WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The District of Columbia will pay $200,000 as part of a settlement of a lawsuit for restricting religious services during the coronavirus lockdown.
Last September, Capitol Hill Baptist Church sued the district after the government banned outdoor religious services with more than 100 people in attendance. They argued that the restrictions unfairly burdened religious institutions compared to secular entities.
In October 2020, Trump-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden ruled in favor of the church, maintaining that the “current restrictions substantially burden the church’s exercise of religion.”
He continued to explain that “the District has failed to offer evidence at this stage showing that it has a compelling interest in preventing the church from meeting outdoors with appropriate precautions, or that this prohibition is the least-restrictive means to achieve its interest.”
Later, the church hosted their first outdoor service, following the current the official public health recommendations by practicing so-called physical distancing and wearing masks.
Associate Pastor Bobby Jamieson preached at this service, saying, “It is absolutely appropriate to take stock, to give thanks, to give honor to whom honor is due, to recognize the many blessings that our government continually secures and provides for us.”
“The only conditions that justify disobedience to legitimate government authority, legitimate earthly authority are when they either command something God forbids or forbid something God commands,” he continued.
People of goodwill can disagree about the safety, efficacy and religious implications of a new vaccine for the coronavirus.
But, everyone should agree on this point:
No government can force anyone who has reached legal adulthood to be vaccinated for the coronavirus. Equally, no government can vaccinate minors for the coronavirus against the will of their parents or guardians.
Please SIGN this urgent petition which urges policymakers at every level of government to reject calls for mandatory coronavirus vaccination.
Fear of a disease - which we know very little about, relative to other similar diseases - must not lead to knee-jerk reactions regarding public health, nor can it justify supporting the hidden agenda of governmental as well as non-governmental bodies that have apparent conflicts of interest in plans to restrict personal freedoms.
The so-called "public health experts" have gotten it wrong many times during the current crisis. We should not, therefore, allow their opinions to rush decision-makers into policies regarding vaccination.
And, while some people, like Bill Gates, may have a lot of money, his opinion and that of his NGO (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) - namely, that life will not return to normal till people are widely vaccinated - should not be permitted to influence policy decisions on a coronavirus vaccination program.
Finally, we must also not allow the rush by pharmaceutical companies to produce a new coronavirus vaccine to, itself, become an imperative for vaccination.
Unwitting citizens must not be used as guinea pigs for New World Order ideologues, or Big Pharma, in pursuit of a vaccine (and, profits) which may not even protect against future mutated strains of the coronavirus.
And it goes without saying that the production of vaccines using aborted babies for cell replication is a total non-starter, as the technique is gravely immoral.
However, if after sufficient study of the issue, a person who has reached the age of majority wishes to be vaccinated with a morally produced vaccine, along with his children, that is his business.
But we cannot and will not permit the government to make that decision for us.
Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this petition, urging policymakers at all levels of government to reject mandatory coronavirus vaccination.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Bill Gates: Life won’t go back to ‘normal’ until population 'widely vaccinated' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bill-gates-life-wont-go-back-to-normal-until-population-widely-vaccinated
COVID-19 scare leads to more digital surveillance, talk of mandatory vaccine 'tattoos' for kids' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/covid-19-scare-leads-to-more-digital-surveillance-talk-of-mandatory-vaccine-tattoos-for-kids
Trudeau says no return to ‘normal’ without vaccine: 'Could take 12 to 18 months' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trudeau-says-no-return-to-normal-without-vaccine-could-take-12-to-18-months
Trudeau mulls making coronavirus vaccine mandatory for Canadians - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trudeau-mulls-making-coronavirus-vaccine-mandatory-for-canadians
US bishop vows to ‘refuse’ COVID-19 vaccine if made from ‘aborted fetal tissue' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/us-bishop-vows-to-refuse-covid-19-vaccine-if-made-from-aborted-fetal-tissue
** While LifeSite opposes immorally-produced vaccines using aborted fetal cell lines, we do not have a position on any particular coronavirus vaccines produced without such moral problems. We realize many have general concerns about vaccines, but also recognize that millions of lives have been saved due to vaccines.
*** Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
In March 2020, as part of their lockdown measures, D.C. restricted the capacity for religious services of 10 or more people. Later, this was changed to 100 people or 50% of the building capacity.
The lawsuit was finalized this Thursday, with the city agreeing to pay $220,000 to the lawyers representing the church. This meant that the law firm WilmerHale will receive $210,000 while the national legal non-profit First Liberty Institute will be given the remaining $10,000. The district also must allow Capitol Hill Baptist Church to hold indoor religious services.
“The District agrees that it will not enforce any current or future COVID-19 restrictions to prohibit CHBC from gathering as one congregation in the District of Columbia,” the settlement stated.
“The District further agrees that, should it decide that new restrictions on religious gatherings are necessary during the current, or any future, COVID-19 (or variant thereof) public health emergency, it will not impose restrictions on CHBC that are more restrictive than the restrictions on comparable secular activities, as defined by the Supreme Court.”
Executive general counsel for First Liberty Institute Hiram Sasser said in a statement that Capitol Hill Baptist Church “is relieved and grateful that this ordeal is behind them.”
“All Capitol Hill Baptist Church ever asked is for equal treatment under the law so they could meet together safely as a church,” Sasser continued. “Government officials need to know that illegal restrictions on First Amendment rights are intolerable and costly.”