A group of Oregon churches and individuals have asked a judge to rule that Gov. Kate Brown's social distancing order infringes over them due to the coronavirus pandemic are unconstitutional.
Including as lead plaintiff the Elkhorn Baptist Church in Baker City, the plaintiffs filed the suit in Baker County Circuit Court on Wednesday represented by Salem-based attorney Ray D. Hacke, according to Baker City Herald.
The plaintiffs are Elkhorn Baptist Church, Baker City, Calvary Chapel, Newberg, Calvary Chapel, Lincoln City, Calvary Chapel Southeast Portland, New Horizon Christian Fellowship, Klamath Falls, Camas Valley Christian Fellowship, Peoples Church, Salem, Prepare The Way, Bend, Bend Community Church, Covenant Grace Church, Roseburg
They have so far respected the governor's order banning gatherings of more than 25 people and discouraging Oregonians from being around more than 10 people at a time, according to Hacke.
But the churches no longer believe such an order is justified, the suit says.
The suit was filed in Baker County for the "symbolism,'' Hacke noted, a county that recorded its first positive case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, The Oregonian reported.
"If we're risking our lives to go to church, if we survive great,'' said Salem-based attorney Ray D. Hacke, who filed a motion for a temporary restraining order Thursday. "If we die, then we're going to heaven. If we want to take that risk, then it's on us.''
Brown on Thursday modified the order, allowing social gatherings of up to 25 people with social distancing as a part of state-approved reopening plans. But the churches said that Is not realistically sufficient. "It's an infringement on religious liberty.'' The churches are done "having their rights trampled on with no end in sight,'' Hacke added.