March 2021 – Similar to countless other church bodies around the country, Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley followed government guidance and moved to online services instead of in-person services during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In New Mexico two churches were fined $10,000 each for holding Christmas Eve services.
However some churches are finding relief in the courts. In Nevada the government allowed Las Vegas casinos to fully reopen their doors to thousands of people while still restricting churches to only 50 worshipers. This prompted a lawsuit against the state. On December 15, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided with the churches, striking down Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) regulations that more harshly restricted churches than casinos.
Additionally, on November 25, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that New York limitations on church services violated the First Amendment. These rulings are encouraging other churches, such as Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin, California, to open their doors as well. The Destiny Church pastor even quoted Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch during a Sunday sermon: “There is no world in which the Constitution tolerates a color-coded executive edict that opens liquor stores ... and bike shops but shutters churches.”
sacbee.com, 11/23/20; onenewsnow.com, 1/3/21