Win for Religious Freedom in US Supreme Court

Jess Drummond |
Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Legal experts say a US Supreme Court ruling last week has signalled a huge win for religious freedom.

CBN News reports, in a 5-4 ruling, Justices told New York Governor Andrew Cuomo he can’t discriminate against religious groups when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions.

Recently-appointed justice Amy Coney Barrett gave the majority with the fifth vote.

The ruling acknowledged that the expertise of public health experts should be respected but said the restrictions at issue, which effectively barred many from attending religious services, “strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty”.

The Court pointed out that while religious gatherings in so-called “red zones” are limited to 10 or fewer worshippers, businesses categorised as “essential” may admit as many people as they wish.

The ruling stated that if enforced, the challenged restrictions on places of worship would cause “irreparable harm”.

Becket Senior Counsel Luke Goodrich says governments are now on notice that they won’t get a free pass when they treat places of worship worse than secular businesses.

Under the restrictions, churches and synagogues would have had less freedom than businesses such as pet stores and bottle shops.


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