Watch live: Kansas Supreme Court hears case on governor’s ban of church services during coronavirus pandemic
Unscripted competitive contests are hard to come by during the coronavirus pandemic with all of the nation’s sporting events canceled.
But for the politically inclined, Saturday morning will have some fireworks in the form of an unprecedented Kansas State Supreme Court hearing.
The case concerns Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s ban on large gatherings of people to stop the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, which has shuttered world economies hoping to stop a new outbreak of SARS.
But the battle has turned into a political proxy war over the authority of the state’s Democratic governor, Laura Kelly.
Gov. Kelly’s ban on gatherings did not exempt churches, which led the state’s attorney general, Republican Derek Schmidt, to issue a memo undermining it and then to it to be overturned by a group of Republican lawmakers left in charge of the state legislature as other representatives went home to avoid the disease. Republicans including Adrienne Vallejo Foster, a candidate looking to unseat Sharice Davids, have risen to defend the action.
Kelly is defending her public health order with a lawsuit, which will be heard by the court on Saturday, one day before the holiest day of the year on the Christian calendar.
“The last thing I want right now is a legal battle,” Kelly said at a news conference. “But as I said yesterday, Kansas lives are on the line and I took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution.”
As far as Kansas City magazine can tell, only one church in Kansas tends to hold traditional in-person services on Easter Sunday—St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of KCK.
Pastor Luke Kammrath told KCTV that he’s not encouraging his small flock of parishioners to attend in-person, but that he wanted to be available for them if they wish to do so. (Kammarath was not immediately available for comment to Kansas City.)
We even checked in with the state’s most notoriously defiant church, the SPLC-recognized hate group Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, and they have no plans to meet in defiance of the governor’s order.