A California county has been accused of violating the “integrity of Christian worship” after banning churches from singing while they record videos on their services, reports said.
Mendocino County issued the ban on Good Friday—just in time for Easter—and declared that there was to be no singing in churches for livestream videos and “wind instruments” are banned, too, because they could spread the coronavirus through projected droplets.
“No singing or use of wind instruments, harmonicas, or other instruments that could spread COVID-19 through projected droplets shall be permitted unless the recording of the event is done at one’s residence, and involving only the members of one’s household or living unit, because of the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19,” the order reads.
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The ban, which also includes playhouses, temples, and concert halls will reportedly continue until May 10.
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The order only allows signing and these instruments to be played “at one’s residence.”
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“In their newest Health Order, Mendocino County, CA explicitly prohibited the singing at church livestream recordings. Seriously,” Rhyne Putnam, an associate professor of theology at the New Orleans Seminary, tweeted.
Dr. R. Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote on his personal website that he has long insisted that churches follow “generally applicable shelter-in place orders,” and said Christians have an obligation to “comply with general policies that attempt to abate the spread of the coronavirus.”
But he said it becomes dangerous when these policies appear to single out churches and religious groups.
He pointed to recent actions against churches in Kentucky where police took license plate numbers for those at “drive-in” worship services on Easter.
“Governmental authorities cannot intrude upon the integrity of Christian worship, which is exactly what these orders violate,” he wrote. Government should never be in the position to derail any religious ministry and deem it nonessential. That is, on its face, completely unconstitutional.”
Religious leaders have clashed with law enforcement over these orders and say it is unfair that churches are being singled out on social distancing orders while grocery stores and liquor stores remain open.
Todd Starnes, the host of the “Todd Starnes Radio Show,” reported that on Sunday Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear ordered police to record license plates of anyone who attends an Easter Sunday service in the Commonwealth. Worshippers will then be required to quarantine in their homes for 14 days.
He pointed out that liquor stores and abortion clinics remain open for business across the Bluegrass State.
“Folks, I tried to warn religious leaders that this was going to happen,” Starnes wrote. “If you give an inch the godless leftists will shut down your churches, threaten to arrest your preachers, and quarantine your congregation.”