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D.C. church wins right to gather

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 10/12/20, 04:58 pm

Members of Capitol Hill Baptist Church on Friday won the right to worship outdoors together, at least for now. Rain canceled their plans for Sunday, but the church said it plans to gather its congregants in the city the next weekend.

What changed? Capitol Hill Baptist sued D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser after she denied its request to worship outside wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines. Judge Trevor N. McFadden ruled the congregation could meet outdoors within city limits while its case moves forward. Capitol Hill Baptist had met in a field outside another church in northern Virginia since mid-June. McFadden said the church would likely succeed in its argument that Bowser’s restriction violated its rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The case hinges on the mayor having welcomed thousands of protesters to the city while capping how many people could worship outdoors together.

Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s analysis of the case in Liberties.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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    Posted: Tue, 10/13/2020 12:46 pm

    I have appreciated Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's approach to churches. Throughout the pandemic, she has made her position clear, but in her hotly-contested executive orders (which were overturned by Michigan Supreme Court anyway), she exempted places of worship and "first amendment" activities like protests. (That included the BLM protests, but before those, the Whitmer ignored the massive anti-Whitmer protests that flouted her rules.)

    Too bad Cuomo and Bowser didn't take a page from her playbook and respect religious rights while taking COVID seriously.