Church Wins 220K after Lawsuit Over Banning Church Service Settled with DC and Mayor Bowser

The City of Washington DC and Mayor Muriel Bowser are on the hook for the legal fees incurred by Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) in the amount of $220K.

The church filed suit in September of last year over Covid restrictions that applied to the church but not to the protests that took place last summer. The restriction banned outdoor worship with over 100 people.

The 850 member church had met weekly since it was founded in 1878 except for three weeks during the Spanish flu of 1918. However, the church was unable to meet in person last year after Mayor Bowser released her Orders in March of 2020, “the members of CHBC — most of whom live in the District — have been unable to meet in person, as one congregation inside District limits (even outdoors),”, according to a statement from Justin Sok, a pastor of CHBC.

The settlement goes on further and states, “The District agrees that it will not enforce any current or future COVID-19 restrictions to prohibit CHBC from gathering as one congregation in the District of Columbia.”

“The District further agrees that, should it decide that new restrictions on religious gatherings are necessary during the current, or any future, COVID-19 (or variant thereof) public health emergency, it will not impose restrictions on CHBC that are more restrictive than the restrictions on comparable secular activities, as defined by the Supreme Court.”

Earlier this year we reported the Supreme Court struck down California’s ban on indoor worship:

“In a 6-3 decision, they gave the go-ahead for California churches to resume indoor worship services on a limited basis. The ruling will still allow the state to enforce its ban on singing and chanting and limit attendance at 25% of capacity.

Kayleigh McEnany tweeted out about the decision, “The Supreme Court struck down California’s ban on indoor worship! We have a right to attend church and worship God.”

McEnany exclaimed, “Thankful for a Supreme Court that recognizes this!”

Many others faced the shutdown or limits on the number of people allowed to gather at their churches during Covid lockdowns. Some speculate that we may see it again as the number of Covid cases seems to be back on the rise. Hopefully, with the Supreme Court sending a clear message that it is not okay, we won’t see this again.