Nevada v. Calvary Chapel

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) denied the request of Calvary Church in Nevada that would have blocked the unjust infringement of religious liberty in the state of Nevada. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued an executive order that prohibits religious gatherings of more than 50 worshipers, regardless of the size of the building and the ability to social distance. Even with this limit on religious institutions, according to the order, casinos, gyms, bowling alleys and other public buildings are allowed to maintain 50% capacity.

Nevada is not unique in specifically restricting religious institutions. In May, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz attempted to restrict Minnesota churches to 10 worshipers while other businesses were allowed up to 50% capacity. The Catholic bishops of Minnesota, joined by Lutheran bishops, wrote a letter to the governor to express their dissatisfaction with the policy saying it "unreasonably burdened" the church and prevented churches from meeting the needs of the faithful. Eventually, they came to an agreement with the Walz administration.

This singling out of churches, synagogues and mosques is a blatant violation of the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom, allowed by SCOTUS. In his 5-4 dissent, Justice Gorsuch wrote, "Large numbers and close quarters are fine in such places [movie theaters and casinos]. But churches, synagogues, and mosques are banned from admitting more than 50 worshippers-no matter how large the building, how distant the individuals, how many wear face masks, no matter the precautions at all. In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion. Maybe that is nothing new. But the First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion."

To read more, check out the article from The Gospel Coalition.