A leading conservative national public interest law firm has defended President Trump’s call for the reopening of churches, insisting they provide “essential” services.
“We appreciate and fully endorse the President’s call to reopen the churches,” said attorney Stephen Crampton, special counsel at the Thomas More Society. “Churches are essential organizations; they provide essential services that are desperately needed during these desperate times.”
“As President Trump said, ‘We need more prayer in America, not less,’” Crampton noted in a statement sent to Breitbart News Saturday. “The discriminatory labeling of churches as nonessential by many governors across the nation has infringed our rights and injured our recovery from this terrible pandemic.”
“It is high time to reopen the churches,” he said.
The Chicago-based Thomas More Society provides pro bono legal services in defense of life, family, and religious liberty, and is currently involved in fighting for the rights of churches in various states, including Illinois, California, Mississippi, New Jersey, among others.
In one such case, the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista is heading to the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals after filing a lawsuit claiming that the state’s governor issued unconstitutional orders during the coronavirus pandemic in violation of religious rights.
The Thomas More Society filed an Urgent Motion for an Injunction Pending Appeal on May 16, 2020, with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which the court has set on the fast track for a quick decision.
In a separate federal lawsuit in the Southern District of California, the Thomas More Society noted that California is one of only eight states “whose response to the COVID-19 pandemic has included no accommodation for — hardly even a mention of — the religious rights of its citizens.”
“After weeks of government suppression of their religious freedoms, our clients have said enough is enough,” said Charles LiMandri, special counsel for the Thomas More Society. “The First Amendment still protects their right to freely exercise their faith, even during a pandemic.”