Chicago Declares Church a “Public Nuisance,” Threatens to Destroy Property

OPINION

A Romanian church that held worship services in defiance of state and city orders was declared a public nuisance by the Chicago Department of Public Health. Click here to read the letter.

Rev. Cristian Ionescu, the pastor of Elim Romanian Church, had already been slapped with citations for violating the city’s stay-at-home order. But now the church is facing an even more vile punishment.



“I am exercising my authority to order the abatement of the public health nuisance at 4850 N. Bernard Street which may contribute to the continued spread of COVID19 by failing to comply with the restrictions set out in the Executive Order,” Dr. Allison Arwady wrote in a threatening letter to the pastor on Saturday.

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The letter was sent the day after President Trump stated that all houses of worship are essential and that governors must allow them to reopen.

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According to the Illinois Supreme Court, summary abatement would mean to put down or destroy without process.

“Chicago is therefore threatening the closure and even destruction of church buildings on the ‘discretion’ of a single individual,” Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver said in a statement.

Staver said it was stunning that Chicago “threatens to close and even destroy churches” during Memorial Day weekend.

“Each day the thug tactics to close churches in Illinois gets more bizarre and outrageous,” Staver said. “The courts must stop this insanity.”

The commissioner rebuked the pastor for ignoring her command to cease holding services.



“I directed that you not hold gatherings at 4850 N. Bernard Street until such time as the data and guidance from public health officials indicates that it is safe to do so,” she wrote.

Dr. Arwady, who would’ve fit in quite well in the Soviet Union, said her position gives her “general police powers ‘to correct, by whatever means are necessary, any health hazard that presents an immediate risk to the life or health of one or more citizens of the City of Chicago.”

“As the health commissioner, I have the power and duty ‘to cause all nuisances affecting the health of the public to be abated with all reasonable promptness,” she added.

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