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Lockdown: Churches Sue Gov. Whitmer Over First Amendment Violations

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has faced criticism from in-person protests, from the Republican-controlled legislature, and from the President of the United States, but she has steadfastly refused to modify or weaken her strict lockdown orders. Now, calling her coronavirus mandates a violation of the First Amendment, three Michigan church leaders are filing suit against the Democratic governor.

From Detroit News:

Three Michigan church leaders, including the state House speaker’s father, filed suit Wednesday against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay home order in federal court, arguing it violated their First Amendment rights to free exercise and to assemble.

Stanley “Rusty” Chatfield III, pastor for Northern Michigan Baptist Bible Church in Burt Lake, filed suit in Grand Rapids federal court the same day his son, House Speaker Lee Chatfield, filed suit in state court to challenge the governor’s emergency powers.

Joining Rusty Chatfield in the suit are Southfield-based Word of Faith Christian Center Church Bishop Keith Butler, Sturgis-based Whole Life Church Pastor Chuck Vizthum, and Tim Schmig, executive director at Michigan Association of Christian Schools. Butler is a former Detroit City Council member who unsuccessfully sought the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in 2006.

The churches are being represented by the conservative Great Lakes Justice Center.

In a statement, the plaintiff’s lawyer, David Kallman, said that it was unfair and unconstitutional to allow certain businesses to open and thrive while penalizing those who wish to exercise their right to worship.

“Churches are essential to the health and well-being of everyone,” Kallman said. “If Walmart and Home Depot can open and sell goods to customers while following CDC guidelines, surely churches can do the same.”

Technically, churches themselves are exempt from penalties resulting from violating the pandemic orders. However, in giving churches that exemption, Whitmer pointedly did not extend that grace to individuals who might attend services. According to the lawsuit, the exemption “merely adorns the Constitution with a fig leaf and does not protect individuals or change the clear language of the order prohibiting any religious services.”

If the lawsuit is successful, an injunction could invalidate all or most of Whitmer’s lockdown orders.

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Written by Andrew

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  1. The White House has so many resources, tests, superior health care professionals and they cannot control the spread of the virus, then how can businesses, schools, churches and states control it.

    In 1919 the second virus wave was far more deadlier than the first wave. Until we have a vaccine we have to be extremely careful on how we open the country. Dr Fauci who is the expert and informing Trump, warned the Senate that reopening U.S. too quickly could lead to “NEEDLESS SUFFERING AND DEATH”.

    I hope and pray that COVID19 disappears as fast as possible so we all can get on with our lives. As for my self and family we will NOT take chances regardless of what elected officials or protesters recommend until we have been vaccinated.

  2. Why isn’t this TREASONISTIC TRAITOR removed from Office in HANDCUFFS – PERMANENTLY for VIOLATING the U.S. Constitution which she has SWORN to uphold? One Wary Patriot. Team Trump and his allies 2020.

  3. If she persists, I would think her time as governor will shortly come to an end. There is always a fine line on arguments on the rule of law which she seems to cross over all the time. Common sense is a valued commodity, something lacking on her part.

  4. This is the biggest farce in our history. Democrats are trying to keep blue states closed to kill the economy and make Trump look bad. Nobody needs a cloth mask, they do absolutely nothing to protect a person. A virus is ten times smaller than most bacteria and flows right through a homemade mask. 90,000 people died during the past two flu seasons and we weren’t locked down, forced to wear stupid, useless masks, or made paranoid by the press and democrats. I hope we learn from this debacle, because if we do this madness next year, our country will not recover!!!!!

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