Federal Judge Ends DC Church Restrictions

A federal judge ruled against Washington D.C.’s onerous restrictions on churches Thursday, freeing up worshippers considerably just ahead of Holy Week.

Judge Trevor McFadden wrote that D.C. lockdown orders “discriminate against houses of worship:”

The District’s order states that “houses of worship may admit no more than” the lesser of 25 percent of their capacity or 250 persons. …Yet, after the District’s repeal of the same limit on “[f]ood sellers and big box stores selling a range of essential and non-essential goods,” those entities are subject to no maximum-capacity limitations. …In practical terms, this means that the Archdiocese’s churches must stop admitting parishioners once they become a quarter full, but Whole Foods or Target can take in as many customers as they wish while complying with social-distancing requirements.

Becket, a law firm which advocates for religious liberty and represented the Archdiocese of Washington in the suit that led to Thursday’s ruling, celebrated the news on social media.

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