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Court Upholds Newsom's Ban On Church Services

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Gov. Newsom's ban on in-person church services, but he plans to loosen restrictions in the coming days. Gabriel Cortes/LAist
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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday night upheld Gov. Gavin Newsom's ban on in-person church services. The ruling came hours after Newsom said he planned to loosen restrictions on churches and religious gatherings in the coming days.

The vote was 2-1, with the dissenting vote coming from Judge Daniel Collins, who was nominated to the bench by President Donald Trump. Judge Barry Silverman, nominated to the court by former President Bill Clinton, and Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, nominated by former President Barack Obama, voted to uphold Newsom's ban.

In his coronavirus briefing Friday, the governor said he recognizes the importance of religion during the pandemic:

"At a time of so much anxiety and uncertainty, faith and that devotion to something higher and better and bigger than yourself becomes even more pronounced and more profound and more important."

The governor's comments came after President Trump said houses of worship are essential and ordered states to let them reopen this weekend.
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Meanwhile, more than a thousand pastors in California have said they plan to defy the state's order if restrictions on churches are not lifted by the end of the month.

John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Church in Sun Valley, announced that he opened his church on Friday, adding that no one will be wearing masks because we all know that “masks don’t work.” The megachurch usually hosts a crowd of 8,000 worshippers.

MAY 24 UPDATE: In light of the Ninth Court ruling, MacArthur's church decided to delay its reopening.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said MacArthur was a pastor in Orange County. In addition, we added the names of the other two judges, as well as which president nominated them to the position.

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