Steve West

Steve is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute mid-career course.

Associated Press/Photo by David Crigger/Bristol Herald Courier (file)

Closed but not canceled

First Amendment | Churches adapt to pandemic restrictions
by Steve West
Posted 4/07/20, 03:11 pm

Henry Fernandez doesn’t like preaching to an empty room and a camera: “Here I am in this small sanctuary with six people, and I’m trying to ignore the camera and speak normally, and that has been a real challenge for me.”

Though the situation makes him anxious, Fernandez, who pastors Bryce Avenue Presbyterian Church, a Presbyterian Church in America congregation in Los Alamos, N.M., said the decision whether to obey the state’s ban on public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic was straightforward.

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Associated Press/Photo by Eric Gay

Essential services?

First Amendment | Some churches fight stay-at-home orders on First Amendment grounds
by Steve West
Posted 3/31/20, 05:28 pm

With New York City engulfed by the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday pleaded with congregations not to gather for worship—and threatened severe repercussions if they did.

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Associated Press/Photo by Matt York

Religious liberty in a pandemic

Religious Liberty | Lockdowns tests the limits of freedom of worship in times of public crisis
by Steve West
Posted 3/24/20, 06:15 pm

As pastors and religious leaders across the country faced tough decisions about whether to hold worship services over the weekend, Pacific Justice Institute President Brad Dacus gathered 500 of them on a conference call on Thursday. They talked about how to keep their ministries going and whether shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions on public gatherings violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

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