North Jersey priest sues Murphy over religious gathering ban

NEWARK, N.J. – A priest is suing Governor Murphy over his infamous “stay at home” order.

The complaint filed by Reverand Kevin Robinson of St. Anthony of Padua Church located in North Caldwell, New Jersey alleged that Governor Murphy’s order violates the First and Fourteen Amendments by preventing his parish from celebrating mass in-person.

“Order 107 articulates no rationale whatsoever for treating religious gatherings as a greater threat to public health and safety than commercial gatherings that involve manifestly far greater risk of viral transmission among millions of potential customers or in the enclosed premises of the offices maintained by ‘essential’ businesses and the media,” the priest’s complaint filed in Newark’s federal district court argues.

The First Amendment acknowledges Americans’ freedom of religious exerise.

The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits religious-based discrimination rooted in the constitutional concept of “equal protection.”

Many New Jersey churches and religious communities – including the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses – have elected to stream services remotely on Facebook Live or other social media platforms due to the Governor’s social-distancing restrictions.

Rev. Robinson, on the other hand, is a member of a splinter Catholic group called Society of St. Pius X’s (SSPX) which celebrates a traditional Latin-language mass and frequently clashes with the Vatican.