Three Minnesota churches filed a lawsuit on Thursday over face mask mandates and limits on worship service attendance the state has imposed on them.
"Governor Walz wants to prosecute Minnesotans for religious attendance," said Erick Kaardal, special counsel representing the churches. "We are going to do our best not to see that happen."
Kardaal works with the Thomas More Society, the same group representing John MacArthur's Grace Community Church in its legal battle in California.
The lawsuit names Governor Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and each church's respective county attorneys as defendants.
"[M]y office and I review every executive order for its compliance with the law and state and federal constitutions. I stand behind the legality and constitutionality of this executive order. We will defend it strongly in court just as we have so far successfully defended others in court," Ellison said.
Executive Order 20-81 and other statutes mandate wearing facemasks for indoor spaces.
"Wearing a mask makes singing, verbally praying and receiving communion at church more difficult and, at times, impossible," the lawsuit says.
Executive order 20-74 limits indoor church attendance to 50% capacity; outdoor services are limited to 250 people or less.
"Minnesota criminalizing conduct of church attendees suppresses plaintiffs' ability to worship and practice their religion in houses of worship and restricts the ability of the plaintiffs to associate with other members of the faith," the lawsuit says.
? With the same legal group, Thomas More Society, Grace Community Church sued the state of California, Governor Gavin Newsom, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday.