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In-Person Learning Can Resume at Religious Schools
By West Kentucky Star Staff
FRANKFORT - A federal court has ruled that in-person learning can resume at Kentucky's religious schools.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky has ruled in favor of Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Danville Christian Academy in issuing a statewide preliminary injunction against Governor Andy Beshear's order banning in-person instruction at religious schools.

According to Cameron, the lawsuit was supported by more than one dozen religious schools and over 1,000 Kentucky parents.

Earlier in the week, Cameron's team argued before the court that Beshear's order violated the First Amendment and that religious schools following social distancing and hygiene guidelines should be allowed to remain open. The court agreed and prohibited enforcement of Beshear's order, allowing in-person instruction at religious schools to resume immediately.

Following the ruling, Cameron released the following statement:

"On the day before Thanksgiving, I am incredibly thankful for the timeless and enduring protections enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. More than 200 years ago, our founders answered the question presented to the court in this case by protecting the free exercise of religion, and today, the court firmly upheld that guarantee by recognizing that Kentuckians have a right to worship and express their faith through a religious education.

"The court prohibited the Governor from enforcing his executive order and unequivocally stated that the Commonwealth's religious schools can resume in-person learning. This is not the first time during this pandemic where religious exercise has been threatened, first with the prohibition on drive-in church services, then in-person worship services, and now in-person instruction at religious schools.

"In each of these instances, the courts have affirmed that the freedoms provided by our Constitution are stronger than the fears of the moment and cannot be cast aside by the Governor or any leader. Our country was built on the idea of religious freedom and will always be a place of refuge for those of faith. This pandemic reminds us now, more than ever, of the importance of faith and the reassurance and stability it provides for many in the midst of challenging times."

In the court's opinion issued today, the court noted the activities that Beshear has allowed to continue, while at the same time banning in-person instruction at religious schools.

The court, "wonder[ed] why under this executive order, one would be free to attend a lecture, go to work, or attend a concert, but not attend socially distanced chapel in school or pray together in a classroom that is following strict safety procedures and social distancing." The court emphasized that "[if] social distancing is good enough for offices, colleges, and universities within the Commonwealth, it is good enough for religious private K-12 schools that benefit from constitutional protection."

You can see a copy of the ruling at the link below.

On the Net:

Court Opinion


Published 09:15 PM, Wednesday Nov. 25, 2020
Updated 11:53 PM, Thursday Nov. 26, 2020

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