District Attorney Dan Dow of San Luis Obispo county, which is located in southern California, has declared the county a “sanctuary county” for churches to worship and sing freely without worry of fines or arrest.
“Today in 2020, more than ever,” Dan Dow declared, “we need more people attending their houses of worship and seeking help from the Almighty for an answer to the coronavirus.”
On July 1st Governor Newsom ordered a ban on singing, chanting, and group recitation in places of worship.
On Wednesday, August 6, 2020, neighboring Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference saying that he has authorized water and power departments to shut off utilities for houses, businesses, and “large gatherings” that violate health orders given to the state due to the spread of COVID-19. This threat was also made in April when similar restrictions where put in place.
Dan Dow: My Duty Is to Protect the Community
Attorney Dow said, “My duty as district attorney is to protect our community by enforcement of the rule of law by a way that results in justice. Inherent with my responsibility for me to enforce the law is the discretion I have as chief prosecutor to pursue only those charges that are warranted and are in the interest of justice and to decline prosecuting cases that would not be in the interest of justice.”
Dow reiterated that he stands by a statement he made on July 4th emphasizing, “Millions and millions of Americans have valiantly and honorably served this nation in combat since the Revolutionary War. To present day more than 1 million warriors have paid the ultimate price, and that was the cost of their life, so that you and I can enjoy the freedoms that are uniquely American.”
California has released thousands of state prisoners who have been convicted of serious crimes because of the concern of them contracting the coronavirus. Attorney Dow said, “It would be, in my opinion, the very definition of insanity if we simultaneously branded a person of faith as a criminal for singing in their house of worship,” since the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the freedom to worship as one so desires.
It would be a sincere injustice for my office to charge a person with a crime who has simple chosen to practice their faith by singing with their congregation.
Dow called upon people of faith from his county, the state of California, across the nation, and all over the world to “please pray for peace, to pray for healing, [and] to pray for a cure for the coronavirus.”