Christian Leaders Gather To Proclaim Constitutional Right To Gather For Worship

May 15, 2020

Governor Roy Cooper responded to church leaders' criticism yesterday about the state's stay-at-home order. Churches say it violates their constitutional rights, but Cooper stands by the restrictions.
Credit 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 producer Will Michaels about the protest and the governor’s response.