KC-MO Mayor Drops Demand that Churches Register Congregants with Government

Democratic Mayor Quinton Lucas has waved the white flag and given up his demand that churches record the personal information of anyone attending service, though problems still abound.

The controversy erupted last week when the Kansas City, Missouri Mayor issued an order requiring churches to keep detailed records of every person who enters their building for services, including name, phone number, and address, so city officials could use it for surveillance and tracking purposes in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. Failure to comply with the demand could have resulted in fines, up to 6 months in jail, and the church in question being completely shut down.

This tyrannical and unjust law was part of the “10/10/10 rule” that Kansas City implemented, with violators being regarded as “an immediate menace to public health” and an “imminent threat.”

“The 10/10/10 rule specifies that in-person religious gatherings (including weddings and funerals) may resume, subject to the 10/10/10 rule (if held inside) or limited to 50 people outside, provided social distancing precautions are followed and event organizers maintain records of all attendees.”

Thankfully, as outrage grew as a result of this unconstitutional provision, Kansas City reversed the Fourth Amended Order and issued a Fifth Amended Order, which no longer requires churches to mandatorily record names and contact information, but rather make it a voluntary provision.

While a small victory, it does not resolve all complaints. Even though that specific mandatory requirement is over, the new order still imposes the rest of the conditions on churches, a burden that is not imposed on secual gatherings.

According to the Liberty Counsel, “In the Fourth Amended Order, churches and houses of worship were discriminated against in two ways. First, they are excluded from the “essential” category and thus subjected to unequal treatment from the beginning. Essential operations, including gatherings inside and outside, are exempt from the 10/10/10 rule as well as name and contact recording. Second, religious gatherings for churches and houses of worship conducted outside were limited to no more than 50 people. No other secular outside gathering has this limitation of the 10/10/10 rule, which also includes recording names and contact information of any person who attends.” 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver commented, “The requirement to record names and contact information of anyone who attends a religious gathering was a gross violation of the First Amendment. Due to the overwhelming public outcry, the Kansas City Mayor reversed course and removed this unconstitutional provision. That is the good news. The bad news which Kansas City must still remedy is the continued unconstitutional treatment of churches and houses of worship compared to other secular gatherings.”