Catholic Knights of Columbus Sue Biden for Banning Memorial Day Mass

( The Catholic Knights of Columbus have filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden for barring them from holding a Memorial Day mass at a national cemetery in Virginia. The group has held the ceremony every Memorial Day since 1960, but the National Park Service (NPS) is now classifying the service as a “demonstration.”

The NPS is banning the Knights from conducting their mass service as part of a rule that was passed in the 1980s. The rule considers religious services as demonstrations, which are not allowed. There has always been an exemption that allows commemorative events for holidays including Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.

In 2022, the NPS said religious demonstrations that are likely to attract onlookers need to happen somewhere else. Alex Viets, a representative for the Petersburg National Battlefield said that federal cemeteries are intended to honor military members who have died in service to the country. He further stated that commemorative events in the cemetery need to be related to military service or be historically significant to the specific cemetery.

The Knights’ attorney John Moran sent out a press release calling the ban a violation of the first amendment and religious freedom. Roger Byron of the First Liberty Institute said he expects the ban will be overturned and believes there must be a miscommunication that caused this to happen. He said it is a clear violation of religious freedom if the ban is not overturned by the NPS.

Since the filing of the lawsuit, the NPS has given the Knights a permit to conduct their mass service on Memorial Day. Moran and Byron celebrated the news and thanked the NPS for reversing their decision. They also thanked Governor Youngkin and AG Miyares for their support. Miyares issued a statement saying that both religious and non-religious groups have a right to mourn the loss of military members. He also said it was disgraceful that the group was originally denied the permit to conduct their ceremony.

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