Federal Judge Blocks NY’s 25% Capacity Rule for Churches, Condemns State for Being Discriminatory

On Friday a federal judge condemned New York State for singling out churches and applying unfair, unequal restrictions on them while imposing much more lenient restrictions on other gatherings. As a result, the judge blocked the state from limiting indoor church gatherings to 25% while allowing other gatherings to be at 50% capacity.

Judge Gary Sharpe made some comments against Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, writing that the plaintiffs’ religious activities “will be burdened and continue to be treated less favorably than comparable secular activities.”

The suit which was filed due to an insistence on being able to have more congregants in church and greater members attending was brought not by Southern Baptists, who as far as we know haven’t led any lawsuits or challenged the courts in any way to stay open and to fight for their religious freedoms, but rather these court challenges have been led by Roman Catholics, Jewish synagogues, and Oneness Pentecostals who argue their first amendments rights to practice their religion have been being violated.

In another portion of the ruling, Judge Sharpe notes that both Cuomo and de Blasio have acted hypocritically by expressing approval for protests against racism and police brutality while at the same time continuing to support restrictions on religious gatherings.

“Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio could have just as easily discouraged protests, short of condemning their message, in the name of public health and exercised discretion to suspend enforcement for public safety reasons instead of encouraging what they knew was a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules,”

A spokesperson for the State has not promised to drop the suit and stop fighting against the churches, saying: “We will review this new ruling and work with the state on next steps.”



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