US Attorney General moves against local, state govts unconstitutional crackdown on Easter, religious freedoms
The United States Attorney General, William Barr has cautioned local and state governments against clamping down on religious freedoms, including celebration of Easter, under the guise of curbing the spread of coronavirus.
The Justice Department said Saturday that actions could commence as early as next week to compel erring local authorities to respect the religious freedoms of Americans.
This is as many religious leaders have moved to holding online services as local authorities enact measures to prevent them from holding in-person gatherings during the pandemic.
Spokesperson, Kerri Kupec wrote on Twitter that Barr was monitoring efforts to stop Christians from celebrating sacred Easter ceremonies.
“During this sacred week for many Americans, AG Barr is monitoring govt regulation of religious services.
“While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly & not single out religious orgs. Expect action from DOJ next week!” Kupec wrote.
This comes amid reports that many local administrations are adopting measures to prevent the celebration of Easter, including banning drive-in church services.
In Florida, a warrant was issued for the arrest of megachurch pastor, Rodney Howard-Browne for refusing to cancel his packed services and obey coronavirus physical distancing orders.
Governor Ron DeSantis later issued a directive that the state’s stay-at-home-order exempts religious gatherings, countermanding Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister’s arrest warrant for the pastor.
In Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer had threatened to track license plates and fine anyone who attends a public ceremony during the Easter period.
But U.S. District Judge Justin Walker described the governor’s action as “unconstitutional”.
“An American mayor criminalised the communal celebration of Easter.
“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 Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional,” Fox quoted the judge as saying.