Attorney General William Barr issued a statement warning officials that they can not target religious gatherings by imposing special restrictions during the coronavirus crisis.
Barr strongly urged churches to adhere to the advice of health officials regarding social distancing, noting that “the Constitution does allow some temporary restriction on our liberties that would not be tolerated in normal circumstances.”
Those restrictions, however, must be applied evenly.
“Even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers,” the statement reads.
“Thus, government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity.”
— Andrew T. Walker (@andrewtwalk) April 15, 2020
Memo Filed In Support of Mississippi Church
In addition to his statement, Barr revealed that the Department of Justice had filed a statement of interest supporting a lawsuit brought forth by a Mississippi church.
There, Christians attending an Easter mass were fined $500 for attending a drive-up service in a parking lot.
The sign outside the church clearly directed all attending to “stay in (their) car.”
“As we explain in the Statement of Interest, where a state has not acted evenhandedly, it must have a compelling reason to impose restrictions on places of worship,” explained Barr.
Remember, it’s okay for you to sit in your car at Home Depots, McDonalds, liquor stores and pot shops… but it is illegal for you to sit in your car at church.
This isn’t about a virus…
Cops fine worshippers $500 at drive-in church in Greenville, MS https://t.co/phiRJU5oij
— 🇺🇸 🐴 Loyal Moses 🐄 (@loyalmoses) April 11, 2020
Others who have been targeting church services have been put on notice.
Officers in Kentucky and Mississippi have been ticketing church-goers and forcing them to be quarantined for 14 days.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to “permanently” close religious gathering sites if they fail to adhere to health official guidelines, something we’re certain he hasn’t threatened for other businesses.
Keep trying to tell everyone, #Socialist #Establishment will use any “crisis” to further erode our Liberties. @Bill_bhsec now threatening to permanently close houses of worship if they do not listen to his dictatorial edicts. Wake up #America #IA01 #KAG https://t.co/160Xw1C2NZ
— Hansen for Congress (IA-01) (@Hansen4Congress) April 10, 2020
“No – no faith tradition endorses anything that endangers the members of that faith,” de Blasio said adding that he directed law enforcement to break up the services in late March.
“They’ll inform them they need to stop the services and disperse,” he warned. “If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently.”
Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino recently warned lawmakers that civil unrest could take place if officials continue to erode the freedoms of Americans.
“200-plus years of liberty [and] freedom are being flushed down the toilet almost overnight,” he warned. “Civil disobedience is about to make a bold comeback if something doesn’t change, STAT.”
Indeed, and targeting of the faithful will only accelerate the unrest.