Delaware emergency ordinances should not include places of worship

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Citing the rich history of unbroken religion during previous large-scale illnesses in this country, lawyers for two pastors on Wednesday announced the filing of separate lawsuits asking Delaware courts to prevent the state from imposing future restrictions on the country. religious worship.

Thomas S. Neuberger, an attorney involved in one of the lawsuits, said the authors of the Delaware Constitution were aware of the bubonic plague, malaria and other epidemics that threatened mankind. Yet, they believed so strongly that people should be allowed to worship without restrictions in Delaware that the state constitution is more explicit about this.

“We call on the Delaware Court of Chancellery – Delaware’s world-renowned business court, England’s former court of equity – to enjoin the government. [John] Carney and all future governors and order them not to touch the church in the event of a future emergency, “Neuberger said.” Regardless of health or any other excuse they wish to offer. “

The lawsuits seek an injunction against future emergency orders that place restrictions on places of worship such as those imposed by Carney last year as the pandemic spread across the state and nation.

Carney’s office said it would not comment on the lawsuits.

Reverend Alan Hines, of Townsend Free Will Baptist Church in Townsend, and Reverend David Landow, of Emmanuel Presbyterian Orthodox Church in Wilmington, say Carney’s emergency ordinances at the start of the pandemic deprived pastors of their “Absolute religious freedoms”.

Through their lawsuits, they ask Carney and future Delaware governors not to touch the church in the event of a future emergency, no matter what pretext they may offer.

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Thomas C. Crumpler, another lawyer involved in the cases, said his church was indicted when she allowed him to enter the building at the start of the emergency orders.

“Still, I could go to the liquor store on Sunday and buy whatever I wanted,” Crumplar said. “I could drink, but I couldn’t pray. This is absolutely absurd.”

He added that the government in this country has absolutely no right to interfere with the functioning of the church.

“Our final words are to Governor, Governor Carney and all future Governors, read the Constitution and therefore keep your hands out of the church,” Crumplar said.

While Carney has declared essential churches in his emergency ordinances, he has imposed restrictions beyond what he required other essential businesses to follow, according to the lawsuits. This included:

  • Ban on Sunday religious services in person.
  • Prevent preaching inside.
  • No singing.
  • Ban the elderly from the church.
  • Ban on baptism.
  • Prohibition of the Lord’s Supper.
  • Favor one religion over another.

About two months after Carney’s restrictions began last year, Reverend Christopher Bullock, a pastor from the New Castle area, filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to fully reopen houses of worship in Delaware.

Background: Pastor files legal action against Governor Carney in attempt to fully open places of worship

The lawsuit was settled in November 2020. This agreement classified places of worship as essential in any future emergency ordinances and would not distinguish these places if new restrictions were implemented as cases of COVID-19 increased in Delaware and across the country.

In return for Bullock’s abandonment of the lawsuit, Carney agreed that in the event of a future emergency requiring state action, the governor “must treat churches and religious worship in a neutral manner.”

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Read the complaint filed by the Revs. Alan Hines and David Landow:

Contact Esteban Parra at (302) 324-2299, [email protected] or Twitter @ eparra3.

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