Court upholds Calif. ban on church services in pandemic

California

Church Steeple and Cross

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge says California Gov. Gavin Newsom had the right to ban church assemblies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Judge John Mendez ruled Tuesday that Newsom’s stay-at-home order did not violate the constitutional rights to free assembly and religion when the Cross Culture Christian Center in Lodi was ordered to cease holding services.

The church held services until its landlord, under threat of misdemeanor from county health officials, changed the locks on the church doors.

Pastor Jonathan Duncan said in a statement that he was disappointed with the ruling but would continue to fight for the right to worship.

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