California county faces backlash for banning singing for online church services
A California county is being criticised for banning church choir members from meeting together to record songs for online worship services as officials carry out the state's stay-at-home order. The Mendocino County order stipulates that only four individuals are permitted to record from one place and "no singing or use of wind instruments, harmonicas or other instruments that could spread COVID-19 through projected droplets shall be permitted unless the recording of the event is done at one’s residence."
In addition to churches, Mendocino County’s order extends to other public venues such as concert halls, auditoriums, temples, and playhouses.
Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, posted a commentary on his website about such policies that restrict religious worship.
“To be clear, authorities can and should require that churches respect and maintain physical distancing between all the very limited participants in a streamed worship service,” Mohler said. “It is an entirely different matter, however, to tell Christians that they cannot sing in praise and honour of God.”
“Indeed, these orders came out just days before Resurrection Sunday — orders saying that Christians, on the day where they celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, are prohibited from singing.”
As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, state and local governments mandated social distancing guidelines and orders prohibiting large gatherings deemed “non-essential,” which have often included church services, though some measures have proven to be more burdensome than others.