The mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, barred churches from holding drive-in services, in which congregants sit in their cars in parking lots six feet apart and listen to sermons. A federal court blocked the order.
First Liberty Institute, On Fire Christian Church’s legal counsel, announced that the church and Mayor Greg Fischer have reached an agreement on the issue.
“We are grateful to Mayor Fischer and Louisville city officials who worked with us to ensure their policies are both consistent with the Constitution and the CDC’s guidelines,” said Roger Byron, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “During this challenging time, we need to see more of this kind of cooperation between government officials and the religious community.”
“We are pleased that the mayor was willing to work together with our client to find a solution that protects religious liberty exercised in a responsible manner,” said Matthew Martens, partner at WilmerHale. “Like everyone, On Fire Christian Church looks forward to the day when they can meet together in-person again without being restricted to their cars.”
The judge in the case said Louisville’s order violated the Free Exercise clause “beyond all question.”
Local governments have cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for infringing on the rights of Christians to hold services. And courts have been striking down these government actions.
A judge in Kansas recently blocked the governor’s attempt to limit church services to 10 congregants. The Trump administration issued a statement of support for a church in Greenville, Mississippi, after the mayor barred drive-in services. The mayor rescinded the fines and the order. A church in Chattanooga filed a lawsuit against the city over its ban on drive-in services.