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Andrew Wommack Ministries considering refiling lawsuit after recent ruling

102120 AWMI CONSIDERS ANOTHER LAWSUIT

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. (KRDO) -- A popular Teller County ministry is considering filing another lawsuit against the state of Colorado after a recent ruling in Denver.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Domenico ruled in favor of two Denver churches who opposed mask-wearing and building capacity limits intended to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. One of the reasons Andrew Wommack Ministries filed their lawsuit against Governor Jared Polis at the end of September.

Mat Staver, the founder of Liberty Council which represents AWMI, says he is pleased with the judge's ruling, saying this is a victory for the First Amendment.

“This judge got it right," Staver says, "this is what we’ve been saying from the very beginning that the first amendment prohibits this discriminatory treatment between nonreligious and religious gatherings.”

Now his legal team is deciding if they will refile a lawsuit against the state after they dropped their previous lawsuit shortly after it was submitted.

“We were considering going back into federal court challenging these unconstitutional orders," Staver says. "The question is whether I even need to do that now with this great decision that’s come down.”

Staver says that decision will be made after their court date set for next week which they are the defendants. The Colorado Attorney General's Office filed a suit seeking an emergency order to stop large gatherings at the Charis Bible College in Woodland Park. Staver believes Denver's ruling will lead to their case getting dismissed.

“Now it’s frankly pointless with this federal lawsuit that grants everything we’ve been asking for and much more,” Staver says.

Coronavirus / Local News

Chase Golightly

Chase is a reporter and an anchor for our weekend evening newscasts. Learn more about Chase here.

Comments

7 Comments

  1. I just hope the people that attend these Constitutionally protected, super spreader events take all the necessary precautions and stockpiled a 14 day supply of essentials. So after this event, when they return back to their communities, they do not have any reason to go out into the public and potentially spread anything they caught at this event, like every responsible Christian should. I genuinely hope they think about their neighbors, beyond themselves as the attendees made their choice to attend, the community didn’t. So since the attendees made this choice, they need to go into mandatory quarantine. But it doesn’t help the Woodland Park Community, because some of the attendees could be bringing it to Woodland Park, but no one will know until 14 days later. All it will take is one of these yahoo attendees needing to stop off at Starbucks for their Grande Latte Frappuccino, or going into a gas station for snacks and they could have spread this virus into the Woodland Park Community.

    My concern is, public outcry to stop this event could cause the government to attempt to suspend this Constitutionally Protected right, for the betterment of the whole.

    It will be interesting to see the fallout after this next event, or even the one they just had, as that will be a good indication of how this church will handle being the Root Cause for outbreaks in the Teller County community. A Community that, for the most part, has been very isolated from the spread of the virus as prior data shows.

    1. Teller numbers just jumped.

      AWM is not a church, it is a business. The founder is worth 10 million, these conferences market a number of products.

      AWM is trying to characterize this as a religious expression issue but it is not, as evidenced by the fact that the Denver churches have made progress in their court appeals (they can congregate in unrestricted numbers and remove masks as necessary for worship) but AWM dropped their own lawsuit after there were several rulings against them for their actions.

      And you are correct, because these conferences draw hundreds from both inside and outside the county, this is just a big vector event. In addition to there being a much higher likelihood of someone there having the disease (about 95% for an event of this size vs. about 20% for a regular church service), each person who carries the disease from the conference will be spreading it in a different population segment (while folks from a church will be more likely to be around each other and the same groups of people). These conferences are not the same as a church service, they are drastically more likely to cause spikes.

      Lastly, it is part of the AWM instruction that people who are close enough to God cannot get Covid. In addition to this being pretty good evidence that this is not a typical Christian organization (almost no Christian denominations teach this kind of thing), it is also a red flag indicating manipulation of a consumer group — inflated claims for a product you are selling. But more directly, this selling point means that people who attend the conferences are less likely to use distancing and masks, more likely to deny symptoms, less likely to get tested and begin contact tracing because that will be admitting to themselves and their peers that they aren’t close enough to God to be infection-resistant.

      AWM’s position is nothing like that of the Denver churches. I hope the law and media understand that.

      1. Interesting, I was not aware Andrew Womack Ministries (AWM) was not technically a church. I always assumed a ministry and a church were synonymous to each other.

        Are ministries still granted tax exemption, like churches?

        How is New Life Church different than AWM?

        Marie, thank you for giving me something new to research.

        1. Yes, it’s very messy. If you go to Charis you then find a church that fits. So there are churches affliliated with AW, but Charis does not have a church — at least that is how I had it explained to me by students years ago. I think it’s still the same. I’m assuming there is some benefit to be had from that, some kind of legal protection. AWm is a nonprofit, which is, of course, a tax designation that doesn’t prevent the admin from getting as rich as they would in a for-profit.

          I know that there was an outbreak at a church in the Springs that claimed to not be affiliated, but if you look at the details the pastor was trained under AWM, the symbol for the church is very close, the name has Charis in it, etc.

          If you want to go down a rabbit hole, just start looking at criticism of AWM by evangelical Christians on the internet. As a rule, nondenominationals don’t like to attack each other, but you will see a large number of people alarmed by the AWM claims and actions. We’re not just talking doctrinal differences, we’re talking about some serious stuff. Folks who want to defend religious expression in America (I’m one of them) would do well not to make AWM their poster child. I would not be surprised if the lawsuit were originally dropped once the law office representing AWm dug a little into the organization.

    1. Teller was running about 1 added case a day since the surge following the July conference (confirmed outbreak with over 60 cases and one death, a big chunk of the current 200 cases and 4 deaths). We have jumped up to 3 to 5 cases a day in recent days. Can’t say yet whether it is due to the October conference or a coincidence.

      https://bao.arcgis.com/covid-19/jhu/county/08119.html

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