Prominent D.C. Church Is Suing the City For Banning Worship While Allowing Protests

Brittany M. Hughes | September 23, 2020
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Another prominent evangelical church is now suing their locality over what they claim is discriminatory enforcement of the city's COVID-19 restrictions.

Capitol Hill Baptist, which sits in the shadows – literally – of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., is suing D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser for allowing mass protests to continue despite her 50-person outdoor gathering limit, while still denying churches permission to meet, even outdoors, for worship. The current restrictions ban churches from meeting in groups of more than 100 or half the building's capacity, whichever is fewer.

The suit points out that Bowser’s office hasn’t been enforcing its own rules when it comes to the protesters who've been allowed to gather by the thousands despite the order, noting that Bowser herself attended such a rally back in June in violation of her own directive.

“The Church takes no issue with Defendants’ decision to permit these gatherings, which are themselves protected by the First Amendment, and the Church supports this exercise of First Amendment rights. The Church does, however, take exception to Defendants’ decision to favor certain expressive gatherings over others,” Capitol Hill Baptist's suit explains. “The First Amendment protects both mass protests and religious worship. But Mayor Bowser, by her own admission, has preferred the former over the latter.”

Like Pastor John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Capitol Hill Baptist, led by Pastor and prominent evangelical leader Mark Devers, caters to a diverse community from both sides of the political aisle. The 850-or-so member church is attended by politicians as well as government officials and employees, along with a large number of young city residents.

According to the Washington Post, the vote Sunday to sue the city came in at 402 to 32, according to members present.


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