Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of another church this week.
Metro Tab Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, sued the city over its ban on church drive-in services during the COVID-19 crisis. The city prohibits church members from sitting in their cars in parking lots listening to sermons on the radio.
The city of Greenville in Mississippi enacted a similar ban. The U.S. Attorney General’s Office released a statement of interest in support of the church, and the city rescinded the order.
Like Greenville’s mayor, Chattanooga mayor’s specifically targeted churches. From ADF:
On April 9, Berke posted a message aimed at churches on the city website and on his official Facebook page regarding the order, stating that “drive-in services…even in their cars with the windows rolled up, for any length of time, will be considered a violation of our shelter-in-place directive.” Neither the mayor nor the city has been willing to back off on the amended directive, despite the U.S. Department of Justice’s strong concern over the overreaching bans, as expressed in a statement of interest that the agency filed in a similar ADF case in Mississippi.
“City officials go too far when they single out churches for punishment, preventing them from alternate versions of worship during this pandemic that are specifically designed to comply with health and safety recommendations from both state and federal authorities,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries. “It makes no sense that you can sit in your car in a crowded parking lot or at a drive-in restaurant in Chattanooga, but you can’t sit in your car at a drive-in church service. Chattanooga’s ban is unnecessary and unconstitutional, and that’s why we have filed suit.”