(POLITICO) The U.S. Department of Justice warned Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday that California must do more to accommodate in-person religious gatherings.
A letter from federal attorneys pointed to “civil rights concerns” around California’s stay-at-home order, which since March has prohibited the faithful from assembling at houses of worship. The Department of Justice noted that religious services are barred even as sectors of the economy deemed “essential” have been allowed to remain open.
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“This facially discriminates against religious exercise,” the letter says. “California has not shown why interactions in offices and studios of the entertainment industry, and in-person operations to facilitate nonessential ecommerce, are included on the list as being allowed with social distancing where telework is not practical, while gatherings with social distancing for purposes of religious worship are forbidden, regardless of whether remote worship is practical or not.”