Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion in federal court Tuesday, challenging Gov. Andy Beshear’s travel ban as unconstitutional. He also urged him to stop targeting faith-based gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic and allow congregants to start gathering in person at church again.
“The First Amendment provides the citizens of this country with the specific, enumerated right to practice their religious beliefs, free from targeting and discrimination,” Cameron said at a press conference. “By specifically banning faith-based mass gatherings while allowing other secular organizations and activities to continue operation, Gov. Beshear has deliberately targeted religious groups. This pattern of targeting continued when the Governor ordered state police to track the license plates of those who attended a faith-based gathering on Easter Sunday, and it continues even this week as he allows some businesses to resume operations.”
Through an executive order on March 19, Beshear banned faith-based mass gatherings while providing exemptions for secular organizations and activities, including typical office environments, factories, and retail or grocery stores, Cameron’s office noted.
The order says even though permitted secular activities involve the presence of groups of people, they can continue as long as individuals “maintain appropriate social distancing.” Faith-based gatherings are allowed no such exemption.
“Kentucky law gives the Governor broad power during a state of emergency, but it does not give him the power to violate the First Amendment by discriminating against faith-based practices,” Cameron noted. “We cannot, in good faith, move forward from this health crisis together if we have allowed faith-based groups to be unfairly targeted during the process. Governor Beshear should immediately rescind the executive orders targeting faith-based gatherings, and, if he doesn’t, then we will be forced to file a lawsuit and allow a judge to determine whether his order, as it pertains to religious groups, is constitutional.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair