A judge denied a Brooklyn diocese’s request for a temporary restraining order on COVID-19 restrictions.
According to ABC 7, the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn had filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state of New York, saying that COVID-19 restrictions were a violation of the right to free exercise of religion.
The decision follows a statement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said he would close churches and synagogues in the city if they did not “agree to follow the rules” of social distancing and masks.
“If you do not agree to follow the rules, then we will close the institutions down. I am prepared to do that,” Cuomo said, according to The Christian Post.
The judge wrote in his decision that it was a “difficult decision.”
However, the Brooklyn Diocese said they were disappointed in the ruling.
“We are seeking what is just. And we have kept parishioners safe and will continue to do so,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said. “Thus, there is no reason for this latest interference with our First Amendment right to celebrate Mass together, so we will continue to press the courts and our elected officials to end it as soon as possible. We are left with no choice but, for now, to abide by the new restrictions that limit Mass attendance to 10 people in the red zones and 25 in the orange zones. But we will continue to fight to vindicate our fundamental constitutional rights, and we will continue to be a model for safety in our religious community. And by doing right and being right, we will prevail.”
A federal judge also ruled against a group of Orthodox rabbis last week. The group had also filed a lawsuit against the COVID restrictions.
“This is something which is very devastating to communities of faith,” Rabbi David Zwiebel of Agudath Israel of America said. “Why in the world would a large shul (synagogue) with large capacity be treated the same as a small shul?”
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.