Governor Andy Beshear and others have been preventing in person worship services despite churches’ willingness to adhere to social distancing and appropriate hygiene guidelines while allowing gyms, stores and the like to re-open. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.
It seems that some state officials think that Americans who go to church only go to church.
Maybe that’s an overstatement, but it at least appears that Governor Andy Beshear, and others, treat religious Americans differently. The lockdowns associated with COVID-19 suggest that some officials think that Americans are capable of shopping safely, but religious Americans are incapable of worshipping safely.
In a per curiam decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit wondered at this distinction. The litigants, church members, simply wanted to be treated equally. The court said, “They are willing to practice social distancing. They are willing to follow any hygiene requirements.” And, yet, the Court explained, “The Governor has offered no good reason for refusing to trust the congregants who promise to use care in worship in just the same way it trusts accountants, lawyers, and laundromat workers to do the same.”
Then the Court asked this, “aren’t the two groups of people often the same people—going to work on one day and going to worship on another? How can the same person be trusted to comply with social-distancing and other health guidelines in secular settings but not be trusted to do the same in religious settings?”
The Sixth Circuit enjoined Governor Beshear’s order preventing in-person worship services. After all, the Constitution knows no exception for a pandemic.
To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.