Thomas More Society – An interesting recent development in California showcases how churches are indeed being unconstitutionally discriminated against.
On November 6, 2020, the Honorable Joel R. Wohlfeil of the San Diego Superior Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining Governor Newsom and San Diego County from enforcing their COVID-19 restrictions against Pacers Showgirls. In issuing the order, the court found that the strip clubs’ entertainment is “constitutionally protected speech.” The court concluded that “the harm to [the strip clubs] if the Application is denied is greater than the harm to [the government] if the Application is granted.”
In contrast, courts in California have refused to enjoin these same COVID-19 restrictions against houses of worship. As a result, in many counties – including San Diego – churches are closed for indoor services while strip clubs remain open indoors. In other words, California courts have currently extended greater constitutional protections to strip clubs than churches.
Thomas More Society Special Counsel Paul Jonna observed “This is a constitutional travesty that must be immediately rectified. As one California judge aptly noted – you can’t treat a church like a hair salon because churches are entitled to greater protection under the Constitution. And you certainly can’t treat a church like a strip club. In California, churches are being treated worse than strip clubs. The constitutional right to worship God is infinitely more important than any right to entertainment.
The Thomas More Society is currently involved in multiple California court cases on behalf of pastors, priests, and churches, and Jonna declares, “We will not rest until we fully vindicate the fundamental constitutional right to worship God without government interference.”