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California bans singing in worship


Family members hold hands to pray at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on June 7 in Los Angeles. Associated Press/Photo by Damian Dovarganes

California bans singing in worship

Golden State churches already have to keep their Sunday morning attendance to 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower. Now they can’t sing or chant. In new coronavirus guidelines issued last week, the California Department of Public Health noted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that singing can spread germs as widely as coughing or sneezing. The public health order, which applies to indoor worship, also requires churches to make masks available to those who show up without them.

How will the state enforce the ban? The order doesn’t include penalties, but Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, warned local officials they would risk losing state funding if they didn’t enforce health rules. Many places of worship said they would comply voluntarily. “We recognize that singing is a challenge,” Jason Batt, the chief operating officer of the Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, told The Sacramento Bee. The church already canceled its choir activities. The number of new cases being confirmed each day in the state has increased in the past two weeks.

Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report in Liberties about court challenges to California’s limits on worship during the pandemic.


Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.

@lmlangdon

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Nanamiro

This is very strange. I thought mask wearing was supposed to keep those water molecules in while coughing, sneezing, talking etc. Surely singing would fit in there. If masks work, why would Newsom not trust them to do their job when singing, but we are supposed to trust them to do their job when talking, coughing or sneezing? There seems to be never-ending inconsistancies. I'm having trouble trusting our leaders decisions more and more every day.

Glong

"The order doesn’t include penalties, but Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, warned local officials they would risk losing state funding if they didn’t enforce health rules."

Last I knew, no government officials were ALLOWED to enforce government edicts in houses of worship. I don't see local police checking every church, mosque, and synagogue DURING services. This is patently ridiculous and unconstitutional. I agree that unmasked singing is a risk for spread of the coronavirus, but it should be up to individual churches, etc. to decide this issue for themselves based on science.