Religious Freedom Attorneys Pick Their Battles Amid Pandemic

By Elana Schor - Posted at MinistryWatch:

States are grappling with when and how to reopen establishments amid the pandemic. Religious liberty remains a legal flashpoint – particularly for the religious liberty law firms that have taken a leading role in representing churches and Christian non-profits.

At least a dozen state or federal suits filed since the virus outbreak started have focused partly or fully on freedom to worship in person, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Those lawsuits break primarily into two strategies. Both camps — which include legal nonprofits with significant experience in court battles over religious liberty — see an opportunity to advance their cause by taking on some state and local faith gathering limits ordered during the pandemic.

Some suits are framed as full-throated defenses of the right of religious assembly, but others have employed narrower strategies. A few pastors have grabbed headlines by defying public health orders with large services. Some of the nonprofits have found success defending a less polarizing practice: drive-in worship designed to gather the faithful in person, at a distance.


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