That’s the word coming down from a federal court about Gov. Bill Lee’s legislative attempt to ban school districts from implementing/enforcing mask mandates in response to COVID-19.
Mariah Timms in the Tennessean has more:
A court order blocking the implementation of a new Tennessee law preventing schools from issuing mask orders will remain in effect, likely through at least Thanksgiving, as arguments in a lawsuit continue.
Crenshaw ordered the parties, including each of the districts where the students attend, and the Lee administration to maintain the status quo of last week — before the law was signed.
Effectively, the court ruled the law is currently unenforceable as it stands.
Lee continues to lose in court, and the ruling is being interpreted as having broad application to the entire state, therefore allowing districts with mask mandates to circumvent the recently-passed state legislation.
Pastors from Across Tennessee Celebrate Ruling
“As I have been saying for almost two years now, Governor Lee’s ‘fend for yourself approach’ to COVID has left us fighting each other instead of fighting for each other, which is exactly what the COVID special session has done,” said Rev. Dr. Lillian Lammers, Associate Pastor of First Congregational Church of Memphis. “As residents of Tennessee, we live in community with one another. We are neighbors. It seems as if many in the Christian faith, including Governor Lee, have forgotten the metaphor in the New Testament of the community as a body. We cannot live as isolated individuals; we are connected. And in schools students are even more connected than the rest of us in the community as they spend at least seven hours a day together.”
“Public health crises cannot be managed by individuals or even by small groups of experts. We all have to opt in to loving our neighbors as ourselves and opt in to wearing masks for the sake of our neighbors,” said Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Bristol, TN. “So I am grateful and relieved that Judge Waverly- Crenshaw’s ruling will at least temporarily block this life-threatening new law and allow vulnerable students to be protected at school.”
“I have said it before and will continue to say it again, ‘if Jesus carried a cross, surely the least we can do as Christians is carry a mask,’” said Rev. Aaron Marble, Pastor of Jefferson St. Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville. “Public health and safety policy decisions should not be made based on political talking points, but instead based on the wisdom and guidance of health professionals to protect EVERY child in school, and that is what has happened in this statewide ruling by Judge Waverly-Crenshaw. It is my hope and prayer that parents and families refuse to pivot to dishonest religious or medical exemptions that prioritize their personal discomfort and instead choose now to love their neighbor as themselves and wear a mask.”
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