Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. recently filed a major constitutional lawsuit citing deprivation of the right to exercise religion, freedom of religious speech, and religious assembly. The complaint was filed May 19, 2020 in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. Attorneys Thomas C. Crumplar and Raeann Warner of Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., along with the Neuberger Firm, P.A. and Martin D. Haverly, Attorney at Law, are litigating the case on behalf of Reverend Dr. Christopher Alan Bullock, Pastor of the Canaan Baptist Church in Wilmington, Delaware. The plaintiff is seeking an injunction to open religious worship services in Delaware, effective Sunday May 31, 2020; celebrated by many religious denominations as the feast of Pentecost.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendant, Governor John Carney, overstepped his authority in a number of instances in his declaration of and modifications to the State of Emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak. In the latest modification, Governor Carney stated that congregants over the age of 65, as well as other high-risk individuals, should not attend religious services in person. Furthermore, houses of worship are only allowed to open one day per week for just one hour, and all congregants must practice social distancing. Other detailed restrictions include those effectively prohibiting the use of hymnals, the practice of baptism, and the distribution of communion.
The lawsuit contends that these restrictions are discriminatory, as the Governor has made exceptions for more than 200 secular industries, but not for houses of worship. Furthermore, under the Governor’s directives, pastors and congregants have not, and will not, be able to worship according to their conscience without risking penalty of six months in jail. The lawsuit notes that the Governor’s orders burden the plaintiff’s religious beliefs, compelling him to either change those beliefs or act in contradiction to avoid penalty.
Read the complaint here.
The attorneys at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. expect the lawsuit to be fast-tracked by the U.S. District Court in Delaware as courts in other states have already thrown out similar restrictions placed on religious institutions. Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. represents individuals in civil rights cases, as well as legal matters involving personal injury, employment law, and environmental toxic tort. For more information, contact the legal team at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. at 302-656-5445 or contact us online. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, New Castle, and Sussex County.