COVID-19: Church & Louisville Mayor Reach Agreement | First Liberty

Church, Louisville, KY Mayor Reach Agreement in Dispute Over Drive-in Church Services

Louisville, KY—Today, First Liberty Institute, WilmerHale, and Swansburg & Smith, PLLC, on behalf of their client On Fire Christian Church, and Louisville, Kentucky Mayor Greg Fischer reached an agreement that will allow the church to hold drive-in services consistent with CDC guidelines.

“We are grateful to Mayor Fischer and Louisville city officials who worked with us to ensure their policies are both consistent with the Constitution and the CDC’s guidelines,” said Roger Byron, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “During this challenging time, we need to see more of this kind of cooperation between government officials and the religious community.”

“We are pleased that the mayor was willing to work together with our client to find a solution that protects religious liberty exercised in a responsible manner,” said Matthew Martens, partner at WilmerHale. “Like everyone, On Fire Christian Church looks forward to the day when they can meet together in-person again without being restricted to their cars.”

On Fire Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has been hosting drive-in church services in its parking lot for several weeks consistent with the CDC’s guidelines. In addition to cars being parked six feet apart, all congregants remain in their cars with windows no more than half open for the entirety of the service. On the Saturday prior to Easter, U.S. District Court Judge Justin Walker granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) that prevented enforcement of an order blocking On Fire’s plans for a drive-in service, saying it violated the Free Exercise clause “‘beyond all question.’”

This past weekend, vandals attacked the church, leaving nails at the entrance/exit area of the church property while the Sunday drive-in worship service was underway.

Byron added, “The members of On Fire Christian Church are saddened by this crime. We hope today’s agreement will end the violence against the church.”


First Liberty’s team of legal experts continues to remain vigilant on the front lines of this crucial fight to ensure that our rights to religious freedom are not compromised.

With all the attacks against churches going on right now during the “new normal,” we believe the work we are doing is vital for our freedoms and our country. If you would consider supporting this work at such a critical time, we would be grateful.

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