Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Churches Challenge Oregon's COVID-19 Limits

Suit was filed yesterday in an Oregon federal district court challenging Oregon Governor Katherine Brown's COVID-19 order that limits the size of worship services.  The complaint (full text) in Edgewater Christian Fellowship v. Brown, (D OR, filed 5/26/20), alleges in part:
1. In Douglas County Oregon, Pastor Miller may be jailed for going to church with twenty-five other people on a Sunday morning, but can join those same people and more at a dine-in restaurant for Sunday lunch with no penalty. This is irrational and unconstitutional.
2. Under Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-25 (the “Religious Assembly Ban”) Oregonians in Josephine County may workout in a gym or participate in fitness classes in spaces up to max capacity with social distancing, but if they hold or attend a religious service with twenty-six people observing social distancing in the very same room (even one with capacity to seat over 1000) they are subject to a $1,250 fine and jail time of up to thirty days.
3. Under the Religious Assembly Ban, a church auditorium could host a gym class of any size with social distancing, but the same auditorium is limited to twenty-five people for church services.
ADF issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit. (See prior related posting.)