The inclusion of Christian singer Lauren Daigle in a New Year’s Eve celebration has sparked a dispute between New Orleans’ mayor and several state officials.
The controversy began when the Grammy Award-winning artist was announced as a performer in the Dec. 31 broadcast of ABC’s Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, which will be broadcast live from several locations, including from New Orleans’ Jackson Square.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell criticized the inclusion of Daigle, saying the singer had placed the city’s residents at risk of COVID-19 by performing at an outdoor worship protest with worship leader Sean Feucht. The worship service in the French Quarter was conducted without a permit, Cantrell said in a letter to Dick Clark Productions.
“She harmed our people, she risked the lives of our residents, and she strained our first responders in a way that is unconscionable – in the midst of a public health crisis,” the Dec. 9 letter said. “This is not who we are, and she cannot be allowed to represent New Orleans or the people she willfully endangered.”
Daigle “cannot and should not be rewarded with national media exposure,” Cantrell wrote.
The mayor asked that Daigle be removed from the lineup.
On Monday, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry defended Daigle, saying he was “shocked and dismayed” by Cantrell’s comments. Landry said Daigle had “encountered the protesters” while riding her bike and agreed to “sing one song with them.” Daigle is a Louisiana native.
“The Louisiana Legislature reinforced the rights of individuals to worship freely by adopting the Preservation of Religious Freedom Act,” Landry wrote in a letter to Daigle. “… State and federal law protect your right to assemble in a public square to worship and protest. United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch has recently explained that the ‘Government is not free to disregard the First Amendment in times of crisis.’ … Additionally, you are entitled to protection from tortious interference with your private contractual relationships.”
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SOURCE: Christian Headlines, Michael Foust