In today’s News:
Lutheran Church Charities responds to storm
Tropical Storm Cristobal moved up through the plains and into the Great Lakes region of northern Illinois and Indiana earlier this week. Multiple storms went through the region with a possible tornado, outbursts of 60-80 mph wind shear and strong thunderstorms. There have been many reports of downed trees, power lines, roof, and home damage in many communities. Lutheran Church Charities Director of Disaster Response Kathy O’day has and will continue to reach out to L.E.R.T. volunteers and churches and will begin assessments of damage to provide assistance to those affected while maintaining coronavirus safety precautions.
Undercover journalist moves to dismiss charge
Sandra Merritt filed a reply yesterday in support of the motion asking the San Francisco Superior Court To dismiss the charge regarding “false identification documents” brought against her by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for her undercover journalism work in exposing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in baby body parts. Judge Christopher Hite dismissed six of the original 15 felony charges, as he made factual findings that the recorded conversations were not confidential. Given those factual findings, Becerra cannot bring those dismissed charges again. But Becerra then filed an “information” on Dec. 13, 2019, adding an additional count to Merritt’s charges, even though the statute of limitations had expired for any new claims. Liberty Counsel represents Merritt and has shown that, to date, no other citizen journalist or journalism organization has ever been charged with a crime for undercover recordings made in the public interest. In fact, Merritt and her co-defendant, David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, are the first undercover journalists to be criminally prosecuted in California’s history.
Casinos, yes; churches, no
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys representing a Lyon County, Nevada, church filed a supplemental brief Thursday in their federal lawsuit against Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and other state officials for allowing casinos and restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity while continuing to restrict churches to gatherings of 50 or fewer people as part of the state’s reopening plans during the coronavirus pandemic. The church, Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, is requesting court orders that would immediately halt enforcement of the church gathering ban while the lawsuit moves forward. ADF’s brief includes video footage of a recently reopened, crowded casino floor where the majority of patrons pictured are not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. Among the exceptions to Sisolak’s gathering restrictions, restaurants can resume on-site dining at 50 percent capacity and gyms and fitness centers can open at 50 percent capacity. But the governor has refused to allow churches and other places of worship to open their doors to 50 or more people under any circumstance. Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley wishes to resume in-person worship services that would amount to less than 50 percent of its building’s capacity and has developed comprehensive social distancing and health and safety protocols to govern those services. Despite these health and safety measures, however, the governor’s church gathering ban threatens the church with criminal and civil penalties.