San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow confirmed late last month he will not prosecute churches for holding worship services or for singing in church, which was deemed unlawful by an order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
In many counties, pastors have had to decide between revolting or abiding by the order.
San Luis Obispo County, located in central California, has however, become a sanctuary county for churches struggling to cope with state restrictions on worship gatherings.
Newsom’s order to ban or limit church gatherings has led to lawsuits from churches and even a federal court ruling in May, where District Judge John A. Mendez ruled that Newsom’s order is legal during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I declare San Luis Obispo County a sanctuary county for singing and praising in our houses of worship,” Dow said in a video. “Inherent with my responsibility to enforce the law is the discretion I have … to pursue only those charges that are warranted and are in the interest of justice.”
More than 30 counties in California are not allowed to gather for church services, according to Newsom’s order that places even greater restrictions on counties included in the state’s COVID-19 watch list, according to Christian Post.
Gatherings of 10 people or more in households in those counties are also banned, essentially prohibiting some in-home Bible study gatherings. Whether a church can legally gather or not, singing during worship is disallowed under Newsom’s order.