CNA Staff, Apr 15, 2020 / 09:00 am
The Justice Department (DOJ) is supporting a Mississippi church after local authorities fined attendees at a drive-in service during the coronavirus pandemic.
The DOJ filed a statement of interest on Tuesday in support of Temple Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, that held drive-in services where attendees listened to the service on their car radios. The church took the special precautions in response to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, where the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended gatherings of fewer than 10 people, spaced at least six feet apart, to halt the spread of the virus.
In its brief, the DOJ argued that the church tailored its services to comply with public health guidelines, and that the city government acted unfairly in enforcing its restrictions on churches but not on other entities such as restaurants serving drive-in patrons.
"In addition to appearing non-neutral, the church's allegations also tend to show that the city's emergency actions are not applied in a generally applicable manner," DOJ stated.