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Protestant pastors in the Golden State are suing Catholic Gov. Gavin Newsom to allow public worship despite the Wuhan virus lockdown.
The suit comes after one of the pastors was slapped with a $1,000 fine for leading a service on Palm Sunday in violation of the statewide stay-at-home order.
The Center for American Liberty — a nonprofit based in California — filed the lawsuit earlier this week.
Harmeet Dhillon, the center's chief executive, told the Associated Press, "If a Californian is able to go to Costco or the local marijuana shop or liquor store and buy goods in a responsible, socially distanced manner, then he or she must be allowed to practice their faith using the same precautions."
Also this week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the pandemic must not lead to an infringement on religious liberty.
He affirmed in a statement Tuesday, "Religious institutions must not be singled out for special burdens."
For America's Catholics, every single diocese has shut down public Masses for fear of spreading the virus.
And only one bishop so far — Bp. Peter Baldacchino of Las Cruces, New Mexico — has opted to reinstate public Masses even conditionally.
Some dioceses have gone so far as to ban confession, baptism, marriage and anointing of the sick during the epidemic.
Many faithful Catholics are hoping the hierarchy will find the courage to bring back public sacraments in this time of crisis.