DOJ takes side of church in 1st Amendment suit

The Department of Justice (DOJ) took the rare step April 14 of weighing in on the side of Temple Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, where local officials tried to stop Holy Week services broadcast to congregants sitting in their cars in the parking lot.

Greenville city leaders argue the services violate stay-at-home orders. Church officials believe they have been singled out for their religion. The church is pursuing a lawsuit saying their First Amendment religious freedoms were violated.

The DOJ sided with the church arguing the city appeared to be targeting religious conduct by singling churches out as the only essential service (as designated by the state) that may not operate despite following all CDC and state recommendations regarding social distancing. (AP)