Supreme Court Rules for Worshippers

New York governor may not ban gatherings due to COVID.

In a 5-4 decision right before Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court barred New York from enforcing certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues in areas designated as hard hit by the coronavirus. The newest Justice, Amy Coney Barrett, ruled with the majority, while Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the minority opinion.

The action could push New York to reevaluate its restrictions on houses of worship in areas designated virus hot spots. But the impact of the court’s action is also muted because the Catholic and Orthodox Jewish groups that sued to challenge the restrictions are not presently subject to them.

The unsigned majority opinion said, “Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area. But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty.”

In his dissent, Chief Justice Roberts said, “None of the houses of worship identified in the applications is now subject to any fixed numerical restrictions,” then he added that New York’s 10 and 25 percent caps “do seem unduly restrictive.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • With thanksgiving that the Supreme Court has ruled that “the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”
  • For churches and synagogues to exercise due caution regarding the virus and implement such restrictions on their own as they deem appropriate for their congregations.
  • For the possible increase in infections with so many traveling or visiting others during the Thanksgiving season.

Sources: Fox News, Newsmax


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