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COVID Restrictions on Religious Gatherings: Assessing the Supreme Court’s Ruling


Editor’s Note: The following is a press release provided for distribution to Spectrum about an upcoming Zoom event:

December 12, 2020 (Saturday), 2PM (PST) / 5PM (EST)

Grant Mitchell, Esq., Central California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Nicholas Miller, Esq., Andrews University International Religious Liberty Institute
Alan Reinach, Esq., Church State Council, Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Julius Nam, Esq., Moderator, Religion and the Law Forum, Loma Linda University School of Religion

Zoom Webinar Link:

In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, the Supreme Court prevented the State of New York from enforcing COVID restrictions that placed strict numerical limitations on religious gatherings. Some cheered the decision as vindication of religious groups' Free Exercise rights under the First Amend­ment and a rebuke of overreaching state action. Others criticized the decision as uninformed by science and based on improper comparisons with other public activities. Did the Supreme Court break new ground with this decision? What are its implications for religious freedom and current restrictions in other states? What does the decision tell us about the future direction of the Supreme Court?

Four Seventh-day Adventist legal experts discuss these questions and their relevance to church leaders, pastors, and all who are interested in the intersection of law and religion. Their evaluations of the Supreme Court's decisions and state regulations may differ, but they wrestle together with the question of how religious bodies can remain faithful to their mission and contribute to public health and safety during the current global pandemic. 

This webinar is sponsored by the Andrews University International Religious Liberty Institute, Loma Linda University School of Religion's Religion and the Law Forum, and the Church State Council—the education, advocacy and legal services ministry of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.


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