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April 22, 2020

The Department of Justice Defends Religious Freedom in Mississippi

Attorney General William Barr recently stated that he is "keeping a careful eye" on religious liberty, particularly in light of the current restrictions in place.

"I think religious liberty is the first liberty," AG Barr stated. He added that religious freedom "is the foundation of our republic and a free society depends upon a vibrant religious life among the people."

The Department of Justice is putting action behind AG Barr's words. Recently, the Department filed a Statement of Interest in support of a church in Mississippi. The Department criticized the City of Greenville for outrageously fining church members $500 per person for attending a recent "parking lot worship service," while allowing citizens to "attend nearby drive-in restaurants, even with their windows open."

The Department's bold action, along with a lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, had its intended result. Following this outcry, Mayor Simmons reversed course and announced drive-in church services are permissible. He also confirmed the city would not collect on the $500 fines.

We are in an unprecedented time. While we all have the responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect ourselves and others, it is comforting to know that the current administration is taking steps to protect our fundamental freedoms and ensure churches are not singled out.

Express your appreciation to AG Barr! Let's all continue to pray for our local and national leaders, even as we pray for a swift end to this COVID-19 crisis and for the restored health of those who are affected.


Key messages

• An attack on religious freedom and freedom of expression is wrong. The First Amendment doesn't play favorites; it doesn't protect some viewpoints and punish others.

• Our government officials have a responsibility to embrace the First Amendment and defend freedom of expression and belief.

• Attorney General Barr, the Department of Justice, and this administration are actively working to protect and advance religious liberty, both here and abroad.

Go deeper
Express your thanks to Attorney General Barr and the Department of Justice
Democrats Target People of Faith
The Trump Administration's Work to Protect Religious Freedom

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