More than 120 church leaders in the United Kingdom are asking for a judicial review of the United Kingdom’s decision to ban in-person worship services as part of a lockdown amid COVID-19.
According to a statement from the group, the "measures involve a direct and serious interference with the independence of religious organizations and freedoms of religious people," The Christian Post reports.
“The English and Welsh Governments have now introduced two successive sets of lockdown measures which have completely prohibited and criminalized public communal worship, a core aspect of religious life for the Claimants and their congregations,” the letter reads. “With these measures, the Governments have inflicted a terrible human cost, without rigorous consideration of less onerous restrictions, and as part of a package which leaves places of worship open for secular activities.”
Amid another wave of increasing coronavirus infections in the country, the country ordered a national lockdown lasting until Dec. 2. Under the order, bars, restaurants, and non-essential retail stores and gyms are closed. Places of worship are to be closed for services and only remain open for private prayer. Schools and workplaces are still open.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said closing businesses and churches is “vital in tackling the spread of the virus.”
But the group of church leaders said in their statement that freedom of worship is a constitutional right.
"In the long history of this country, there is no precedent for the temporal authorities prohibiting religious services on grounds of public health,” the statement from the group says. “There has been no comparable action in response to previous disease epidemics, up to and including the ‘Spanish flu’ (H1N1) pandemic of 1918.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.K. has had more than 1.3 million cases of COVID-19 infections with more than 51,000 deaths.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.