Lawsuit Won Against NC Governor’s Unconstitutional Executive Orders
On Thursday, May 14, 2020, Return America filed a lawsuit against North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. Return America was joined by Berean Baptist Church (Winston-Salem, NC; pastored by Dr. Ron Baity) and People’s Baptist Church (Greenville, NC; pastored by Tim Butler).
The purpose of this lawsuit was to convince the governor that churches need the freedom to exercise the rights already given unto them in the First Amendment of our United States Constitution and our North Carolina State Constitution. Through his executive orders, he curtailed church assembling and limited attendance to a maximum of no more than ten people per service. At the same time, he allowed ABC stores, abortion centers, hardware stores, Wal-Mart stores, vapor shops, NASCAR, and others to operate at much larger capacities.
On previous occasions, through documentation Return America asked the governor to allow the churches to operate with at least the same amount of freedom given to businesses. The previous documentation contained around 200 names of pastors and their churches. The governor never responded to Return America’s request. At the same time, he worked with NASCAR to find a way for them to implement their upcoming race in Charlotte.
Return America did not ask for special favors, but for free exercise of our religious liberties.
We held a press conference on the day of the filing, with Attorney Dr. David Gibbs, Jr., of the Christian Law Association. Several hundred were in attendance in support of this filing.
The next day, on Friday, May 15, 2021, the federal judge held an emergency hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the federal judge asked the attorneys from the Christian Law Association if they were seeking an injunction just for the churches specifically mentioned in the lawsuit, or for all churches in the state of North Carolina. The attorneys replied, “For all the churches in North Carolina.”
In just under 24 hours, the federal judge ruled in favor of a two-week temporary restraining order against Governor Cooper’s executive orders, allowing churches to legally open back up normally until the actual trial, which was scheduled for Friday, May 29, 2020. Early the following week, Governor Cooper issued an executive order that allowed all places of worship to legally worship uninterrupted as was done before the pandemic was a reality, removing the need for the actual trial to take place.
Other states have since used information from the briefs filed here in North Carolina. Return America is thankful that this case not only gave them and the churches a great win, but that has helped others to achieve the same end results. We thank God and praise Him for the end result.
Return America is thankful to Dr. David Gibbs, Jr., and the Christian Law Association for the tireless effort they have put forth, working day and night to achieve this First Amendment right.
Finally, we would ask that each one be thankful to the Lord for this verdict and be much in prayer that we will have continuation of our First Amendment rights.