said on April 5, three weeks after President Donald Trump crown novel have opted for a national emergency, Pastor Kevin Wilson to be to go ahead and Palm Sunday service at the Lighthouse Fellowship Church, it is located in a hold low on the island of Chincoteague, Virginia bricks. to transfer without Internet service online, Wilson felt he had his congregation for coming. To keep it minister to people who are struggling with drug addiction, mental health, poverty and prostitution a bin of garbage on the altar, where people can throw away the cigarettes and alcohol to deliver them to God. This morning, Wilson, the doors wiped and disinfected chairs and 16 participants who did not wear masks because they run in the small town still another says, sitting next to the church for the service at a distance is about 200 living room. But as he began, police appeared masks and gloves and allow Wilson served an act of criminal citation to collect more than 10 people – the limit under the crown of Virginia guidelines. Now he can to serving one year in prison and / or pay a fine of $2,500. “I was shocked that [the police] in all all came on masks,” says Wilson. “And it shocked people. They said:” What in the world is going on? “Wilson and the Church Lighthouse Fellowship at the center of a national debate was concluded on how the government of the citizens can keep quietly during a deadly pandemic without violating their fundamental rights, including freedom of assembly Since the more than 90,000 crown living in the United States, teams of lawyers, public officials and politicians across the country to try to free exercise of religion. to find the demarcation between the drastic measures state that it considers necessary to protect the health of Americans and tramples guaranteed the freedom law required. trial have across the country in defiance of stay-at-home orders origin, they have banned religious gatherings finally ordered weapons, and abortions of stop. now, as the country’s reopening, the federal government throws its weight into the ring, asked sure in individual cases and the Best governors opened REC UPERO worship once again, as “essential” services, part of a campaign critics say is to place rights over the state in line with the Administration Agenda Trump years some religious groups. Attorney General William Barr The last month has created a task force at the Ministry of Justice to identify regional and local authorities, which meet the constitutional human rights holds. In a note dated April 27 directed Barr Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric tri-band and US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schneider, of the Department of State and local lead relative to COVID-19 in reviewing the guidelines. “If a state or local regulation on the line by a proper exercise of authority checked the spread of COVID-19 in an arrogant violation of constitutional and legal protection, able to stop the Ministry of Justice, such an obligation must address defrauded the Federal Court “Barr wrote. So far, two of the three cases were the Justice Department formally taken a position on this new commitment required for the rights of churches. (The other has to do with the governor of the authorities to impose social and economic constraints at the crown.) Although the causes deposited beyond the confines of religious gatherings in several states, including Kansas, New Mexico, Florida and Mississippi, Wilsons case of the only two in the country in which the department has submitted a statement of interest to the court in this case, on the side of Wilson. “This case raises issues of national public importance in terms of interaction between the compelling interest of the government, Public Health and COVID-19 and public safety the fundamental right to free exercise of religion to protect” is the declaration of interest the Department of Justice. “There is no pandemic except for the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.” The DOJ effort is part of a constant attention within the administration Trump on religious freedom, a critical issue for a large part of the base of the president. In January, Trump has given leadership to the Federal Protective prayer in public schools and the federal judiciary with nearly 200 conservative judges who promised “pro-life”. During the pandemic, the leaders at the highest levels of government, has made it clear that the protection of religious freedom is a particular priority for the administration. The president has been accused of limiting the political rivals for freedom. “The churches are not treated with respect by Democratic governors,” Trump said May 21 the next day gave governors Trump federal leadership “essential” and ordered to open significant churches and other places of worship immediately. “The governors have the right thing and allow important essential places of faith are, right now open,” said Trump. “If they do not, I inform the suspended president.” (He and the White House press Kayleigh McEnany did not specify which authority should have the governors to put this part.) Attorney General Barr expressed similar concerns, “Whatever you have will be taken measures against religion are set against any similar commercial activities and others, “said conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on April 21,” you can not single out religion for special loads. ” Two days later, in another call with more than 500 religious leaders organized by the White House, Barr seemed “very concerned”, according to the call source of situations where religious gatherings are limited to a different level than other activities . “This is the heart of the First Amendment,” Barr said, according to the participant. Some are worried that the administration supported the churches with the virus usually still reopen. Trump has expressed a desire to open churches to express “as some countries experience their deadliest days and shows also as a person encounters evidence in churches of many outbreaks have led,” explains Maggie Siddiqi, director of the Initiative on Faith and progressive politics at the Center for American Progress. “The involvement of the Department of Justice in these cases is part redefine a long-term program to advance religious freedom as a right to certain religious groups allowed any regulation of exclusion government as they did, no matter who have trouble adapting.” Stay updated on the growing threat to global health, by signing up for our daily newsletter crown. the needle thread for the last month has a group of lawyers in the department for civil rights to three band were situations nationwide assessment that arise and decide whether to officially weigh, after a Ministry of Justice. Often they were about potential problems of lawyers in the United Learning States across the country, but in some cases, the team can be heard on state and local regulations from the media, or by individual citizens, the department says that contact with Officer concerns. If the lawyers in the Justice Department Faro felt the situation was pretty clear that you should take with the Department of Civil Rights Department formally a stand, according to an official. They were particularly impressed by the picture of a packed car park in Virginia Lowe’s and The Home Depot locations and large gatherings in which the Democratic governor of Virginia Ralph Northam big company had considered. “We did not think there was a rational basis, say with, drugs and sex addict who recovered 16 does not collect and social distance in a church that fits 200, but everyone wants these homes and offices and people who go Home depot to go there and have to worry about any of this, “says the official DOJ. So far, the Justice Department filed just another declaration of interest in a case COVID-19-related religion – on the side of the church in Mississippi whose participants were for a service for the collection of fines, while in their cars in parking session, the civil rights Department official says DOJ also less formal and public roads in other countries where the legislation is problematic, the department has acted. , The Department has expressed concern letters to mayors or governors on it, including a May 19 letter to the Governor of California Gavin Newsom sent warns that recent decrees religious activities seem to limit the activities of non-religious comparable more. do at other times, the lawyers of the Justice Department calls made and to discuss possible problems with state officials, hoping to solve them quiet, officials say DOJ. “I do not think the department’s commitment should be tried or focused, if you file an amicus brief or statement of interest because in many cases we tend offices and private offices Governor mayors hand and say, ‘Hey, you could want this to consider, ” the Department for civil rights, the official says. If the problem is solved: “We do not Spike football and say, ‘Hey, there’s been,'” the official added. Barr says is “very ambitious”, for the work of the department on these issues and that lawyers from three short bands and cooperation with Barr employees regularly. Legal experts say the fair action game Justice Department. “Different governments have different priorities and different administrations give much publicity about different things,” says Paul Horwitz, one of First Amendment scholar at the University of Alabama Law School. “But all of their monitoring these types of things and sometimes speak or act to ensure that civil liberties have been taken seriously.” The official at the Justice Department says Barr task force that works between the protection of civil liberties “thread the needle” and not afraid to take action to create an environment so controversial that the states and municipalities to protect the public or end up in court, and the department believes that was the case lighthouse on the right side of this delicate balance. The move was also cheered by the White House. Vice Chairman Mike Pence, who chairs the White House crown Task Force, told Fox News Radio, May 6 that Wilson’s criminal citation was “unacceptable” and said he supported the decision of the Justice Department to weigh in name Wilson. The Commonwealth of Virginia disagrees. Virginia has suffered more than 32,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 1,000 deaths. Accomack County, in the Lighthouse Fellowship Church, has the second highest number of cases per 100,000 population in Virginia, according to the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia. In a legal filing in the case lighthouse, said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, that the restriction in-person meetings had “saved his life imposed to the letter.” A judgment against the state “would seriously undermine efforts to Virginia once-in-a-century- to resist damage and irreparable pandemic to an unknown (and unknowable) persons who threaten, said” the presentation. ‘Again and again large gatherings – even in personal worship -. Fertile soil has provided this deadly virus to transmit “says Virginia that emergency temporary restrictions are” in good faith “measures based on evidence, and that the governor of religious organizations for unfair treatment no individual has done.” Should focus Donald Trump and Bill Barr to save lives and undermining starting a test, not joined forces with conservative activists to be an effective public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives in Virginia and across the country, “says Charlotte Gomer, spokesman herring. the harder in the future so as states begin the recovery process, experts say the decisions officials on how inevitable it may have been complicated with the new order of Trump continue potential full legal problems on fundamental constitutional issues to be all the houses of worship to reopen. “Governors is facing a very difficult situation. You can not close all; they must make distinctions. And it’s easy to be picky to draw distinctions, “said Douglas Laycock, a religious liberty expert at the University of Virginia School of Law.” As stated reopen gradually more and more things, will keep even harder to justify churches on the list closed. “So far, Virginia has firmly to his plan and proceed with its lawsuit against Wilson. (Greenville, Mississippi, the side of another case filed by the Justice Department a statement of interest IN- already dropped the ban on drive-in services sues church after church and DOJ entered.) a district judge has twice denied Lighthouse Fellowship Church application for an injunction and said the governor Northam is to increase the size limit meetings does not take a “substantial burden” on Lighthouse Fellowship Church free exercise of religion., district judge Arenda Wright Allen “Although this may not be as plaintiff wishes to practice p ropria religion under ideal conditions, these less than ideal conditions, “he wrote in his first denial of a preliminary injunction. The Lighthouse Fellowship Church lawyers have appealed the ruling to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond calling. “We need to protect the First Amendment equilibrium with the health and welfare of the people, but any number of 10 people per withdrawal church is not the answer,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, the organization, the Church in this case, he said in a statement. “This difference in treatment between the Churches is crazy.” “While the administration Northam applauds and encourages the Department of Justice for civil liberties in Virginia feet, we continue to believe that the governor’s action was wise, necessary and constitutional,” said Grant Neely, Communications Director for Northam. “We look forward to the fourth circuit that confirmation.” But in Chincoteague, a town of less than 3,000 marked by a plodding, 25 mile per hour speed limit, in which the entire island can feel at home for its residents which makes it more difficult to go to the church door its dangers, whether it comes in the form of materials or insulation. In an age where people are flooding hospitals and die in the tens of thousands, Wilson, pastor knows how the churches can be a different kind of lifeline. “We have a lot of people with anxiety loads and loads of fear, we have many widows in the church who are going nowhere for emotional support,” he says. “I feel like if we do not reach these people, then they go back into their lives to the areas that have come out di- that the Lord brought out.” “I do not want to be told what Sir, your home is not important,” says Wilson. With ongoing criminal proceedings, Wilson has more adjustments to make to the church routine. He cut back the number of personal services during the week, and now holds three services on Sundays, strictly limited to ten people “the magic number”, as he calls it. Among the services, the pastor ensures that the top ten may come before the next decade in their cars in the small parking lot. The agony left him feeling cautious, and Wilson has to be very careful now. He says: “We know that we are just watching.” Please send tips, leads and stories from the front to [email protected].