Governor Cooper’s restrictions on indoor religious services blocked by federal judge

May 16, 2020 - 8:03 pm

A federal judge in North Carolina on Saturday sided with conservative Christian leaders and blocked the enforcement of restrictions that Gov. Roy Cooper ordered affecting indoor religious services during the coronavirus pandemic.

While Governor Roy Cooper says he disagrees with the ruling, he will not appeal it.

“We don’t want indoor meetings to become hotspots for the virus and our health experts continue to warn that large groups sitting together inside for long periods of time are much more likely to cause the spread of COVID-19," the statement says. "While our office disagrees with the decision, we will not appeal, but instead urge houses of worship and their leaders to voluntarily follow public health guidance to keep their members safe.”

The order from Judge James C. Dever III came Saturday, days after two Baptist churches, a minister and a Christian revival group filed a federal lawsuit seeking to immediately block enforcement of rules covering religious services within the Democratic governor’s executive orders. 

The plaintiffs argued Cooper's Order violate their rights to worship freely and treat churches differently from retailers and other secular activities.

House Speaker Tim Moore says this is a decision that ‘recognizes the 1st Amendment.’

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