A very influential D.C. church, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, recently announced intentions to file a lawsuit over the District of Columbia’s prohibitions against meeting in person. They just got good news from the Department of Justice.
Bill Barr’s DOJ is going to side with the church in their battle. It’s a showdown that church-going people of faith will be watching with a keen eye.
It is the DOJ’s position that “the Constitution and federal law require the District of Columbia to allow the church to hold services outdoors, in the same way D.C. allows other types of outdoor First Amendment activities, including peaceful protests.”
The DOJ filed a brief explaining that the church is protected under the free exercise of religion clause of the Constitution:
While a local government has significant discretion to decide what measures to adapt to meet a public health threat, the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution requires that, whatever level of restriction it adopts, government must treat religious gatherings the same as comparable nonreligious gatherings…The right to free exercise of religion and the right to protest are both enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution. We are a nation dedicated to freedom of conscience and freedom of expression.
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