From Liberty Counsel –
During the Socialists' reign in Romania, more than 5,000 pastors were imprisoned for holding church services, and over 2,000 churches were seized for refusing to obey the Romanian government's edicts.
Pastor Cristian Ionescu, along with many members of Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Chicago, were among the persecuted in Romania. But 30 years later, and in a country where religious freedom is supposed to be a guaranteed RIGHT, Pastor Ionescu and his flock face the communists again.
"Our members risked their lives to escape communism only to find it germinating in 2020 under Mayor Lightfoot in Chicago," Ionescu said.
Last year, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker laid down a series of illegal and unconstitutional edicts against people of faith. Pastors, churches and congregants were ordered to discard important elements of their religious practices in favor of the governor's edicts—namely the prohibition of having more than 10 Christians in a church at any one time.
Never mind that religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution (it was also "guaranteed" in Romania's socialist constitution)—Pritzker did not care.
When the pastors and congregations of our clients, Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Logos Baptist Ministries, reopened their churches with more than 10 people, Pritzker and Lightfoot turned up the heat.
- Every car parked on the street for nine blocks around Elim's Chicago church was towed in an attempt to incite the church's neighbors to hate the church.
- Government officials blocked the entrances to Elim's privately leased parking lot with marked police cars, delivering an unmistakable message: "Stay away—or else."
- Then the City of Chicago threatened to seize and destroy Elim's beautiful church because Pastor Ionescu and the congregation refused to obey Gov. Pritzker's illegal and unconstitutional church limitations.
Liberty Counsel filed suit against Gov. Pritzker last year, requesting an emergency injunction to prevent him from taking any further punitive action against Pastor Ionescu and the faithful churchgoers of Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church.
Pritzker hastily dropped his restrictions against churches. BUT…
The governor now claims that the case is moot, since Illinois churches are meeting again. However, Pritzker continues to insist he can reimpose restrictions against churches at will.
And the Summary Abatement notice threatening to seize and destroy Elim Romanian Pentecostal's beautiful buildings still stands, meaning the city may still seize and bulldoze the church at any time.
The case is now fully briefed, and the Supreme Court could decide any day to take this case or immediately rule in our favor without oral argument. This is the first church case ready for a full review at the High Court.