Thousands of churches across the country are reportedly defying governors’ orders not to host services amid the coronavirus pandemic and are, instead, pushing ahead to exercise their First Amendment rights.
As the Daily Wire reports, “Catholic, Lutheran, nondenominational, and more” have announced they are reopening their facilities and are hosting in-person religious services.
From the report:
In Minnesota, over 700 Catholic and Lutheran churches acquired assistance from a law firm, Becket Law, to stand their ground against the infringement of their religious freedom, informing Democratic Governor Tim Walz that they will be re-opening their churches on May 26 with or without his consent.
Similarly, a movement headed by megachurch pastor Brian Gibson dubbed “Peaceably Gather” has reportedly gained steam with thousands of churches across the country signing on to reopen their houses of worship despite lockdown orders.
Becket Law announced on Wednesday they were representing churches that were opposing Democratic Governor Tim Walz’s lockdown orders.
“Minnesota Catholics and Lutherans tell Governor Tim Walz they are reopening churches on May 26 — after the Governor announced malls, salons, tattoo parlors, & casinos can open, but churches can’t,” the law firm said via the Daily Wire.
The firm also said it was being joined by clients represented by Sidley Law to oppose Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison “that the First Amendment doesn’t let the government put churches at the back of the line during reopening.”
The leadership of over 700 Catholic and Lutheran churches, represented by @BECKETlaw & @SidleyLaw, told @GovTimWalz and AG @keithellison that the First Amendment doesn’t let the government put churches at the back of the line during reopening. https://t.co/KfQJ9IbS0n (2/8)
— BECKET (@BECKETlaw) May 20, 2020
The firm continued: “Governor Walz’s latest re-opening order allows the Mall of America to open its doors to those seeking retail therapy but disallows churches from providing spiritual healing to their congregations. At the same time, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty sent Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison a legal letter explaining why continuing to keep churches closed violates the First Amendment. Also representing the Catholic and Lutheran Churches is global law firm Sidley Austin LLP.”
A press release from the law firm announced the churches would resume in defiance of the governor’s orders while still maintaining and in compliance with health guidelines.
“The Minnesota Catholic Conference and The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod in Minnesota sent Governor Tim Walz separate letters today announcing that they would be resuming worship services on May 26 despite Governor Walz’s current COVID-19 executive order which allows retailers to operate at 50 percent capacity but caps church worship services at ten people,” the law firm said in a statement via Daily Wire.