- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2020

A federal district court in Kentucky granted a temporary restraining order on Saturday against a ban on drive-in church services ahead of Easter Sunday.

Judge Justin Walker, a Trump-appointee, sided with the On Fire Christian Center, which had sought to hold drive-in church services.

But Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had warned the authorities would take down license plate numbers and force people to quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kentucky is a state with a stay at home order.

Judge Walker said the mayor was violating the Free Exercise Clause, and granted the emergency order given that Easter was less than 24-hours away — but he is still holding a telephone hearing on the matter on Tuesday.

“Louisville has targeted religious worship by prohibiting drive-in church services, while not prohibiting a multitude of other non-religious drive-ins and drive-throughs — including, for example, drive-through liquor stores,” his order wrote.

The ruling comes after a pastor in Mississippi also had a run-in with police after hosting a drive-in service earlier this week.

Though people stayed in their vehicles with the windows up, police told them to leave or else be criminally charged. Mississippi, like Kentucky, has a stay at home order in place.

Other states, though, like Texas and Florida have designated religious services as “essential” during the stay at home orders ahead of Easter Sunday.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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