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Louisiana justices toss COVID-related charges against pastor

Virus Outbreak-Pastor Charged
Posted at 1:49 PM, May 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-14 16:49:11-04

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Louisiana Supreme Court has thrown out charges against a pastor who flouted coronavirus pandemic restrictions on gatherings.

The majority ruled that Gov. John Bel Edwards' executive orders violated the Rev. Tony Spell's freedom of religion because of many secular exemptions.

The high court said there wasn't any proof that exempted activities were less risky than church services.

Two justices dissented, saying more facts were needed. For instance, Chief Justice John Weimer wrote that there was no evidence either way about whether any churches' religious worship or practices were adversely affected when they held services outdoors or online.