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French Council of State Rules Ban on Religious Gatherings Is Unlawful

French Council of State Rules Ban on Religious Gatherings Is Unlawful

A ban on religious gatherings in France is unlawful, according to France’s supreme court for administrative justice.

The French Council of State ruled Monday that “the general and absolute prohibition [on religious gatherings] is disproportionate” because the government is allowing secular gatherings of fewer than 10 people, The Christian Post reports.

The Council of State said in its ruling that the policy “constitutes a serious and manifest violation of the freedom of worship.”

The government has eight days to lift the ban on religious gatherings.

The policy banned all gatherings in worship places until June 2, except for funerals, which only allow up to 20 people.

The ruling came after complaints from organizations and church members. Supporters of overturning the ban said the ruling was “good news.”

“The decision of the Council of State to order the lifting of the ban on assembly in places of worship is good news for freedom of worship which is a fundamental right,” tweeted Sen. Bruno Retailleau, leader of the right-wing Republicans.

In February, France had an outbreak of coronavirus cases and officials pointed to an international evangelical conference for causing the cluster of cases.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control said that religious organizations considering reopening in-person services “should be aware of the potential for high rates of transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”

“These organizations should work with local health officials to determine how to implement the U.S. Government’s guidelines for modifying activities during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent transmission of the virus to their members and their communities," the CDC advised in its report.

Some churches in the U.S. have tried to reopen but have then shut their doors to in-person gatherings because of a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

A Georgia church that reopened stopped its in-person services again after several families became infected with the novel coronavirus.

Also in Houston, a Catholic church stopped its in-person gatherings after learning that some members became sick after the church’s reopening in early May.

Photo courtesy: Anthony Choren/Unsplash

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.