Religious Liberty
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 Chris O’Meara

Florida pastor charged with unlawful gathering

by Harvest Prude
Posted 3/31/20, 11:13 am

Authorities in Tampa, Fla., did not like what they saw on Sunday on The River church’s worship service livestream: a sanctuary full of congregants. Police arrested Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne on Monday for violating an order to limit gatherings to 10 people because of the COVID-19 outbreak. But the church and its attorneys say the livestream didn’t show the safety measures in place such as placing family groups 6 feet apart in the auditorium, having staff members wear gloves, giving each attendee hand sanitizer, and using a $100,000 air purifying system.

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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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