August 2020 – In early May, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) declared it would be 12 to 18 months before he would consider allowing up to 50 worshipers in church attendance.
On May 22, President Donald Trump labeled churches “essential” and called on governors to let them reopen that weekend. However, Pritzker didn’t get on board right away.
The very next day, May 23, the Chicago Department of Public Health sent letters to Elim Pentecostal Church and other churches threatening to shut them down or destroy them via “summary abatement,” a legal phrase meaning “to put down or destroy without [any further legal] process.”
Elim secured Liberty Counsel (LC) for its defense, and LC founder Mat Staver declared, “The executive orders from Governor J.B. Pritzker are an insult to the First Amendment and to all Americans who understand the price and value of religious freedom.”
On May 29, LC filed a suit on behalf of Elim against Pritzker in the U.S. Supreme Court. Included in the demands was a deadline for Pritzker to respond to the suit.
Less than four hours before his deadline, the governor saw the light and decided his unconstitutional demands on churches were only “suggestions” with no legal grounds, and he removed all restrictions.
politico.com, 5/22/20; lc.org, 5/23/20, 5/29/20