Liberty Counsel has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Andrew Wommack Ministries International (AWMI) against Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado state and local public health departments that are discriminating against religious gatherings.
Our lawsuit seeks an immediate temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction preventing Gov. Polis from illegally and unconstitutionally persecuting religious Coloradans who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to religious freedom.
AWMI is a Colorado nonprofit charitable corporation and religious ministry that provides Christian, Bible-based conferences, seminars, events and other religious gatherings. AWMI also has an affiliated ministry, Charis Bible College, providing in-person and online education courses.
AWMI's facilities at Charis Bible College can seat a total of 5,000 people with the main auditorium/sanctuary seating 3,100.
Under the governor's orders, AWMI volunteers may conduct nonreligious services of almost any kind, including education, counseling, social services and other "necessities of life" type subjects with unlimited numbers of attendees as long as social distancing is practiced.
However, the moment AWMI or Charis open the Bible, give a sermon or even pray, all but 175 people must immediately leave the building or the ministers, teachers, students and attendees can be criminally charged.
Yet Gov. Polis has exempted 82 nonreligious categories and allows mass gatherings of protesters throughout the state with neither size restrictions nor social distancing enforcement.
The virus does not favor one gathering over another. Gov. Polis has an ulterior agenda dressed up in health and safety enforcement.
There is no "pandemic pause button" to the Constitution, nor can governors or other officials discriminate in the application of public health orders.
The Silencing of the World Church
The first pastor in America arrested for holding church, our client Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, has an international ministry largely focused on South Africa. Silencing Pastor Rodney would silence the Word of God to innumerable African churches.
The first church in America threatened with seizure and destruction for daring to hold church, our clients Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Logos Baptist Ministries in Chicago, also have an international following of Romanians who escaped communism. Silencing these churches would muzzle the call of religious freedom to the thousands of current and former Eastern bloc Europeans around the world who follow these churches.
The first church in America threatened to have its power and water turned off by a city for holding church is our client Harvest Bible Chapel. Silencing of our client Pastor Ché Ahn's Harvest International Ministries silences a ministry to the over 65,000 international churches affiliated with Harvest.
And now one of the most prolific Christian writers and teachers in the world along with his ministry, our client Andrew Wommack International Ministries (AWMI) and Charis Bible College, are under attack. Wommack and his ministries have reached over 1 billion people. Silencing AWMI is silencing a Christian voice that has reached one-eighth of the entire world population.
The illegal and unconstitutional silencing of churches is not simply a local matter affecting only cities like Chicago or states like Colorado. In fact, the assault on our churches is not just a national issue.
By the way, our church case representing Romanian Churches in Illinois will be the first church discrimination case presented to the Supreme Court. That's one reason among many that we need that seat filled.
America has been the premier beacon of freedom on the planet.
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