Pastors do not have the right to keep church services going if doing so could pose a health risk to its parishioners, constitutional law expert Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV.
Dershowitz disagreed with Louisiana pastor Tony Spell's decision to keep his church open, in defiance of the state's stay-at-home order.
"I'm greatly sympathetic to a man of God who wants to preach and organize a service, but he's wrong as a matter of constitutional law," Dershowitz told Spell on Thursday's "Greg Kelly Reports."
"The Constitution of the United States is a secular, civil document," he added "It's clear that governmental authorities have the power to make people undertake medical steps . . . to prevent the spread of disease.
"With respect, the pastor should have had his services conducted by Zoom," Dershowitz said.
Spell said he has 9,800 congregants at his Life Tabernacle Church near Baton Rouge. He does not think it is practical for people to attend services via Internet remote conferencing.
The pastor tells older people and those who are sick to stay away from his church services, he said.
Dershowitz responded: "How would you feel if as a result of your service, a number of people came down with the illness and several of them died?"
"You can always have a service next week or next month," he added.
"There are other ways of communicating with God in a way that risks further contagion."
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