Orrington Church Files Federal Lawsuit Against Governor Mills
The leader of Calvary Chapel in Orrington says he's filed a federal lawsuit against the Governor, calling her executive order unconstitutional.
One of the directives in the executive order bans in-person worship, allowing for drive-in services, or services delivered virtually via online mediums. But Pastor Ken Graves says he disagrees. Church officials have made allowances for social distancing, within the church, and he feels places of worship should be considered essential services. According to a release sent to the media on Wednesday, Calvary Chapel is being represented by a religious litigation agency called the Liberty Counsel. According to the BDN, the church is requesting a temporary restraining order to prevent law enforcement from charging Ken Graves and/or members of the congregation with a crime for violating the governor's ban on gatherings of more than 10 people when they go to church on Sunday.
When asked about the lawsuit during Wednesday's Maine CDC press briefing, Governor Mills said she had heard about it, but hadn't read the lawsuit and didn't believe her office had been served any paperwork. Her administration has been working with many churches of different denominations, finding ways they can still reach their members, without congregating in one place. Her church services, Mills said, are delivered via Zoom. She went said that she has been in contact with the Maine Council of Churches who said they're fervently asking residents to refrain from gathering, to protect those most at risk.
"I think faith and worship are extremely important in these trying times," Mills said during the briefing. "While I respect everyone's first amendment right to practice their faith and the religion of their choice, I suggest that public health demands certain changes in the way we do a lot of things, and most churches in Maine understand that and recognize that."