IL Pastor Sues Sheriff and State’s Attorney to Ensure Religious Liberty During Pandemic

Illinois Family Institute

For Immediate Release

Contact: David E. Smith 773-858-6602


Illinois Pastor Sues Sheriff and State’s Attorney to Ensure Religious Liberty

Cites IL Governor Executive Order as Constitutionally Unenforceable

Pastor Richard Gionvannetti, of Standing in the Word MinistriesMorris, IL, May 30, 2020 – Headlines claiming victory over IL Gov. Pritzker’s limiting church services may be premature. With the new “guidance” issued May 28 by the Illinois Department of Public Health that provide “direction” for safely conducting services, churches may be saying Amen too soon. The guidance did not overturn the limitations contained in continuing worship restrictions contained in Pritzker’s April 30, 2020 Executive Order 2020-32. 

A suit to prohibit the Grundy County State’s Attorney and Sheriff from enforcing Governor Pritzker’s worship restrictions has been filed by a local church. Pastor Richard Gionvannetti, of Standing in the Word Ministries, is seeking court protection to ensure that all citizens’ constitutional rights are affirmed without question and that religious liberties are not ever again infringed by egregious government overreach.

While EO 2020-32 remains in place, all houses of worship remain in legal jeopardy.

The seven-count lawsuit filed on Thursday, May 28, indicates IL Governor Pritzker was acting without legal authority in issuing any Corona Virus Executive Orders beyond 30 days without legislative approval and defied the US Constitution, the Illinois State Constitution, and IL state statutes.

The pastor and congregation are represented by Attorney David Shestokas. He stated, “The Bill of Rights has no emergency exceptions. Although the governor has issued orders, the constitutionally independent Sheriffs and State’s Attorneys are tasked with enforcement. Court injunctions against enforcing Pritzker’s illegal orders are an appropriate remedy in protecting our freedoms. While we all must act responsibly during the corona virus  pandemic, it is irresponsible to forfeit our freedom.”

Pastor Giovannetti’s lawsuit seeks to permanently prohibit the sheriff and state’s attorney from enforcing the unlawful Executive Orders and any subsequent order issued with substantively the same restrictions upon the constitutional rights of Free Exercise of religious worship, Free Speech, and Freedom to Assemble.

Illinois Family InstituteAs a board member of the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) and a pastor, Giovannetti is passionate representing living within the Constitution. “The church is the source of holding the nation accountable. Churches need to assemble. As our nation’s heart and soul, we must and will be diligent and vigilant as we stay the course until freedoms are restored and the unconstitutional edict is eradicated,” he said.

The statewide IFI and its Executive Director David E. Smith, vigorously support the efforts and strategy of the lawsuit. “We would like to secure a judicial ruling striking down this tyrannical precedent so that the state of Illinois may never have to experience this again. It doesn’t take much foresight to realize how similar future orders could be mandated (and extended) in the name of safety,” Mr. Smith said.


For full text of Complaint:

Standing in the Word v. State’s Attorney and Sheriff  2020CH23

About IFI: The Illinois Family Institute (IFI) is an independent 501c(3) non-profit ministry dedicated to upholding and re-affirming marriage, family, life and liberty in Illinois. Since 1992, IFI has worked to advance public policy initiatives consistent with Judeo-Christian teachings and traditions, educating citizens so that they can better influence their local communities and the state.

Twitter: @ProFamilyIL      Facebook:  Illinois Family Institute      Youtube: ILFamilyInstitute

Pastor Richard Giovannetti and Attorney David Shestokas discuss

Standing in the Word Ministries

Lawsuit Challenging the Illinois Church Covid19 Lockdown



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