Religious Liberty

Religious Groups Sue New York State over New COVID Restrictions on Worship

In response to new COVID outbreak clusters, the state "has decided to limit capacity of houses of worship within the clusters to ten people, and to entirely ban mass gatherings in the cluster areas. The two separate lawsuits against the restrictions were brought by Agudath Israel, an organization representing Orthodox Jews, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn." - N.Review

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Church vs. Public Health Orders: Objections & Options

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

When governments place burdensome regulations on churches, what are their options?

I’ve argued that when these regulations are plausibly unconstitutional, or seriously hinder a church’s ability to function as a church—but don’t require disobedience to God—defiance is not the New Testament response. Rather, following the example of Paul’s use of the Roman legal system in his defense, a better option is to obey the authorities God has ordained but to also seek relief through legal means. For convenience, I’ve termed this strategy “comply and resist.”

I’m personally aware of four responses various congregations have chosen:

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DOJ backs Capitol Hill Baptist over DC mayor’s gathering restrictions

"The Department of Justice is backing Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., in its lawsuit against Mayor Murriel Bowser for unfairly applying a ban on outdoor church services of more than 100 people during the COVID-19 pandemic." - C.Post

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How Can We Simultaneously “Submit to Every Ordinance of Man” and “Obey God Rather Than Men”?

" seems necessary to amend the statement, 'We must obey the government unless the government explicitly tells us to disobey God,' to something like this: 'We must obey the government (1) unless the government explicitly tells us to disobey God, or (2) unless the government exceeds its jurisdiction so as to speak authoritatively into a sphere regulated by another, God-instituted authority.'" - Snoeberger

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Capitol Hill Baptist Church sues D.C. on COVID order

CHBC sued, "contending the district’s restrictions in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic violate the congregation’s First Amendment rights and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The 26-page complaint says Bowser’s order has been applied in a discriminatory manner, permitting gatherings of thousands for other events this summer while severely limiting the meetings of churches and other religious bodies." - BPNews

1783 reads

Calif. pastor moves worship outdoors after county fines church $112K for indoor services

"The pastor of a 3,000-seat California church said he will stop fighting Santa Clara County and hold services in the church parking lot as per local COVID-19 guidelines after fines rose to over $112,000. The county said it will not forgive the fines." - CPost

625 reads