Last Updated on April 21, 2020
U.S. Senate candidate Kris Kobach, a Kansas Republican, slammed Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly for banning church gatherings of more than 10 people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Court’s TRO is clearly correct,” Kobach told National File. “Governor Kelly arbitrarily treated church services more restrictively than similar meetings in a secular context.”
Sunday, National File reported that a federal judge appointed by President Donald J. Trump blocked Kelly’s order on the grounds that it deemed church gatherings as less essential than other essential activities.
“Her order plainly violates the free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment,” Kobach said. “Instead of continuing to try to enforce her unconstitutional order, she should immediately rescind it and respect our constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms. There are less restrictive ways to ensure that church services remain safe.”
U.S. District Judge John Broomes, who blocked the order until May 2, has scheduled a hearing Thursday in a lawsuit against the state filed by two churches and their pastors.
Kobach, former two-term Kansas Secretary of State, squares off against several other Republican candidates in his U.S. Senate primary on August 4.
Several religious organizations across the country have clashed with their own state governments during the COVID-19 pandemic, defying “stay-at-home” orders issued by governors on the grounds that the Constitution supersedes such orders and allows them to worship freely.
But Kansas’ order — that only 10 people could congregate at church — was considered to be particularly harsh.
Even in Michigan, where Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has made herself into a household name for her strict quarantine rules, and for defying the citizens of her state that have protested those rules, is allowing up to 50 people to gather at places of religious worship.
Kansas has not been hit particularly hard by the novel virus, exacerbating this situation.
The state only has 1790 infections and 86 deaths from COVID-19, despite having a population of almost three million.
Kris Kobach, a strong ally of President Trump and staunch supporter of building the wall on the southern border, is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by the retiring Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who has served in Congress since 1981.
Likely to be Kobach’s strongest opponent, the Chamber of Commerce backed Dr. Richard Marshall, claims to be a Trump supporter, but has parted with Trump on key issues like building the wall.
Marshall is on the record saying “I’m not sure a wall is the best way to do it,” and, “I don’t know if [building the wall] is even feasible.”
Marshall’s claims to be a Trump supporter are further impugned by his early and strong support for John Kasich in the Republican presidential primary.
Kasich infamously supported impeachment of President Trump.
Marshall’s contradictory record on his Trump support is on display in a recent ad produced by Free Forever PAC: