Action Alert

Urge Missouri lawmakers not to exempt religion from Covid-19 protections

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The Missouri Legislature is advancing several bad Covid-related bills that would jeopardize public health in favor of preferential treatment for churches.

Please join FFRF in calling on state lawmakers to reject these dangerous bills and instead prioritize the public safety of all Missouri residents.

The first two bills, HB 61 and HB 575, would prohibit emergency executive orders in the state from restricting worship services, giving religious gatherings preference over other secular gatherings and events. Another, HB 746, would additionally require hospitals to allow clergy to visit terminally ill patients in defiance of limits on outside guests to curb the spread of Covid-19. Finally, HB 308 would require that worship services be exempted from all social distancing requirements.

If passed, this package of bills would strip state and local leaders of nearly every tool shown to save lives by slowing the spread of this deadly virus. Governments already regularly limit worship gatherings that jeopardize public health. For instance, the government prohibits churches from cramming too many people into a building in violation of fire codes and also requires that church buildings comply with necessary building codes. Preventing large gatherings due to a pandemic is even more crucial. Limiting the size and scope of religious gatherings is not a ban on worship any more than speed limits are a ban on driving.

Read FFRF’s Covid state/church resources guide for more information.

The Missouri House Special Committee on Government Accountability has a hearing scheduled on these bills on Monday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. Please use our automated system to contact all members of this committee and urge them to prioritize public health and safety over the special interests of religious groups. Click on the red “Take Action” link below and feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided. You can also submit testimony on these bills through the committee’s website.

TAKE ACTION!

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