UNDATED -- Two religious organizations in Minnesota say they will defy current executive orders and resume full worship services next week.

The Minnesota Catholic Conference and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod sent letters to Governor Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison Wednesday, announcing their intentions to hold regular worship services beginning May 26. The move comes despite Minnesota’s current COVID-19 executive order capping indoor religious gatherings at 10 people.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, representing the two organizations, argues that keeping churches closed is in violation of the First Amendment.

“If malls, casinos, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants are reopening, why can’t Minnesota churches?” said Becket VP Eric Rassbach. “Our Constitution stands for ‘equal justice under law’ and imposing a special disability on churches is anything but.”

A variety of Minnesota businesses, including retailers and malls, reopened Monday under certain conditions. There has been no timeline provided by Gov. Walz on when regular, in-person religious services will be allowed to resume.

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