Full width home advertisement

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

Federal judge rules Illinois’ stay-at-home order constitutional

On the same day Beloved Church in Lena held a service with more than 100 people, defying Governor JB Pritzker's stay-at-home order, a U.S. district judge rules the order constitutional.
Beloved Church and its pastor Stephen Cassell filed the federal complaint Thursday.
The lawsuit claimed the state and other local authorities have "intentionally denigrated Illinois churches and pastors and people of faith by relegating them to second-class citizenship."
But, a ruling from U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee says the state's stay-at-home order is constitutional. Lee denied the motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
The 37-page ruling cited the governor's new order, which recognized free exercise of religion as an "essential activity." That adjustment was made on April 30 by the Pritzker administration, the same day the lawsuit was filed.
"The Court is mindful that the religious activities permitted by the April 30 Order are imperfect substitutes for an in-person service where all eighty members of Beloved Church can stand together, side-by-side, to sing, pray, and engage in communal fellowship. Still, given the continuing threat posed by COVID-19, the Order preserves relatively robust avenues for praise, prayer and fellowship and passes constitutional muster. Until testing data signals that it is safe to engage more fully in exercising our spiritual beliefs (whatever they might be), Plaintiffs, as Christians, can take comfort in the promise of Matthew 18:20—“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them,'" the decision states.
Cassell disagrees, and says people need to be together to worship.
"For the last four weeks, we have been doing it the way other churches have been doing it and you cannot minister to a persons heart and provide for their spiritual needs and the needs of their soul by being electronically distanced, you just can't do it," Pastor Cassell told 13 WREX on Sunday.
"For present purposes, it suffices to state that Governor Pritzker’s April 30 Order satisfies minimal constitutional requirements as they pertain to religious organizations, like the Beloved Church. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’
motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction is denied," the conclusion of the ruling states.
The church has not received a citation for Sunday's service, according to Lena Village President Dennis Bergman. He did say the church could still be cited in the future.
The church says it does plan on having another in person service, though it did not say if that was planned for this Sunday.
When asked on Monday if he will urge authorities to step in and "do something more" than just disperse crowds, Gov. Pritzker said people can be jailed for it, but suggested that not be the first course of action.

No comments:

Post a comment

Bottom Ad [Post Page]