Monday, July 6, 2020

Wommack Ministries threatens lawsuit over AG's shutdown order

Posted By on Mon, Jul 6, 2020 at 9:55 AM

click to enlarge Andrew Wommack speaks at a September 14, 2019, In God We Trust rally that featured several politicians. - PHOTOS BY PAM ZUBECK
  • Photos by Pam Zubeck
  • Andrew Wommack speaks at a September 14, 2019, In God We Trust rally that featured several politicians.
UPDATE:
Eileen, Quinn, public relations manager for Andrew Wommack Ministries, just sent a response to questions, saying the recent event drew 1,000 people, well over the 175-person limit contained in public health orders, and the guests were not required to wear masks. Her comment:
The Summer Family Bible Conference, a Bible-teaching and worship conference, was completed at noon on Friday. We had approximately 1000 attendees, well below the seating occupancy of the building, which is over 5000. The ministry implemented every Teller County Health suggestion, except for the arbitrary attendance cap of 175. Below is a list of major steps we took to ensure the safety of our staff and guests:

• SUBMITTED AND THEN REVISED SOCIAL DISTANCING PLAN FOR TELLER COUNTY
• REQUIRED ALL STAFF AND GUESTS TO ANSWER HEALTH SCREENING QUESTIONS
• CONDUCTED TEMPERATURE CHECKS OF ALL STAFF AND GUESTS AT MOTOR VEHICLE SCREENING CHECK POINT UPON ENTERING PROPERTY BEFORE PARKING
• IMPLEMENTED SOCIAL DISTANCING FOR STAFF AND GUESTS
• ALL STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS WERE REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS
• PRAYER MINISTERS AND FOOD SERVICE WORKERS WORE GLOVES
• POSTED AMPLE SIGNAGE RELATED TO COVID-19 AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
• IMPLEMENTED ONE-WAY TRAFFIC FLOW PATTERNS FOR CARS AND FOOT TRAFFIC
• PROVIDED SANTITATION STATIONS THROUGHOUT THE BUILDING
• EMPLOYED MEDICALLY-APPROVED SANITATION PROTOCOLS

———————-ORIGINAL POST 9:55 A.M. MONDAY, JULY 6, 2020—————————


Andrew Wommack Ministries has taken legal action to fight a July 2 cease and desist order issued by the Colorado Attorney General's Office ordering a shutdown of its summer Family Bible Conference.

It's at least the second time in Colorado that a church has taken legal action against restrictions imposed by the state to protect against the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The other involved a church in the Weld County town of Ault, 9News reported.

Wommack Ministries of Woodland Park, which runs programs throughout the year, including large conferences that draw thousands of people, issued a release saying:

The Colorado State Attorney General’s office contacted Andrew Wommack Ministries on July 2, 2020, directing organizers to cease and desist all activities that did not comply with Executive Order D 2020 091 and the Eighth Updated Public Health Order 20-208 Safer at Home and In the Vast, Great Outdoors Requirements and the Teller County variance, issued May 23.

On June 26, 2020, Andrew Wommack and his executive team met with Teller County and Woodland Park public health and law enforcement officials to review and discuss the hosting of a safe and large faith-based gathering. As a result, the ministry submitted an updated plan, to which the county offered further recommendations that was acceptable to the ministry.

Ministry officials were surprised when they received a cease and desist order from the state while in the midst of working closely with Teller County Public Health on revising the event proposal.

Ministry founder Andrew Wommack stated, “We want to protect everyone from getting sick, but this is a violation of our constitutional right to peaceably assemble. We feel like we have already gone to great lengths to do what we can do to comply, short of telling people they can’t attend.”

The ministry has retained Liberty Counsel, a national non-profit litigation, education, and public policy organization with an emphasis on First Amendment and other Constitutional rights, to represent us in this matter.

Liberty Counsel sent a letter to the Colorado Attorney General overviewing the exemplary efforts undertaken by Andrew Wommack Ministries to protect the health and safety of attendees and also pointed out the fact that Gov. Polis permitted thousands of people to gather in mass protests to exercise their First Amendment rights. The letter also raised the First Amendment right to assemble and worship, and described a recent federal court ruling that struck down the executive orders in New York that limited houses of worship attendance. Like in Colorado, the Governor of New York and the Mayor of New York City permitted thousands of people to gather in mass protests. The court found this discriminatory treatment unconstitutional.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Liberty Counsel as advocating against LGBTQ rights, abortion rights and other constitutionally upheld rights.  It's founder is a former dean of Liberty University, which brought students back to campus in March and saw an outbreak of COVID-19.
click to enlarge State Sen. Dennis Hisey was among the politicians who spoke at Wommack's rally in September. Congressman Doug Lamborn appeared via video. Both are Republicans.
  • State Sen. Dennis Hisey was among the politicians who spoke at Wommack's rally in September. Congressman Doug Lamborn appeared via video. Both are Republicans.

We've asked the ministry how many people have been attending the family conferences and whether it's still under way or has been suspended and will circle back if we hear something.

We've also asked the Attorney General's Office for a comment, as well as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. We'll update if and when we receive responses. But the AG's Office has issued cease and desist orders previously to businesses who refused to comply with public health orders regarding COVID-19.

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