Mayor makes final decision on demand for names of church attenders

By WND Staff

 

The mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, has dropped his demand that churches provide the city with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of people who attend services.

The dispute erupted days ago when Mayor Quinton Lucas, a Democrat, “ordered that houses of worship and some other ‘non-essential’ operations record the names and contact information of any person who stays inside for 10 minutes or longer,” according to Liberty Counsel, which was prepared to take the dispute to court.

The Kansas Department of Public Health intended to use the personal information to “quickly trace, test, and isolate individuals” who may have become infected at “religious gatherings.”

Violations were regarded as an “imminent threat” and “an immediate menace to public health.”

But on Tuesday, the city rescinded the order and issued a new one, which makes recording the names and contact information no longer mandatory.

Liberty Counsel said the new order still discriminates against churches by categorizing them as “non-essential” and by limiting them to no more than 50 people for events that take place outside.

“The requirement to record names and contact information of anyone who attends a religious gathering was a gross violation of the First Amendment,” said Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver. “Due to the overwhelming public outcry, the Kansas City mayor reversed course and removed this unconstitutional provision. That is the good news. The bad news which Kansas City must still remedy is the continued unconstitutional treatment of churches and houses of worship compared to other secular gatherings.”

Lucas had defended the requirement to local reporters.

“Our goal isn’t to see what everyone is doing and be Big Brother,” he said.

Lucas’ 10/10/10 rule stated “nonessential businesses, like churches” must operate at no more than 10% capacity, gathering no more than 10 people and  must record the name, home address and telephone number of anyone who spends more than 10 minutes there.

Staver had observed how “completely insane the tyrannical abuses launched by state governors and local officials against pastors and churches are becoming.”

“It is as if these leaders never bothered to so much as glance at the Constitution they swore to uphold and defend. They seem to be governing from some make-believe, dystopian viewpoint,” he said.

“The Germans did this very thing to Jews – collecting the names and locations of all known synagogue attendees – in the early days of the Nazi regime,” he pointed out.

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