The U.S. Department of Justice has sent a letter to the mayor of San Francisco, California, urging the Democrat official to allow places of worship to open in the City by the Bay, arguing the city's current guidance is discriminatory and "may violate the First Amendment."
The San Francisco Chronicle reports the current COVID-19 regulations limit the number of visitors to places of worship to one person at a time.
The letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California David Anderson, told Mayor London Breed her city's current COVID-19 restrictions favors businesses and not houses of worship, according to KGO-TV.
Government Cannot Prohibit Exercise of Free Religion
At present, outdoor worship services are allowed with a maximum of 50 people in attendance. Breed's office told the TV station indoor worship services could be allowed by the end of the month but with only a 25% capacity cap.
"No government in this free country can attack religion by transforming a house of worship arbitrarily into a place for solitary confinement. People of faith go to churches, synagogues, mosques and other places to worship with their fellow believers, and they can do so lawfully because the First Amendment to the United States Constitution makes illegal any effort by government to prohibit the free exercise of religion," said Dreiband.
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