After a liberal mayor in Kentucky cracked down on church services, including even drive-in services, a Protestant church sued the mayor and the city of Louisville, which resulted in a temporary restraining order for the parishioners to hold drive-in service on Easter Sunday.
The lawsuit, though, has proven even more effective. According to The Daily Caller, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has backed down on his initial policy, now allowing drive-in services even outside On Fire Christian Church’s time-limited restraining order.
“Drive-in services consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing requirements may be held, according to an agreement between the Kentucky mayor and On Fire Christian Church’s legal representation, the nonprofit public interest law firm First Liberty Institute announced in a Tuesday press release,” the report outlined.
“We are grateful to Mayor Fischer and Louisville city officials who worked with us to ensure their policies are both consistent with the Constitution and the CDC’s guidelines,” said Roger Byron, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute, the press release said. “During this challenging time, we need to see more of this kind of cooperation between government officials and the religious community.”
“We are pleased that the mayor was willing to work together with our client to find a solution that protects religious liberty exercised in a responsible manner,” added Matthew Martens, partner at law firm WilmerHale. “Like everyone, On Fire Christian Church looks forward to the day when they can meet together in-person again without being restricted to their cars.”
As noted by The Daily Wire last week, U.S. District Judge Justin Walker strongly rebuked Mayor Fischer in a temporary restraining order.
“On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter,” Judge Walker wrote. Would-be church attendees “face an impossible choice,” he continued, “skip Easter Sunday service, in violation of their sincere religious beliefs, or risk arrest, mandatory quarantine, or some other enforcement action for practicing those sincere religious beliefs.”
“[I]f sitting in cars did pose a significant danger of spreading the virus, Louisville would close all drive-throughs and parking lots that are not related to maintaining public health, which they haven’t done,” Walker said, adding, “Nor is there any evidence that churches are less essential than every other business that is currently allowed to be open – liquor stores among them.”
Over the weekend, the church was allegedly targeted by vandals, who left nails at the entrance and exit areas of On Fire Christian Church. “The members of On Fire Christian Church are saddened by this crime,” Byron said. “We hope today’s agreement will end the violence against the church.”
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