Southfield, MI - May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, May 6, Michigan pastors and churches filed a legal action seeking to restore constitutional governance and the Rule of Law. (NOTE: An update was issued late May 7th and is included at the bottom of this article.)
Specifically, the lawsuit asks a court to declare that Governor Whitmer's emergency orders (EOs), which are arbitrary and capricious, violate, amongst other things, the constitutional rights of pastors and churches to exercise freedom to assemble and freedom of worship and religious belief. Governor Whitmer's EO's, acts, policies, and regulations fail to provide the least restrictive means of furthering any State interest and are not narrowly tailored.
The following is attributed to Bishop Keith Butler, Pastor, Word of Faith International Christian Center:
During this awful pandemic, Governor Whitmer ought to remember that the people of the State of Michigan are citizens of a Republic, not subjects of a Monarchy. In 1887 Lord Acton observed that "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Unfortunately, Governor Whitmer's exercise of absolute power in response to our terrible ordeal, proves the rule rather than the exception.
Executive edicts by the Governor exponentially restrict personal autonomy and interfere with constitutionally protected liberty. The only thing more contagious than the virus is abuse of power. Government actions must not violate constitutional provisions protecting individual rights and liberty. One of Governor Whitmer's most egregious constitutional violations is its restriction on the free exercise of religious conscience. Dismissively, the State claims current health and safety concerns justify its infringement of this cherished constitutional liberty.
Rather than identifying what is safe and what is not during the pandemic, however, Governor Whitmer has deemed for us, in her view, what is essential. Thus, Governor Whitmer considers abortion clinics, marijuana distribution sites and liquor stores essential, while churches and synagogues are not. She says listen to science, yet, science tells us that the unborn child in a mother's womb is a human being, that marijuana adversely affects your brain cells, and that alcohol impairs your judgment. Yet, due to political considerations, that science is ignored.
Churches and synagogues provide an essential service to many. Ironically, perhaps at a time when we need God the most, the State considers the Church's work non-essential. The State's decree expressly prohibits "all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household." Thus, the executive edict expressly makes it a crime for anyone to meet at a church to worship. Under the disingenuous pretense of protecting an individual's religious liberty, the edict offers a fictitious religious exemption that, by its express terms, does not apply to any religious person.
The State's shutdown of churches is dangerous and unconstitutional. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is essential. Ben Franklin said "If you give up essential liberty for temporary safety you deserve neither."
The First Amendment freedoms concerning religion, speech, and assembly are guaranties that are not to be arbitrarily and capriciously discarded by government overreach.
Word of Faith International Christian Center: Governor Whitmer Recognizes Churches First Amendment Rights In Her New Executive Order
SOUTHFIELD, Mich., May 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- One day after we, along with other pastors, filed a Complaint against Governor Whitmer, Executive Order 2020-77 was executed by her office. We appreciate Governor Whitmer recognizing the First Amendment Rights of all Michigan citizens and that such citizens are free to go to church as they deem fit. Word of Faith appreciates Governor Whitmer acknowledging that churches are essential and can operate safely within recommended CDC guidelines and are thus free to open.