you to raise several civil rights concerns with the treatment of places of worship in Executive Orders N-33-20 and N-60-20 and documents relating to the California Reopening Plan.”
The letter referenced Attorney General William P. Barr’s recent remarks in which he noted, “even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers. Thus, government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity.”
The DOJ wrote, “Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Laws that do not treat religious activities equally with comparable nonreligious activities are subject to heightened scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment … Laws that are not both neutral toward religion and generally applicable are invalid unless the government can prove that they further a compelling interest and are pursued through the least restrictive means possible. Religious gatherings may not be singled out for unequal treatment compared to other nonreligious gatherings that have the same effect on the government’s public health interest, absent the most compelling reasons.”
Read the entire article at The Daily Wire.
Image Credit: By Henri Sivonen from Helsinki, Finland (flickr: California State Capitol) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons