On Friday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) announced that those in the state who were to attend mass gatherings, including church services over the Easter break, would have to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Beshear’s threat stated: “Any individual that’s going to participate in a mass gathering of any type that we know about this weekend—we’re going to record license plates and provide it to local health departments … Local health departments are going to come to your door with an order for you to be quarantined for 14 days.”
He asked Kentuckians of all faiths to remain at home and consider online services.
“I guess I hear that there are some individuals that say that ‘this is my choice about whether I go to something and get the coronavirus,’ but it’s not the next person’s choice that you might spread it to,” Beshear said. “This is the only way that we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill somebody else, that your decision doesn’t spread the coronavirus in your county and in your community.”
In addition to the governor’s decree, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer also tried to block the On Fire Christian Center from holding an easter drive-in mass on Sunday, April 12.
On Saturday, however, “U.S. District Court Judge Justin Walker granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing Louisville Kentucky Mayor, Greg Fischer from blocking On Fire Church from holding drive-in services on Easter,” The First Liberty Institute, a religious rights advocacy group who filed the case announced on its website.
Judge Walker devoted 20 pages to his opinion memo [pdf], which read in part: “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,'” the judge wrote, calling Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer’s attempt to ban the drive-in services “beyond all reason” and “unconstitutional.”
Mayor Fischer wrote in response to judge Walker’s biting criticism: “There was never a Louisville Metro Government ban on drive-in church services, as we would have explained in court if we had been allowed. I urged, and will continue to urge, against these kind of services, because I want to protect my city and its residents from spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Fischer wrote, according to WHAS11.
Fischer further argued that science indicated that the virus wants to infect as many people as possible. He also stated that the more disciplined citizens are in their behavior, the earlier the problem will be resolved.
The Kentucky governor also noted that an outbreak in Hopkins County that sickened dozens and led to multiple deaths was traced to a church revival there in mid-March.
The Epoch Times reporter Mimi Nguyen Li contributed to this report