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North Carolina judge blocks governor's virus-related orders on churches

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Posted at 5:49 PM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 17:49:16-04

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge in North Carolina has sided with conservative Christian leaders and blocked the enforcement of restrictions that Gov. Roy Cooper ordered affecting indoor religious services during the pandemic.

The order from Judge James C. Dever III came Saturday, days after two Baptist churches, a minister and a Christian revival group filed a federal lawsuit seeking to immediately block enforcement of rules covering religious services within the Democratic governor’s executive orders.

The plaintiffs argued the limits violate their rights to worship freely and treat churches differently from retailers and other secular activities.

Ford Porter, Governor Roy Cooper's spokesperson, responded to the court ruling.

“We don’t want indoor meetings to become hotspots for the virus and our health experts continue to warn that large groups sitting together inside for long periods of time are much more likely to cause the spread of COVID-19. While our office disagrees with the decision, we will not appeal, but instead urge houses of worship and their leaders to voluntarily follow public health guidance to keep their members safe," Porter says.