When Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed the latest liberal-official ban on religious services — no singing permitted indoors — Victory Outreach church in San Jose drew the line.
Especially in light of the fact that no bans, restrictions or rules have been imposed on “protesters” going out to destroy property carry signs for left-wing causes.
“To say you can’t sing, that’s the time-out,” said Joe Woolwine, pastor of the 400-member church congregation that had not met face-to-face in five months, to the San Jose Mercury-News. “For us, it’s not singing, it’s worship.”
On July 26, in an act of protest and fellowship, several hundred members of Victory Outreach and other congregations convened at San Jose City Hall plaza and sang, with the house jazz band playing on the steps.
Still wearing masks and staying six feet apart, the group swayed, clapped and sang “in the name of Jesus, enemy defeated, we will shout it out.”
Following California rules that closed churches early in the coronavirus pandemic and later limited attendance indoors, churchgoers have been gathering on Zoom and FaceTime. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a claim by a church in Chula Vista that the restrictions on religious gatherings were unconstitutional.
On July 16, churches in Fort Bragg, Ukiah and Oroville filed a federal suit claiming their First Amendment rights were being violated and made the case that while Gov. Newsom has been protecting leftist protesters’ free-speech rights, he has been simultaneously taking them from church members.