A long list of religious leaders signed onto a letter sent Tuesday requesting that Congress’ next coronavirus relief package include legal immunity for religious organizations reopening amid an onslaught of new regulations surrounding the pandemic.
“[I]n the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a proliferation of complex and often contradictory orders and guidelines at the state, county, and local levels, each purporting to govern when and how to reopen,” read the letter, signed by pastor Franklin Graham, actor Kirk Cameron, and dozens of pastors. In total, the letter has 300 signatories.
“Unfortunately, no religious organization—or any organization—can follow every guideline or order that has been issued around the country. We are concerned that some people—and their lawyers—will cherry pick certain guidelines from around the nation in order to assign liability to religious organizations. They might claim that a religious organization or a house of worship was negligent because it did not follow a single recommendation buried deep within a set of guidelines.”
Spearheaded by the legal non-profit First Liberty Institute, the appeal underscores national uncertainty as businesses and organizations return to normal after the economic shutdown.
“Churches, synagogues, and America’s houses of worship have provided critical care, comfort, and calm in the midst of the uncertainty caused by a worldwide pandemic,” said Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO, and Chief Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Providing this reasonable measure of protection to religious organizations and houses of worship in America will ensure that they can continue performing their vital functions of serving Americans and ministering to all of our spiritual and physical needs. (Read more from “Faith Leaders Ask Congress to Grant Legal Immunity to Religious Organizations Reopening Amid Pandemic” HERE)