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They Gathered for Easter Services. Then Came the Cops

Ky. churchgoers who flouted governor's orders against mass gatherings ordered to self-quarantine
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2020 7:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Pastors in Florida and Louisiana have been hit with charges for flouting coronavirus lockdown rules, and now a pastor in Kentucky, and his parishioners, are facing their own battle. Per WDRB, Gov. Andy Beshear had warned the faithful that anyone who mass-gathered over Easter weekend would be made to self-quarantine for two weeks—and so when dozens of congregants arrived Easter Sunday at Maryville Baptist Church in the Louisville suburb of Hillview, rejecting Beshear's order, out came the cops. The Louisville Courier Journal reports that notices were placed on the windshields of churchgoers' cars noting if they didn't self-quarantine, they'd face "further enforcement measures." Police also took down license plate numbers to forward to local health agencies. Some people, including the Rev. Jack Roberts, had covered their plates, but police took down the VINs instead.

Roberts also says he found piles of nails blocking the church's entrances when he arrived; the New York Post notes it's not clear who left them. While Beshear notes he doesn't want to have pastors arrested or church doors locked, he warns that those who choose to attend services are endangering others. "If you make the decision to go to a mass gathering, your decision should stay with you," Beshear says, per WDRB. "If you put yourself at risk, fine. Just self-quarantine for 14 days." Roberts, meanwhile, says while he's not looking to pick a fight, it's his constitutional right to hold services. "It's my life, and I feel like the Gospel is more important than anything else," he says, per WDRB. Other churches around the state have been holding virtual or drive-in services to comply with Beshear's order. As of Monday morning, Kentucky has nearly 2,000 confirmed virus cases, with close to 100 deaths. (Read more Kentucky stories.)

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