Mississippi churchgoers fined $500 while attending drive-in service

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GREENVILLE, Miss. — Churchgoers who attended a drive-in service at a church in Greenville, Mississippi, were fined $500 for violating a curfew order from the mayor, WREG reported.

During Thursday night service at King James Bible Baptist Church, parishioners sat in their vehicles listening to Pastor Charles Hamilton. Then, Greenville police surrounded the church parking lot.

Jeremy Dys, who is representing Pastor Hamilton, said police violated the church’s constitutional right while enforcing a curfew order from Mayor Errick Simmons.

“They park in their parking spaces. They keep their windows up, the doors closed. They never get out of the cars like the CDC recommends they do,” Dys said. “There’s no exception to the United States Constitution for a pandemic. What Mayor Simmons has done is to apply an order without regard to equality, and he singled out churches in particular.”

King James Bible Baptist isn’t the only Greenville church police visited.

“We have everybody stay in their cars, with their windows up and go to a certain radio station, a low frequency station,” Lee Gordon, with Temple Baptist Church, said.

Gordon said there were about thirty cars in the parking lot of Temple Baptist Church.

“The police started coming up, and we said, ‘We think we’re within our rights.’ So they started issuing tickets. $500 tickets,” Gordon said. “I don’t know, it may have been twenty to thirty tickets. Everybody got one. It wasn’t per car. Me and my wife was in a car together and both of us got tickets.”

Gordon says the intimidation won’t stop the faithful from gathering safely.

“This is Easter Sunday, and we want to celebrate Easter Sunday the best way can,” Gordon said.

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