The DOJ has filed suit against the Texas law, but legal critics say its argument is ‘weak’ and the outcome could actually hinge on another major abortion case before the Supreme Court.
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The DOJ letter called on the mayor to treat places of worship equally with other venues where people share enclosed spaces, such as gyms, tattoo parlors, hair salons, massage studios, and daycares.
The July 28 guidance clarifies that faith-based groups offering secular services cannot be disqualified from federal assistance purely on their religious status.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has issued a memo instructing that restrictions that apply unfairly to religious institutions and believers remain unconstitutional during the pandemic.
In its brief, the DOJ argued that the church tailored its services to comply with public health guidelines, and that the city government acted unfairly in enforcing its restrictions on churches but not on other entities such as restaurants serving drive-in patrons.
Action by the Justice Department is anticipated this week to protect the rights of churches and other houses of worship from unconstitutional limitations of religious exercise during the pandemic.
Justice Department: First Amendment protects a Catholic school’s dismissal of a teacher for publicly violating Church teaching.
A Church official said the scope of the investigation does not seem to include conspiracy or other institutional charges.
The announcement drew praise from Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who said that religious freedom is vital to the common good of the United States.
Agreement states that plaintiffs would not be forced to provide health insurance coverage for ‘morally unacceptable’ products and procedures.