VIRGINIA CHURCH SEEKS EMERGENCY INJUNCTION
Lighthouse Fellowship Church on Chincoteague Island filed its reply legal memorandum seeking an emergency motion for injunction pending appeal in the federal lawsuit against Governor Ralph Northam for violating the religious freedom of churchgoers on Palm Sunday. Liberty Counsel represents the church.
Police served a summons to Pastor Wilson for holding a church service with 16 people spaced far apart in a sanctuary that is rated for 293 people. The charge is violating Virginia Governor Northam's COVID Order 55 with a penalty up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
On April 5, before the service on Palm Sunday, a local police officer entered the church. He gave no introduction and did not ask for the pastor. He abruptly said they could not have more than 10 people spaced six feet apart. Then, after the service, two police officers entered the church in full mask and gloves and asked to speak with the pastor. They issued him a summons and informed him that if he had service on Easter, all attending would get the same summons.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a Statement of Interest and Vice President Pence said he "strongly agrees" with the DOJ filing in support of the church. "Even in the midst of a national emergency, every American enjoys our cherished liberties, including the freedom of religion," Pence said on "The Brian Kilmeade Show" on Fox News Radio.