A California church that police shut down on Palm Sunday for allegedly disobeying coronavirus health restrictions filed a lawsuit this month accusing Gov. Gavin Newsom and local authorities of violating its fundamental rights.
“Civil rights are not suspended by a virus,” the lawsuit states. “Fundamental and unalienable rights are, by their very nature, ‘essential.’”
“[California] does not have the authority to disregard well-established religious tenets relating to gatherings and method of worship,” the lawsuit states. “Yet the State of California has, in a sweeping abuse of its power, criminalized all religious assembly and communal religious worship while allowing citizens to gather at a liquor store, pot-dispensary, Planned Parenthood … and many other locations which are deemed ‘essential.’”
a county health official also issued a “specific order preventing Duncan from returning to the property even to record online services or use the parking lot for a drive-in service.”
Duncan said he did follow the governor’s social distancing requirements; he required attendees to sanitize their hands and asked the elderly, ill and people with compromised immune systems to stay home. He said he believed the church still had the constitutional right to meet.
“We love people and don’t want anyone to become infected,” the pastor said. “With the health and safety standards we have put in place we are a much lower risk of coronavirus spread than Walmart with its narrow aisles and everyone touching everything.”
The lawsuit argues that Duncan and his church were specifically targeted by the April 3 county order.“At the same time, a purportedly ‘essential’ day care center on the same church property is able to continue to operate on-site,” the lawsuit states. “The church is therefore banned even from making video recordings for church services streamed over the internet.
Religious leaders have seen similar restrictions in other states. Earlier this April, police fined members of a Mississippi church $500 each for attending a drive-in service. Supposedly, they violated a social distancing order even though the church, Temple Baptist in Greenville, required attendees to stay in their vehicles with the windows up and listen to the worship service on their radios, according to the Washington Times.
In Kentucky, police showed up at another church service and recorded the license plate numbers of those who attended, left notices on their windshields, and warned people to quarantine for 14 days or else face “further enforcement measures,” according to USA Today.
Meanwhile, abortion facilities can continue aborting unborn babies unhindered in most states. Yet, pro-life sidewalk counselors are being fined and arrested for offering information and resources to pregnant moms as they go into these abortion facilities.