CNA Staff, Oct 12, 2020 / 16:00 pm
A Protestant church suing the District of Columbia over coronavirus restrictions held an outdoor service on Sunday, following a court injunction permitting the socially-distanced service.
Capitol Hill Baptist Church, which is one of the largest in Washington, DC, sued the district in September, saying that it unfairly targeted religious institutions by capping outdoor gatherings at 100 people, but permitting larger gatherings for other purposes.
The church was denied a permit to use the nearby R.F.K. Stadium's parking lots for services, but the city permitted a pop-up drive-in movie theatre to use the same location.
In a ruling issued Friday, Judge Trevor McFadden of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia said that Washington, D.C.'s pandemic reopening restrictions do "substantially burden the church's exercise of religion" and that "the District has failed to offer evidence at this stage showing that it has a compelling interest in preventing the church from meeting outdoors with appropriate precautions, or that this prohibition is the least-restrictive means to achieve its interest."