Eden-Monaro's Christian Democrat candidate says it makes no sense for pubs and clubs to be allowed up to 50 patrons, but churches aren't.
Narelle Storey, of Cobargo, who is standing in the coming federal by-election for the Fred Nile Group, was responding to reports this week that the state's easing of coronavirus lockdowns has yet to be extended to religious gatherings.
The NSW government has announced that from June 1, pubs, cafes, restaurants and clubs will be permitted to have up to 50 people at any one time, relaxing the current restrictions of 10.
"It makes no sense that pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to accommodate up to 50 people, but religious gatherings will remain restricted to no more than 10," Ms Storey said.
"Religious worship is a fundamental right under international law, and our legal tradition has likewise recognised its importance to civil society."
Ms Storey said she and the Christian Democratic Party are calling on the government to allow up to 100 people to gather for religious worship, including marriages, funerals and baptisms.
"It is outrageous and unjust that religious communities have once again been put at the back of the queue," she said.
Party leader Fred Nile also called on all church leaders to join him in "championing this righteous cause in the name of religious liberty".
Catholic Bishop of Bathurst Michael McKenna was among other church leaders making a similar pronouncement, urging the government to recognise church services as "truly an essential service".
Bishop McKenna congratulated the government for the way it has led the state through these days of pandemic and said he welcomed the careful new measures that will see pubs and other venues be allowed to serve up to 50 people at a time.
But, he said he is puzzled that, so far, there is no word on letting more people come to church.
"It has been great to begin this with congregations of 10, and priests and parishioners have worked hard to follow all the rules necessary.
"However, if it's safe to have 50 people in a pub, it's surely safe to have that number in a church. I've spent time in both, so I speak from experience."