Letter: Dr. Sara Cody, Please Let Churches Gather to Worship

To Gov. Gavin Newsom, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody:

It grieves me to be writing concerning events surrounding the unjust killing (some would say murder) of George Floyd in the Twin Cities.

Atrocities of this nature tend to have a global effect beyond their localities. Events such as these have collateral effects. This is one such case.

I am writing to you on behalf of houses of worship, including my own, to do the right, wise, and logical thing in the face of recent developments. What do I mean? Due to circumstances beyond your control, the protest gatherings and riots in California, San Jose, and across the nation have nullified the efficacy of the various COVID-19 countermeasures presently in force. I suppose it is not your fault. It is the result of the situation on the ground. One has to admit that due to circumstances beyond your control, your policies are rendered ineffective and ineffectual.

They are irretrievably compromised.

Neither the legitimate protesters nor the rioters are observing social distancing, nor are they taking countermeasures to assure their safety and the safety of others from infection. The communities to which they will return will be effectively compromised. Regardless of the goodwill and best intentions of governments, the reality is that the proverbial horse is out of the barn (or the birds have left the nest), and you cannot return or recover them. Since it would have been impossible to enforce these restrictions on the protesters and rioters it is no one’s fault. It is merely the situation on the ground (call it prevailing environmental circumstances).

Even before the protests and riots, boredom and societal fatigue have progressively worked against the strict observance of public health policies. Things will only get worse as the summer progresses. I think you have to acknowledge this reality.

Attempting to ratchet these policies back up would be unwise and maybe even impossible. To continue to impose these measures on gatherings of law-abiding worshippers in light of the protests would appear (and would be) selective, discriminatory, and unethical. I realize it’s difficult to hold those crowds to the standard, but now—by default—you will find yourself in the unenviable position of singling out churches like mine (and other houses of worship) when (by default) other mass gatherings are tolerated. That is bad policy indeed, not to mention terrible optics.

California is facing a long hot summer and will need all the help it can get. Communities around the country, the state, Santa Clara County, and San Jose need the services of houses of worship and similar aid groups. We provide essential emotional, psychological, and spiritual grounding to people, many of whom are pent up, or in distress.

On the last Sunday of the last month, May 31, many churches ignored the ban. We did not. Now there seems no longer any credible reason to wait.

Do yourself and your constituents a service. Remove the restrictions on houses of worship and trust us to do what other essential groups have done—govern ourselves responsibly. Don’t make a difficult situation worse—lift the ban by July 1.

Again, circumstances have rendered these restrictions unenforceable, and these crowds have irretrievably compromised and crippled the efficacy of your efforts. We hope to reopen on July 12. We hope to do so with your support and blessing.


Keith Crosby

Lead Pastor, Hillside Church

Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches and letters to [email protected].


  1. Thank you, Pastor Crosby. You have expressed in polite terms the hypocrisy of allowing mass, sometimes violent, street protests without social distancing, extant now for nearly two full weeks, while the rest of us continue to suffer the months-long infringement of our civil liberties. The shelter-in-place orders should be ended, in their entirety, immediately.

    • Don give to Cesar what belong to Cesar and to God what belong to God. Comparing a demonstration to people of faith is a hypocrisy with hidden intention. Demonstrators were not allowed to protest. They decided to break the shelter in place order in order to demonstrate. Using the name of God to justify one’s own intentions and purpose is EREGIA!

  2. > Do yourself and your constituents a service. Remove the restrictions on houses of worship and trust us to do what other essential groups have done—govern ourselves responsibly. Don’t make a difficult situation worse—lift the ban by July 1.

    About eleven paragraphs too long.

    Oh, and I think there was a typo in the above paragraph. You probably meant May 1 instead of July 1.

  3. Dr. Cody is an unelected despot, a Czarina, and she doesn’t have an email address accessible to the public she has abused so badly?

  4. Hmmm. Just wondering.

    Was Sara Cody one of the 1200 “health experts” who signed the “open letter” excusing the George Floyd “protesters” from responsibility for spreading coronavirus?


    “Over 1,000 health professionals sign a letter saying, Don’t shut down protests using coronavirus concerns as an excuse”


    Tucker Carlson On Coronavirus – “This Is A Sham, It Was A Front For Tyrants”

    “The health “experts” have struck again. Tucker Carlson lays out why the official coronavirus narrative is a complete sham and why we should never listen to the medical charlatans that propagated it again. Time to immediately end all economic lockdowns without restriction.”

  5. This letter presents an excellent example of the logical fallacy tu quoque, perpetuating the idea, in the eyes of the author, that two “wrongs” perhaps make a right. Should churches be allowed to meet? Certainly, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that protests and the Black Lives Matter movement create such a reality.

    Dr. Sarah Cody and the epidemiologists guiding our local and national recovery deserve better than facile rhetoric and trite complaints.

    • Tough Luck. People Die. Get over it. This is America and you have the right to practice your religion.

      It may not be a smart idea not to gather in public but that hasn’t stopped the looters and rioters. You can’t live in total isolation forever and once people get back to a normal live the Virus is going to spread. You haven’t saved a net number of lives with a lock down versus not having one.

      If you don’t survive the Virus then well that’s life or death as the case might be. That sounds cruel but nature is cruel

      Just open up your business. The government isn’t going to stop you.

  6. Pastor Crosby, with all due respect, mind you own business and speak only on behalf of the houses of worship you represent not all. I belong to an international organization with congregations all over US, Every Latin American country, places in Europe, and Asia. We are not opening. Social fatigue and other reasons you present are not meaningful for the faithful. The word says where there is two or three congregated in my name, I will be there. Imagine if Jacob’s son Joseph or Moises had given the social fatigue excuse to God. We wouldn’t be talking. It is during this shelter in place some in my congratulation have formed groups to deliver food to our elders or simply drive them to where they need to go. We engage more in phone meetings, so on and on. Our missionaries are still contracting the virus. Just last week, I dropped food to the place of one of these missionaries here in San Jose. The missionary has had diarrhea for three weeks. Every person of God have to practice humility, patience, faith, hope, and love. What about if you pray tonight and ask God for wisdom and creativity. “In God We Trust”

  7. Reality Check.

    This is America and you have the right to practice your religion. Santa Cody County can stuff it.

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