Return America rallies to file lawsuit against Gov. Cooper demanding churches reopen

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- From the online church services to outdoor worship, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced churches across America to get creative.

For some of those rallying Thursday at the legislature, that was unacceptable.

"Shepherds if you have been called you are supposed to be here with us in person and not across a TV screen technology is what the evil one wants," said one woman who asked not to be named.

With phase two weeks out, hundreds of faith leaders gathered before lawmakers, announcing a lawsuit.

"We have freedom but if we don't stand up and fight for our freedoms our freedoms will be short-lived," Dr. Ron Baity, the president of Return America said.

Their message has been echoed by Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell who in a letter to Governor Cooper criticizes his restrictions, calling them "inconsistent and unfair." In his message, Bizzell says he won't prevent people from going to church this Sunday. Even going as far to say that he would "lay down his badge and go home" before preventing people's rights to gather and freely worship.

Baity argues churches are essential.

"I think most of our churches will bring more protection to our people than they're getting at Wal-Mart

Return America hopes the lawsuit, that has yet to have been filed, convinces the Governor to ease restrictions. Meanwhile, Return America says churches will do everything they can to keep their congregation safe.

"We love our people and will protect our people to the best of our ability," said Baity.

During a Thursday afternoon news conference, Cooper loosely addressed the lawsuit and said he had not yet read the text, but cautioned that places of worship, like long-term care facilities, could become hotspots for COVID-19.

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