Mississippi Church Sues City for Discrimination During COVID-19 Crisis

Errick Simmons, mayor of Greenville, Mississippi, issued an executive order that bans Christians from attending drive-in services, claiming church attendance, not an essential activity, violates the governor’s shelter-in-place order.

But the order doesn’t ban drive-in church services.

Women can continue killing their unborn children, customers can go to fast-food restaurant drive-through windows and order food, and people can go to the grocery store, even if there’s no formal “social distancing” in place. But law-abiding Christians can’t sit in their cars in church parking lots and hear sermons?

Something smells foul, and Temple Baptist Church just filed a lawsuit against the city. The mayor said he’d keep the city’s order in place until the governor lifts the state’s. From the church’s legal counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF):

The governor’s order includes no such ban and identifies churches as an “essential business or operation.

The lawsuit came about after members of Temple Baptist Church drove to the church’s parking lot on Wednesday night and stayed in their cars, as the church instructed, with their windows rolled up while listening to Pastor Arthur Scott preach a sermon over a low-power FM radio frequency from a microphone inside the empty church building. Despite the fact that no one left their cars, which numbered fewer than 20, eight uniformed police officers arrived at the service and issued tickets of $500 per person for violating the mayor’s ban, which does not apply to drive-in restaurants like the nearby Sonic Drive-In that reportedly often has more cars present than at Temple Baptist’s drive-in services.

ADF attorney Jeremiah Galus pointed out the absurdity of the mayor’s order against churches.

“The whole point of conducting a drive-in church service is to respect the health and safety of other. No one at Temple Baptist’s service even got out of their cars, and yet they were ticketed $500 per person under the mayor’s baseless ban.”

Although the mayor rescinded fines, the lawsuit will proceed.

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