U.S. Attorney’s Letter to Norman City Mayor – Allow Places of Worship to Open

(STL.News) – A unified message emanates today from the chief federal law enforcement officer in the Western District of Oklahoma and the chief law officer of the State of Oklahoma.  Places of worship in Norman, if they so choose, should be allowed to meet this Mother’s Day Sunday.

On April 27, 2020, United States Attorney General William P. Barr issued a memorandum directing United States Attorneys to monitor state and local directives that could violate the constitutional rights and the civil liberties of citizens, including discrimination against religious institutions and those with religious beliefs.  To this end, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing today sent a letter to convey the concern of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) with a proclamation issued by the Mayor of Norman.  In that letter, U.S. Attorney Downing urged the Mayor to consider amending the proclamation to include the opening of places of worship.  Indeed, places of worship should be trusted to honor social distancing and sanitation guidelines to the same extent as secular institutions.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has also expressed his concerns on behalf of the State.

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