Liberties
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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more