Another US city has reversed its unconstitutional ban on drive-in church services.
In response to the city of Chattanooga ceasing the ban, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing an area church voluntarily dismissed a federal lawsuit that challenged the ban.
Initially the city’s stay-at-home order did not ban drive-in churches, but subsequently Mayor Andrew Berke announced right before Easter that his order specifically prohibited them.
On April 9, Berke posted a message aimed at churches stating that “drive-in services…even in their cars with the windows rolled up, for any length of time, will be considered a violation of our shelter-in-place directive.”
A number of churches in the area were forced to cancel drive-in Easter services.
“Singling out churches for special punishment makes no sense and is very clearly unconstitutional,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries.
“It never made any sense that, in Chattanooga, you could sit in your car at a drive-in restaurant, but you couldn’t sit in your car at a drive-in church service.
“We commend the city for changing its policies and respecting the constitutionally protected freedoms of area congregations, which can now participate in alternate versions of worship during this pandemic that are specifically designed to comply with all applicable health and safety recommendations.”
Now that Pastor Steve Ball and Metro Tab Church have been permitted to host drive-in services, the church has been able to not only safely hold worship services but receive donations for victims of a tornado that affected the city.’
On Monday April 27, US Attorney General William Barr issued a memo that instructed federal prosecutors to identify coronavirus-related measures “that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”
“If a state or local ordinance crosses the line from an appropriate exercise of authority to stop the spread of COVID-19 into an overbearing infringement of constitutional and statutory protections, the Department of Justice may have an obligation to address that overreach in federal court,” the memo read.
Wesley J. Smith has criticised a Dutch Supreme Court decision that allows doctors to perform euthanasia on people with advanced dementia.
The decision extended euthanasia to patients who have previously put their desires in writing but are no longer able to confirm them because of their illness.
“The ruling is a landmark in Dutch euthanasia legislation which up to now had required patients to confirm euthanasia requests”, said Smith.
“This had not been considered possible for mentally incapacitated patients like advanced dementia sufferers.”
Smith noted that a media story failed to mention that the woman at the centre of the case fought against being killed.
“Nor does the story mention that the doctor had drugged the woman before starting to euthanize her, and that the doctor instructed the family to hold the struggling woman down so that she could administer the lethal injection.
“Moreover, the patient had also stated in her instructions that she wanted to decide ‘when’ the time for death had come — which she never did. The termination ‘choice’ was made by the doctor and/or family in violation of the patient’s advance directive.”
Many countries with euthanasia are freezing end-of-life requests and are instead prioritizing palliative care – a response that exposes what true care is about, according to a Dutch ethicist.
In the Netherlands, the sole dedicated clinic for euthanasia and assisted suicide has closed since March, and has admitted in a statement, “euthanasia care cannot be identified as a top priority in healthcare”.
Two euthanasia and assisted suicide clinics in Ontario have stopped providing medical assistance in dying (MAID) because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Globe and Mail.
The lack of priority given to suicidal ‘medicine’ during this worldwide health crisis has led ethicist Professor Theo Boer to conclude that the supposed need for such poisons is abstract rather than practical.
Boer believes that the suicide clinics’ stock in trade, “the existential angst about death that seems to make euthanasia a necessary human right – has disappeared in this time of crisis. Death, in this time of war against a disease, no longer appears a comforting friend or a useful medical treatment.”
“The reality is that most people die peaceful deaths,” Boer said. “But many fear loss of control and find the prospect of others caring for them terrifying.”
“Perhaps, though, we can remember this time when we made huge sacrifices to preserve every life, no matter how frail and vulnerable. We can remember this time when euthanasia no longer seemed necessary.”
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has agreed to fix her COVID-19 mass gathering ban that unconstitutionally targets churches.
In the interim, the Governor has subjected herself to a 14-day extension of the court-imposed temporary restraining order issued against her.
The move comes as part of an agreed motion filed in case of First Baptist Church v. Kelly.
“Singling out churches for special punishment while allowing others to have greater freedom is both illogical and unconstitutional,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker.
“That’s why Gov. Kelly has agreed to an extension of the temporary restraining order against her in our case, filed on behalf of two rural churches.
“It is beyond shameful that the governor is claiming that her administration has resolved this legal challenge and that ‘under the agreement, the two churches agree to comply with safety protocols put in place by the court.’
“As noted in the court’s order against her, the churches themselves created and proposed those safety protocols long ago—protocols that the governor refused to consider acceptable until the court compelled her to abide by them.
“The governor claims that she and her administration are ‘confident that we have the law on our side,’ but if this were true, the governor would not be consenting to an agreed motion that states that she ‘intends to issue a new executive order with less restrictive mass gathering provisions that will start May 4’ and abide by the court’s order against her for an additional 14 days, until May 16.
Tucker said that the ADF reserved the right to continue litigating the issue if Governor Kelly does not follow through with appropriately amending the mass gathering ban.
US Attorney-General William Barr has also warned state governments against targeting churches.
A religious freedom bill introduced by NSW MP Mark Latham is “long overdue and will help to safeguard freedom and faith,” according to Christian advocacy group FamilyVoice Australia.
“FamilyVoice Australia urges all NSW political parties to allow debate and a conscience vote on Mark Latham’s freedom bill that is long overdue and will help to safeguard freedom and faith,” said FamilyVoice spokesman Greg Bondar.
“The bill is based on the recommendations of the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review that is yet to see any legislative outcome,” he said.
Mark Latham’s bill is designed to amend anti-discrimination legislation to protect the expression of religious belief or activity. Currently, anti-discrimination protections in NSW beyond relate to citizenship, gender, sexuality, race, disability, etc but not religious faith. The bill is currently under review in the NSW Parliament.
The Latham bill is critical for all NSW Australians in the wake of the recent decision in which the anti-discrimination board rejected a complaint filed by serial litigant Gary Burns.
“We support Latham’s move to require the President of the Anti-Discrimination Board to reject claims that are frivolous, vexatious, misconceived or unsubstantial,” Greg Bondar said.
“But we also want a rejection of cases that are clearly money-grabbing.”
In a recent rejection of the action against Israel Folau by Gary Burns, the Anti-Discrimination Board rightly threw out the case as vexatious since it was founded on a collateral purpose, as a means to pressure the respondent to settle.
“Since money-grabbing cases should not be considered by the Anti-Discrimination Board, its President must be required by black letter law to refuse such cases,” Greg Bondar said.
“While FamilyVoice Australia does not approve of the use of anti-discrimination remedies to alleged instances of injustice, and although it does not support the use of quasi-judicial tribunals, any reform of their process is welcomed.
“Anti-discrimination legislation is a fundamentally flawed approach to handling the healthy tensions that arise in society as people engage in dialogue.
“However, while such tribunals and processes persist, their reform, as far as can possibly be achieved, is needed.
The Christian and conservative communities of NSW have been the victims of the current process which has been used as a political weapon by progressive left-wing dominated ideological opponents to natural law."
“The people of NSW welcome Mark Latham’s amendments which will ensure that only complaints of genuine discrimination are heard by the Board” added Greg Bondar
FamilyVoice confirms its support and will urge the NSW government and the Opposition parties to support Latham’s bill ensuring that the Anti-Discrimination Act is a true and fair reflection of the remedies available against discrimination rather than a platform for political anti-Christian activists.
Further Details: Greg Bondar NSW State Director – 0411 854 115
FamilyVoice Australia upholds Christian values and the family: permanence of marriage, sanctity of human life, primacy of parenthood and limited government.
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