By Jennifer Kerns, Editor-in-Chief & Publisher | All-American News
The United States Supreme Court ruled over the weekend that church services may resume in the Golden State — though, only at 25% capacity.
The mainstream media reported the development as “huge victory” for conservative Christians — but is it?
The ruling still places enormous restrictions of the practice of religion in California and means that just 1 in 4 of you are allowed back to church after 11 months of lockdown (11 months!) It has been nearly a year since churches and other establishments were asked to (and in many cases, ordered to) shut their doors to “stop the spread.”
Moreover, the Supreme Court upheld a ban on singing and chanting. While understandable from a respiratory virus perspective, it brings up serious First Amendment issues. In fairness, one has to wonder are officials preventing college football or NFL fans from speaking or cheering once they’re in their capacity-reduced stadiums? The answer: no, they’re not.
Meantime, a host of ailments are on the rise. Depression has skyrocketed, suicides are up, alcoholism and addiction in lockdown are rearing their ugly heads, with limited help allowed from faith-based organizations allowed. According to The Lancet Psychiatry journal, groups that showed an elevated risk since the onset of the pandemic include women, youth, and individuals “having lower educational attainment, lower income, or preexisting mental health conditions, as well as living alone or with children.” All of these groups could be helped by the very churches that are currently shuttered or under strict capacity limits.
Pastor Jurgen Matthesius, founder of Awaken Church San Diego, reported on All-American Radio recently that his nearly 10,000 members have seen an uptick in struggles at home during the pandemic. He shared stories of at least two parishioners who contemplated putting a bullet in their heads, but instead came to church that day upon hearing that Awaken Church San Diego was defying state laws and holding services anyway.
Awaken Church’s testimonies are just two of the millions of stories of Americans struggling under the pandemic and moreover, the egregious government lockdowns associated with the pandemic.
The Supreme Court was right to re-open churches, but the constraints on audience capacity are still overly burdensome some 11 months later — not only to the churches themselves, but for the more than 205 million Christians, living in America today.