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Plaintiffs in lawsuit against Gov. Brown speak out

Two pastors at a Camas Valley church said they feel Brown is violating their constitutional right to gather as a religious group.

Posted: May 19, 2020 6:59 PM
Updated: May 19, 2020 7:11 PM

CAMAS VALLEY, Ore. -- Plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit against Gov. Kate Brown are speaking out.

On Monday, Baker County Circuit Court judge Matthew Shirtcliff ruled that Brown’s executive order banning religious gatherings of more than 25 people was unconstitutional.

The suit was brought by 10 churches across the state, including one in Roseburg.

Ray Hacke, the attorney representing the churches' case, said the ruling affects every order Brown has issued since the emergency declaration.

Within hours, Gov. Kate Brown appealed the ruling to the Oregon Supreme Court, which decided to put a stay on the ruling until they could hear arguments from both sides.

RELATED: COURT RULES AGAINST GOV. BROWN'S EXECUTIVE ORDER

Travis Hunt, who is the lead pastor at Camas Valley Christian Fellowship, signed onto the lawsuit with one other pastor from his church. He said he joined the effort because he feels like the governor has no right to violate their constitutional right to gather as a religious group.

“All I’ve done is ask the judicial branch to see if the executive branch is a tyrant,” said Hunt.

Ron Rust, the other pastor involved, said the supreme court's quick response to the ruling was not a surprise.

“It was not entirely unexpected,” said Rust. “Disappointing yes, but unexpected? Not really.”

Hunt said he and Rust signed onto the lawsuit as individuals because they didn’t want their entire church to be associated. He said some people don’t completely agree with the effort.

“Twice in Bible, very strongly, it says to submit to ruling authorities, Romans 13,” said Hunt. “But Peter also says submit to your governors, (it) actually uses that. And some people feel like it’s not the Christian way.”

Hunt said they’re still unsure when the supreme court will make their ruling.

However, he said he and his fellow plaintiffs are still discussing how to move forward.

“If we’re victorious, praise the lord,” said Hunt. “If we’re not, we’ll figure out how to function.”

In response, Brown said she was sticking with her strategy, as it has saved lives.

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