Justice Dept. Backs Pastor Challenging Va. Governor’s Social Distancing Order 1

The U.S. Justice Department is siding with a rural Virginia church that sued the state’s governor after the pastor was charged with violating a social distancing order, NBC News reported.

The government filed court papers Sunday in support of Lighthouse Fellowship Church in Chincoteague on Virginia’s eastern shore, which said the state improperly discriminated by insisting that the church permit no more than 10 people to attend services, while allowing businesses to accommodate larger groups.

“The Commonwealth cannot treat religious gatherings less favorably than other similar secular gatherings,” the Justice Department said in its submission.

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