The request went directly to the state governor, who appears to have excluded churches from being able to celebrate their services a little more freely.
Nearly 200 pastors and ministry leaders have signed a letter to Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak.
The intent of the writing is to ask the politician to raise the current limit of 10 people in church services; everything, as long as a safety plan is implemented and maintained that complies with the applicable distance and hygiene guidelines.
“Just like you, we care deeply for the people of the State of Nevada. During this time of crisis,our houses of worship and the people we serve have adapted to the pandemic and taken safety precautions related thereto,” it is read in the letter sent to the governor last Thursday.
“We have restricted our in-person services and done our best toutilize virtual platforms to serve our congregations and our communities.”
“That being said, we have been gravely concerned that the actions you have taken appear to have targeted religious gatherings,” the letter continues.
These statements emerge as places of worship have been excluded from the first phase of the state’s gradual reopening plan.
Least restrictive measures
The pastors say Sisolak enacted an emergency directive that prevents them from gathering “ten or more people”; claiming that they can use other strategies to stay active.
While these ministers believe that their governor had good intentions, they also believe that he has gone a bit far and that congregations can use “less restrictive” measures to avoid contagion.
“Emergency Directive 013 restricts religious gatherings in a way that is overbroad and not narrowly tailored to accomplish our shared goal of preventing the spread of disease and death.”
While this is happening, restaurants have been allowed to reopen with at least 50% of their capacity; so people of faith complain that they cannot do the same.
“For this reason, your order violates our First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion and freedom of assembly.”
As a highlight, Christian leaders note that the church has “faithfully guided communities through countless plagues” for the past 2,000 years.
For this reason, “there is no reason to believe that our collective wisdom and experience are irrelevant during this pandemic,” they argue.