Court Places Restraining Order on Louisville Mayor’s Ban On Drive-In Church Services

Pastor Chuck Salvo held an American flag as he sang “God Bless the U.S.A.” after discussing CDC guidelines and making the song a tribute to military and law enforcement during On Fire Christian Church’s Easter Sunday drive-in service. April 12, 2020 ALTON STRUPP/THE COURIER JOURNAL

On Saturday afternoon before Easter, Federal District Judge Justin Walker issued a temporary restraining order against Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s ban on “religious services, even if the congregants remain in their cars during the service.” On Fire Christian Center is represented by First Liberty and a Louisville law firm.

The Court enjoined “Louisville from enforcing; attempting to enforce; threatening to enforce; or otherwise requiring compliance with any prohibition on drive-in church services at On Fire [Christian Center].”

Judge Walker begin his opinion by stating: “On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the continued celebration of Easter.” The order continues: “That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps on the pages of The Onion.”

Judge Walker stated: “The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional.”

The well-written decision briefly overviews the history of the Plymouth Colony as Pilgrims settled in the New World “where they would find what they wanted most, what they needed most: the liberty to worship God according to their conscience. The Pilgrim’s history of fleeing religious persecution was just one of the many ‘historical instances of religious persecution and intolerance that gave concern to those who drafted the Free Exercise Clause’ of our Constitution’s First Amendment.”

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SOURCE: Liberty Counsel