A Mississippi church is suing the city after police ticketed over 20 congregants and shut down its drive-in worship service last week. The officers fined each driver $500 for violating the mayor’s executive order that prohibits drive-in church services.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of Temple Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi. The suit states that Mayor Errick Simmons and police are overstepping their authority by shutting down drive-in services.
“Government is clearly overstepping its authority when it singles out churches for punishment, especially in a ridiculous fashion like this,” an ADF rep says. “In Greenville, you can be in your car at a drive-in restaurant, but you can’t be in your car at a drive-in church service. That’s not only nonsensical, it’s unconstitutional, too.”
Church members attending the drive-in service stay inside their vehicles with their windows rolled up. They listen to Senior Pastor Arthur Scott on the radio as he preaches from inside the church.
Social distancing is being practiced and no one is at risk. It’s the third straight week Temple Baptist has conducted its drive-in worship services.
King James Bible Baptist Church, which is also located in Greenville, also had its drive-in service shut down last week by local police.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Friday that any church-goers attending Easter Sunday service would have their license plate recorded by police. Local health officials would then place them under mandatory quarantine for two weeks.
On Fire Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, is suing Mayor Greg Fischer for prohibiting drive-in services on Easter Sunday. The church filed a restraining order against the major in order “to block his prohibition on churches holding drive-in churches during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Maryville Baptist Church in Hillview, Kentucky, also had a run in with local police on Easter Sunday. Although the church doors were open for congregants to worship inside the building, police were outside recording license plates.
Piles of nails were also found scattered outside each entrance, although it is unclear who is responsible.
Amid the unlawful banning of drive-in worship services, Attorney General William Barr announced he would be limiting government restrictions on religious services.
“AG Barr is monitoring govt regulation of religious services. While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly and not single out religious organizations. Expect action from DOJ [this] week,” a DOJ spokesperson tweeted.