Two Colorado Churches Win Lawsuit Over Strict COVID Regulations

A federal judge ruled in favor of two Colorado churches that sued over the state's coronavirus regulations. Denver Bible Church in Wheat Ridge and Community Baptist Church in Brighton filed a lawsuit against limits on the number of people allowed to attend worship services and a mandate that required everybody in attendance to wear a mask.

Judge Daniel D. Domenico ruled that the regulations were unconstitutional because they "treat houses of worship different from comparable secular institutions." He explained that while the regulations were made in good faith to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, "the Constitution does not allow the State to tell a congregation how large it can be when comparable secular gatherings are not so limited, or to tell a congregation that its reason for wishing to remove facial coverings is less important than a restaurant's or spa's."

The church leaders were happy with the ruling.

"We have a right, even an obligation to worship him [God], and that's without government interference," Pastor Robert A. Enyart of Denver Bible Church told CNN.

"The government has put artificial limits on how many people could attend. And those limits make it pretty much impossible for families to know if they could come to church," he added. "It is too arbitrary, and we are so thankful this federal judge rules gave us (this) preliminary injunction to strike down the one arbitrary limit and the mask requirement."

Colorado officials have filed for an emergency injunction to keep the restrictions in place while they appeal Domenico's decision.

Not all religious leaders agree with the lawsuit. Rev. Ronald Patrick Raab, the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs, told KUSA that he does not believe "the state of Colorado is trying to stifle us" with the regulations. He said that his church holds eight masses every weekend, limiting the number of attendees at each service to 50 people.

Rabbi Rachel Kobrin of Denver's Congregation Rodef Shalom told the news station that the regulations were put in place to protect people.

"Judaism teaches that pikuach nefesh — saving a life — is the highest principle. To exceed safe numbers and to not require masks is a flagrant violation of this principle," said Kobrin.

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