Illinois church defies stay-at-home order for Sunday service

Pastor Stephen Cassell has continued to lead meetings and services, with the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based law firm, taking up the church's case on First Amendment grounds

Dissent is growing and spreading against state officials — primarily Democrats — who are limiting religious, social and business activity under the aegis of “protecting” Americans from the coronavirus.

A church in Lena, Ill. has sued state Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and defied his executive order by holding services on Sunday, May 3.

Beloved Church in Lena began Sunday services at 9:30 a.m., reported local station 13 WREX. Reporters were not allowed inside, but saw multiple parishioners walk in.

Last week, the church and its Pastor Stephen Cassell filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Rockford. The suit names Gov. Pritzker, Stephenson County Sheriff David Snyders, Stephenson County Public Health Administrator Craig Beintema and Steve Schiable, Lena’s police chief.

The suit alleges that unconstitutional edicts were imposed in response to the pandemic. It goes on to say that the defendants have “intentionally denigrated Illinois churches and pastors and people of faith by relegating them to second-class citizenship.”

Cease-and-desist orders have been issued against Cassell and his church, and the church has been threatened with closure and prosecution for continuing to hold worship and Bible study. The church says congregants are provided hand sanitzier and family units are spaced six feet apart.

The church is also planning on filing a temporary restraining order against the stay-at-home order.


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