During the course of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the major fights that erupted between Americans and various state governments was the fight to keep churches open for worship. Many churches across the country were seemingly unfairly targeted compared to other businesses that were deemed “essential.”
According to the Daily Caller, another church scored a massive victory for religious freedom this week as the U.S. Supreme Court shot down a federal court’s rejection of High Plains Harvest Church’s attempt to contest Colorado’s harsh restrictions on in-person worship.
As the Star Tribune reported, SCOTUS issued an unsigned ruling that instructed lower federal courts to allow churches, including High Plains Harvest Church, to make their case in challenging the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, which came in the wake of the High Court ruling in favor of several New York churches facing the same issue.
Three of the Supreme Court’s liberal justices, including Justice Elena Kagan, dissented in the ruling, arguing that the state of Colorado has already lifted limits on church capacity.
Reportedly, the state of Colorado made the High Court aware that it amended an order “to remove capacity limits from all houses of worship at all times in response to this Court’s recent decisions.”
The ruling comes on the heels of several other cases making their way through the courts, including a lawsuit filed by Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory on Friday against Mayor Muriel Bowser. Gregory claimed that Bowser has unfairly targeted churches — just before Christmas — with “arbitrary” restrictions, using COVID-19 as the reasoning.
“Under both the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the District’s arbitrary, unscientific, and discriminatory treatment of religious worship is illegal,” Gregory wrote in his lawsuit.
Thankfully, it’s clear at this point that the Supreme Court is heavily in favor of ruling on the side of the U.S. Constitution, which grants American citizens the religious freedom to practice worship as they see fit, pandemic or not.