A federal judge delivered a stunning rebuke of the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, accusing him of criminalizing Easter.
“On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter,” U.S. District Judge Justin Walker wrote in a temporary restraining order blocking Mayor Greg Fischer from outlawing drive-in church services.
“That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion,” the judge wrote.
On a side note, I described such horrors in my new book, “Culture Jihad: How to Stop the Left From Killing a Nation.”
Fischer, a Democrat, had ordered Christians not to attend Sunday services even if they remained in their cars and practiced social distancing.
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“We are not allowing churches to gather either in person or in any kind of drive-through capacity,” the mayor said. “If you are a church or you are a churchgoing member and you do that, you’re in violation of the mandate from the governor, you’re in violation of the request from my office and city government to not do that.”
The mayor’s spokesperson said they would use police to deter and disburse any drive-in religious gatherings.
“The mayor’s decision is stunning,” the judge declared. “And it is beyond all reason, unconstitutional.”
The judge pointed out what many Christians have observed — a double standard in the emergency order.
“Louisville has targeted religious worship by prohibiting drive-in church services, while not prohibiting a multitude of other non-religious drive-ins and drive-throughs — including, for example, drive-through liquor stores.”
In other words, the judge noted, “if beer is ‘essential,’ so is Easter.”
First Liberty Institute, along with the local law firm of WilmerHale and. Swansburg & Smith, filed the restraining order on behalf of On Fire Christian Church.
“Judge Walker recognized that the mayor’s prohibition of drive-in church services on Easter violated the church’s religious freedom,” said Roger Byron, senior counsel at First Liberty. “The church will conduct the Easter drive-in service tomorrow with grateful hearts and in full compliance with the CDC’s guidelines.”
The debate was never about the prudence of On Fire Christian Church’s decision to meet in Easter Sunday. The debate was whether the government has a right to outlaw religious liberty.
As Judge Walker so eloquently pointed out, there is no instruction book for a pandemic.