An excerpt from an explainer I wrote with Travis Wussow for ERLC.com
As we always do, but particularly in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the ERLC has been closely monitoring the religious liberty landscape across the country for any challenges to the First Amendment rights of Americans. Thankfully, no widespread concerns have materialized in this moment as civic leaders and church leaders have worked together to guide their communities through this time. However, one development that caught our attention took place in Greenville, Mississippi. A handful of other locations raised similar concerns.
Attorney General William Barr announced over the weekend that the Department of Justice (DOJ) intended to engage potential infringements upon religious liberty in various states. Today, Barr issued a release outlining the necessity of protecting religious freedom in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak and announcing that the DOJ filed a Statement of Interest in the case involving the Mississippi church. Both the attorney general’s statement and the DOJ filing were measured, highlighting the important role of government in managing the COVID-19 pandemic while emphasizing the limits of government power even in extraordinary circumstances.