In the more than fifty years that the Christian Law Association has been defending churches, our attorneys have never seen a crisis of religious freedom like the one that the Coronavirus has created in 2020. For the first time in modern American history, the government has outright told churches that they are “not essential”, and ordered them to cease assembling.
Let us be clear – churches are essential. The importance of faith and spiritual wellbeing are more important now than ever before, and every church has a vital part to play in aiding their local communities in any way that they can.
Could the government ever have the legal power to order a church to temporarily close? The answer to that is likely yes, but it would require an extreme wartime scenario where everything is closed with no exceptions. The current situation is not that. If alcohol stores and cannabis stores can remain open, then under the Constitution of the United States, the church can certainly remain open as well.
Make no mistake – the Christian Law Association is not advocating that every church immediately reopen. But we believe that under the law of this land that decision should be yours to make, not the governments’.
As you wrestle with the admittedly difficult decision of when the time is right for your congregation to re-gather, the Christian Law Association has put together the following suggestions to aid you in your decision making.
These guidelines are not meant to address the reopening of Christian schools, daycares, or the holding of Vacation Bible Schools. We are not recommending reopening these ministries at this time.
Due to the varying nature of state and local procedures, these suggested guidelines are being constantly adjusted. Your situation may be specific to your location.
COVID-19 is a deadly disease that has to be handled with extreme care, diligence, and planning.