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Christian Leaders Gather To Proclaim Constitutional Right To Gather For Worship

Cooper sitting leaned over a table with reporters standing behind him.
NC Governor Roy Cooper

Hundreds of people protested Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-at-home restrictions for churches in Raleigh Thursday morning.

Rev. Ron Baity, president of Return America, an organization of Christain leaders based in North Carolina, criticized the governor’s executive orders for violating their constitutional right to practice their religion.This criticism is also the subject of a lawsuit the group filed against Cooper in federal court. Cooper responded to the gathering in a briefing Thursday afternoon. He stood by the executive order, saying that allowing gatherings at churches would put the congregants’ health at risk.

The state is currently in the first phase of Cooper’s reopening plan, which restricts gatherings of more than 10 people. This prevents many churches from holding services indoors, but there is no limit to the number of people that can attend an outdoor service. Host Frank Stasio talks with WUNC daily news producerWill Michaelsabout the protest and the governor’s response.

Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Will Michaels is WUNC's Weekend Host and Reporter.
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