The Governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, has unceremoniously backed down on his order closing all churches to any gathering greater than 10 people.
Gov. JB Pritzker has lifted all restrictions on churches in the state after challenge by the U.S. Supreme Court, and has issued a set of guidelines instead.
The surrender was ignominious and complete.
“Per the Governor’s announcement today, religious organizations are no longer subject to any of the gathering restrictions in any phase,” Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Solicitor General Jane Notz wrote in the state’s submission to the Supreme Court on Thursday night.
Context for this stunning development is provided in this article.
(The Center Square) – Just hours before his administration was to respond to a challenge to his authority in the U.S. Supreme Court, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office has announced guidance for places of worship to reopen, signaling he’s lifting his restrictions.
Pritzker has been under fire from churches that filed a handful of lawsuits, including one before the U.S. Supreme Court that his administration had to respond to before 8 p.m. Thursday.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver, representing the two Chicago churches said, “The unilateral actions of Gov. J.B. Pritzker is the classic example of tyranny. He knew he did not have authority to trample on the First Amendment rights of churches and houses of worship, but he did anyway and continued to do so until his case reached the U.S. Supreme Court. He cannot be trusted to obey the Constitution. The fact that he recently said that churches would never get above 50 people for at least 12 to 18 months, and now a few hours before he had to file with the Supreme Court he removes all restrictions, illustrates that he had no basis for the orders in the first place. The only thing that changed was he was dragged to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Let’s be absolutely clear. Gov. Pritzker did not collapse under the weight of a broad uprising of churches and their leaders. No, it was only “a handful of lawsuits” by a few churches that brought down this man’s arbitrary and capricious (and unConstitutional) restrictions on our religious freedom.
The fact that so many churches passively accepted these orders is a scandal that will not soon be forgotten. It will not be forgotten by the parishioners who watched their leaders submit without complaint and sometimes with enthusiasm to this illegitimate use of state power. Nor will it be forgotten by those politicians and organizations who seek to destroy the Christian Church in the United States (for example, see here, here and here for attacks on our tax-exempt status and here here and here on the general situation).
No church is forced to reopen. Nor are the policies of any church controlled. Rather, the leadership of each church now has the reestablished right to make decisions unhindered by the state.