Communal worship ‘criminalised’ under Covid-19 lockdown

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Communal worship ‘criminalised’ under Covid-19 lockdown

Post16 Nov 2020

Communal worship ‘criminalised’ under lockdown, religious leaders in England say

More than 100 Christian leaders have launched a legal challenge over the ban on communal worship under lockdown restrictions. They claim worship has been “criminalised” and the ban has “inflicted a terrible human cost” on congregations for whom collective worship is a core element of their religious life.

The restrictions on public worship breach article nine of the human rights convention that protects the right to freedom of religion, they argue. The claim for judicial review by 122 church leaders from different traditions is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, an arm of the conservative evangelical organisation Christian Concern.

In England, places of worship are closed with exceptions for funerals, broadcast acts of worship, individual prayer, essential voluntary public services, formal childcare, and certain other exempted activities. Gathering for worship or collective prayer is not allowed.

The ban on public worship has also been challenged by the leaders of the Church of England, the Catholic church and Orthodox Judaism, along with Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Pentecostal representatives. They wrote a joint letter to Boris Johnson earlier this month saying there was “no scientific justification for the wholesale suspension of public worship”.

How about they provide scientific justification for wholesale public worship in the first place?
Pastor Ade Omooba, who is leading the legal challenge, said: “We have been left with no alternative but to pursue a judicial review on this crucial issue and at this significant moment for the freedom to worship in church in this country. The government must “recognise the vital importance of church ministry and the principle of church autonomy from the state. [The government] must recognise the vital importance of church ministry and the principle of church autonomy from the state”.

Presumably they're demanding autonomy from science too?

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