Press Release: Prepare the Way Ministries v. Gov. Kate Brown
Prepare the Way Ministries and Bend Community Church Join Pacific Justice Institutes’ Lawsuit Against Oregon Governor Kate Brown for Closing Churches Indefinitely and Not Adhering to State Constitution
Bend, OR – Prepare the Way Ministries and Bend Community Church joined a Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) lawsuit in a court case that claims Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has not adhered to the Oregon State Constitution during the COVID-19 crisis. The case was filed on May 6th in Baker County, Oregon.
There are two key complaints in the case. The first argues that Gov. Kate Brown overstepped her authority according to the Oregon Constitution, which says that the Governor must get approval from the legislature to extend a state of emergency beyond 30 days. Article 10 A of the Oregon Constitution requires the Governor get a 3/5th approval of the entire Legislature to extend any declared emergency beyond 30 days. She extended the current state of emergency until July 6 without approval from the Oregon Legislature. By doing so, she did not let state representatives from all over Oregon serve their constituents by voting on such measures. These measures vastly affect not only churches, but also negatively impact businesses, private schools and many other organizations.
The second complaint asserts that her actions violate churches’ rights under the Constitution to free exercise of religion. Many churches and ministries have been effectively shut down by this unconstitutional order, even though many counties east of the Cascades have not had any cases of COVID-19.
The first hearing will be this Thursday, May 14, in Baker City, Oregon.
Stephen Williams has been interviewed on this case and has said, “We live in a Constitutional republic… you can’t throw out the Constitution just because someone declares an emergency.” On the subject of the role of churches in our communities, Stephen said, “How can Lowes and Home Depot, not to mention liquor stores and pot shops, be deemed “essential” by Gov. Kate Brown during this COVID-19 pandemic, but churches are not? We applaud the decision of Governors DeSantis and Abbott of Florida and Texas in declaring Churches essential. Likewise, we affirm the dozen or so states that have made similar statements. Gov. Brown has usurped power she was never intended to have and through emergency declarations, become more of an authoritarian ruler instead of a Constitutionally-bound public servant… During this time, when fear, isolation and hopelessness are so prevalent, churches have an essential message of hope, healing and restoration, and pastors should be given the responsibility to decide how best to safely gather.”
Click here for the Complaint filed by PJI on May 6th