Jump directly to the content

Supreme Court: Harsher Pandemic Restrictions for Churches Are Unconstitutional

Places of worship cannot be treated less favorably than “comparable secular gatherings.”

Supreme Court: Harsher Pandemic Restrictions for Churches Are Unconstitutional
Image: coldsnowstorm | Getty

For the third time in six months, the United States Supreme Court has addressed the constitutionality of government restrictions on religious worship in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This time the Court sided with religion.

Background

In its two previous rulings, a sharply divided Court concluded that the inherent power of states to protect public health and safety outweighed the constitutional right of churches to gather for worship. But in the first of these cases, Chief Justice John Roberts, in a concurring opinion siding with the Court’s four liberal Justices to form a majority, observed:

Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise [of religion] Clause of the First Amendment. Similar or more severe restrictions apply to comparable secular gatherings, including lectures, concerts, ...

Join now to access this member-only content

Become a Member

Already a member? for full access.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • November 30, 2020

Related ResourcesVisit Store

2021 Church & Clergy Tax Guide (Book)
2021 Church & Clergy Tax Guide (Book)
The most comprehensive and authoritative tax guide available.
50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
A review of state laws and court decisions affecting church leaders.
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.