A local church is suing Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and the city for what the church alleges is an attack on its constitutional rights.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday with the Tennessee Eastern District Court, Metropolitan Tabernacle Church says the mayor's stay-at-home orders, specifically a ban on drive-in church services during the COVID-19 pandemic, are violating its constitutional right to assemble and worship.
Metro Tab, led by Pastor William Steven Ball, held its last in-person worship service on March 15 and was planning to begin drive-in services on Easter, when visitors could listen to the service in their vehicles through a short-range FM transmitter. A local pastor met with Berke on April 7 and the mayor said then drive-in services would be allowed, according to the lawsuit.
However, on April 9, Berke ordered churches to not hold drive-in services.