In today’s News:
Charges are dropped against a pastor
The Commonwealth of Virginia has dropped the criminal charges against Pastor Kevin Wilson of Lighthouse Fellowship Church on Chincoteague Island. As a result of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s covid order 55, police served a summons to Wilson for holding a church service on Palm Sunday for 16 people spaced far apart in a sanctuary that is rated for 293 people. The penalty included up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The General District Court for Accomack County has now dropped the charges. Liberty Counsel represents Lighthouse Fellowship Church, which has filed its opening brief to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in the federal lawsuit against Northam for violating its religious freedom. Under the orders, the church can hold meetings with an unlimited number of people to feed, shelter, and provide social services, but religious services are restricted to no more than 10 people. The 10-person restriction is still in effect. Even though the criminal charges were dropped, the civil case will continue.
Judge blocks ‘heartbeat law’
A federal judge has blocked Georgia’s 2019 law banning most abortions on babies with detectable heartbeats, ruling that it violates the u.s. Constitution. Signed into law in may 2019, the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act would forbid abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, except in cases of rape, incest, physical medical emergencies, and pregnancies deemed “medically futile.” If allowed to take effect, it would have banned abortions in all other cases as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – when a baby’s heartbeat can be detected. Last year abortion advocates with the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood challenged the law’s constitutionality and U.S. District Judge Steve Jones placed an injunction on the law before it ever took effect. Yesterday, Jones blocked the law altogether. Gov. Brian Kemp has said the state will appeal the ruling.
California closes churches, exempts abortion facilities again
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is once again putting California on a lockdown. Because of increased cases of the coronavirus, Newsom is closing down most businesses and forcing churches to close, canceling worship services, but abortion businesses are exempted. Newsom just shut down indoor church services again in more than 30 counties and the announcement was made during his noon press briefing Monday discussing efforts to combat the spread of covid-19. The order comes after Newsom further discriminated against churches by banning singing and chanting in houses of worship and limiting in-person services to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, yet for weeks he allowed thousands of people to protest in mass gatherings. Newsom hinted that some of the new restrictions might stay in place until a vaccine is developed.