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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Several conservative Christian leaders have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Roy Cooper pushing for courts to throw out restrictions that are preventing indoor religious services. 

A Winston-Salem pastor and churches all over the state want to hold their church services inside of their buildings. But the governor’s Executive order is only allowing churches to hold their services outside in parking lots while practicing social distancing. 

“We’ve been out long enough, it’s time to get back,” said Pastor Ronnie Baity, who leads Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. 

Fighting for change, Pastor Baity, Return America and People Baptist Church Inc. filed a lawsuit against Gov. Cooper claiming the state’s executive order infringes on the church’s first amendment rights. People from all over North Carolina attended this rally in agreement. 

“We asked a federal judge to put this thing on hold to sustain the duration in which we’re going and let us get back into our churches until the lawsuit itself is finally heard, so it’s a restraining order, to begin with,” said Baity.  

Baity told FOX8 Thursday afternoon that he understands and takes this virus very seriously. Baity plans to incorporate social distancing practices and sanitizing in the church once they’re allowed to reopen. But not everyone like High Point Pastor Ray Campbell of First Emmanuel Baptist Church is ready to see congregants inside of his church.  

“The sanctuary is behind us but the church is in our hearts,” said Campbell. 

Campbell takes the unknowns of the virus very seriously especially because he shepherds an older African American congregation. 

“Through the fact that it is dealing with the African American communities more prevalent, I just feel that it’s safe for us, especially the African Americans, to be able to just enjoy one another but do it in a safe manner,” he said.

The lawsuit also makes mention of how churches should be able to gather like many other businesses.  

“Three weeks ago, we sent to the governor with the names of 200 pastors and churches asking him to allow us to operate with the same conditions that the public sector is operating under. I say public sector and I’m saying Walmart, Lowe’s, abortion clinics, etc.,” said Baity. 

Pastor Baity says the courts have already assigned this lawsuit to a judge.