Skip to Content
Local News

Judge denies Andrew Wommack Ministries lawsuit

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. (KRDO) -- A United States District Judge shot down the Andrew Wommack Ministries lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis and the health department.

Judge Christine M. Arguello denied the lawsuit Tuesday. Arguello wrote that allowing the organization to hold large gatherings would present a high risk of harm during this pandemic.

“Further, Plaintiff would be compromising the health of the public, which could cause the death of an untold number of innocent citizens,” Arguello wrote. 

On Wednesday, the organization appealed Arguello’s decision.  

Andrew Wommack Ministries originally filed the suit after the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told the organization to cease and desist all large gatherings this summer.

Liberty Counsel filed the lawsuit on behalf of Andrew Wommack Ministries, the organization reported on Monday, and it seeks an "immediate temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction preventing Gov. Polis from illegally and unconstitutionally persecuting religious Coloradans who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to religious freedom."

It all stems from the cease and desist order sent to AWMI over the ministry's Summer Family Bible Conference 2020 event, which took place from June 30 - July 3. The letter said the conference was in violation of Teller County's COVID-19 variance by hosting more people than the 175-person limit allowed at an indoor event.

Despite restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic that limited attendance, CDPHE said their investigation found the event had anywhere between 300 and 500 people at Charis Bible College.

Liberty Counsel responded to that letter and acknowledged there were more people than allowed, but added that they followed state guidelines regarding the "50% capacity" rule. However, the Teller County variance states that an indoor venue can hold up to 175 people or 50% capacity, whichever is smaller.

However, several weeks later, CDPHE traced a COVID-19 outbreak to the event. Seven staff members and 15 attendees from the conference tested positive.

Now, several months after the cease and desist letter was sent, Liberty Counsel is accusing the state of religious discrimination because the organization alleges that Gov. Polis "has exempted 82 nonreligious categories and allows mass gatherings of protestors throughout the state."

The letter references numerous protests in the state over the past few months since the pandemic started. Liberty Counsel doesn't name any specific groups responsible for protests.

Gov. Polis' office hasn't publicly responded to the lawsuit. We've reached out to his office for a comment, and a spokesperson said they don't comment on pending litigation.

News / Teller County

KRDO News

Comments

8 Comments

  1. It will be interesting to observe what side wins in this instance, Common sense mitigation efforts to help stop the spread of the CO-VID 19 pandemic, or the 1st Amendment freedom of religion and assembly during a known pandemic.

    Personally, I don’t think there will be a winner, if common sense approaches to mitigate the spread of a virus can be overshadowed by the Constitutionally protected 1st Amendment right of religion and assembly, regardless of their health.

    Conversely, There should be nothing that should interrupt out 1st Amendment right, even if it is for everyone’s best interests. Because if our government is willing to suspend this Constitutional right for this instance, what is the precedence they are setting for other instances?

    This two-party diversity has placed our freedoms and rights in a very precarious predicament.

    1. Look at other rights. Even the most prolific serial killer, clearly a threat to the community, has protections under the 4th Amendment, the 5th Amendment, etc. To safeguard the public, we don’t say that we don’t need search warrants any more, that you don’t have the right to remain silent, etc.

      Rights are rights, even when there are negative impacts from the exercise of them.

  2. I’m not sure why the judge denied this lawsuit. This is clearly a violation of the 1st Amendment. Oh wait, she’s a Clinton appointee.

  3. Just propose an exemption to the current one: IF you decide to attend these over the number gatherings, come prepared to quarantine in that location for the required 2 weeks.
    Then they can pray all day and night, eat laugh, and love together. for 2 weeks.
    THAT would have not been quite the issue it is now if that stipulation in place. Most likely the attendance would have never materialized to those numbers.

    1. That wouldn’t work either, because as Covid cases spread around, the quarantine clock would reset with each new case.

Comments are closed.

Skip to content