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Washington Gov. Inslee bans singing in church. Broadway celeb responds: I'm not going to comply with your 'unlawful orders.'


'Respectfully disobey'

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The liberal Democratic governor of Washington's new COVID -19 restriction banning congregational singing in religious worship services is not sitting well with many citizens.

One Washington celebrity, Broadway star Chad Kimball, made it clear what the governor can do with his ban on musical worship.

What did the governor do?

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued new COVID-19 restrictions for his state Sunday.

Those new restrictions are widespread and include limits on social gatherings, closings of bars, restaurants, and gyms, occupancy restrictions for businesses, bans on indoor sporting events, and prohibitions on wedding receptions and funeral wakes.

Many citizens of the Evergreen State took serious issue with those new state dictates, but what really set off a significant share of the population was the governor's treatment of religion and the exercise thereof.

Inslee's declaration places hard limits on the number of people permitted to attend a religious service, prohibits choirs, bands, and ensembles, and outright bans congregational singing, which is a vital part of worship for many faiths. From the governor's declaration (emphasis added):

Religious Services are limited to 25 percent of indoor occupancy limits, or no more than 200 people, whichever is fewer. Congregation members/attendees must wear facial coverings at all times and congregation singing is prohibited. No choir, band, or ensemble shall perform during the service. Vocal or instrumental soloists are permitted to perform, and vocal soloists may have a single accompanist. Outdoor services must follow the Outdoor Dining Guidance.

What was Kimball's response?

Kimball took to Twitter shortly after Inslee's announcement and made it clear where he stood on the governor's attempt to ban singing during a religious service.

The Tony-nominated actor, who recovered from COVID-19 last spring, vowed to let no one ever stop him from singing or worshiping God and noted that this was a power grab by Inslee.

"Respectfully, I will never allow a Governor, or anyone, to stop me from SINGING, let alone sing in worship to my God," Kimball wrote. "Folks, absolute POWER corrupts ABSOLUTELY. This is not about safety. It's about POWER."

"I will respectfully disobey these unlawful orders," he concluded.

His stance, of course, did not sit well with his liberal colleagues in the acting world who took to Twitter to respond. Deadline dug up several of those responses, including:

  • Sharon Wheatley, Kimball's "Come From Away" costar: "I respectfully totally and completely disagree with you. I respectfully feel you are very much on the wrong side of this. I FaceTimed with you when you had Covid, Chad. You were very sick. I remember. It scared me. I love you like a brother, but I disagree with you."
  • Colin Donnell, Broadway actor and star of NBC's "Chicago Med": "Tried to think of something clever to say but just got more and more angry. 246,000+ dead. Entire industries shut down, including the one you're in. A medical community full of people putting their lives on the line to take care of others, including you. This is f***ing moronic."
  • Patti Murin, who starred as Princess Anna in the Broadway version of "Frozen": "No one said you can't sing. You can sing. Alone. In your own home. Possibly for the rest of your life, after this tweet."
  • Jarrod Spector, star of multiple Broadway hits: "It really doesn't seem like too much to ask that when you go to gatherings of up to TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE you refrain from using your well-trained diaphragm to aerosol spray everyone around you with Covid."
  • Steve Kazee, Tony-winning actor: "The ones who quote the Bible most seem to be the ones who follow its teachings the least. This is not about you and your need to sing your praise songs. I'm almost certain selfishness is frowned upon in that big book of yours. Wear a mask. Take care of your fellow humans."

Kimball later clarified that he's not arguing with masks but with the governor's overreach by banning singing even when people are wearing masks.

"To be clear: nobody is going maskless," he said. "The overreach — in my opinion! — is not being able to sing even WITH a mask. No singing WITH a mask ON. Everyone will continue wearing masks. With respect and with hope and with care."

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