WDRB reports a federal judge has granted a temporary restraining order filed by a Louisville church against Mayor Greg Fischer to allow drive-in service on Easter Sunday.
U.S. District Judge Justin Walker of Louisville blasted the mayor’s decision to prohibit drive-in church services as “beyond all reason” and akin to what one might find only in a dystopian novel. Fischer, however, said that in a global pandemic, he is simply trying to save lives.
On Fire Christian Church on Friday filed a lawsuit asking for the order. The church is “seeking to block (Fischer’s) prohibition on churches holding drive-in services during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the First Liberty Institute, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the church.
Representatives from the church said that for weeks they have been hosting in the church parking lot drive-in services that adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. “Gathering on Easter is critical” for its congregation, the church argued in the lawsuit.
Fischer, when announcing the ban, said he couldn’t allow “hundreds of thousands” of people to drive around town this weekend in observance of Easter festivities when they need to be home riding out the pandemic.
However, on Saturday, Walker issued the restraining order, which prevents the city from “enforcing; attempting to enforce; threatening to enforce; or otherwise requiring compliance with any prohibition on drive-in church services at On Fire,” according to court documents.
Walker called Fischer’s decision “stunning,” and “beyond all reason, unconstitutional,” according to court documents. “On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter. That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of ‘The Onion,'” he wrote.