Nearly 30 church leaders in Scotland are suing the government and asking for a review to be performed by the courts on pandemic lockdowns restricting churches.

It is a criminal offense "in the highest tiers" for churches to hold services in-person in Scotland, the Christian Post reports.

Church leaders say in their claim that lockdown restrictions have led to the criminalization of public worship. This, they say, violates Articles nine and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Scottish Constitution.

The 27 church leaders sent a letter last month to Scottish Ministers after new lockdown orders took effect in Scotland a week into the new year.

The letter states that government Ministers in Scotland have "failed to appreciate that the closure of places of worship is a disproportionate step, and one which has serious implications for freedom of religion.

"Scotland is the only nation in the United Kingdom that has closed places of worship at this present time and this action is also out of step with the restrictions that have been put in place in other countries," the letter reads.

The Scottish Government Legal Dictorate has responded to the letter and maintains the government has taken acceptable steps during the pandemic to ensure public health and safety.

"It is open to the state to regulate the secular activities of Churches including, as here, for the purposes of protecting public health," the letter from the Scottish Government Legal Dictorate says.

Rev. Nathan Owens of Maxwell Church in Kilmaurs says he is concerned people are in need of in-person services in spite of COVID-19.

"We think churches being open is not only a human right or a Scottish constitutional matter, but is one of the most vitally important ways our society can respond to this pandemic," Owens says.

Posted by Grace Baptist Church Aberdeen on Friday, February 5, 2021

Pastor John William-Noble from Grace Baptist Church in Aberdeen says churches have worked to adhere to government guidelines to ensure the health and safety of church attendees.

"Churches have demonstrated that they are one of the most COVID-secure parts of society," Williams-Noble says.