Ariz. lawmakers advance bill privileging churches over protecting public health



A few weeks ago, we urged you to speak out against HB 2648, an Arizona bill that would declare religious services “an essential service” and make it virtually impossible for the state to impose health, safety or occupancy requirements on church services due to an emergency.

This bill has advanced through both House and Senate Committees and your lawmakers need to hear your opposition to it today.

In addition to the dangerous provision involving emergency orders, this bill contains astoundingly broad language that, as written, would give churches a “get out of jail free” card for virtually any law. The bill states that the government, including courts, may not impose any “monetary fee, civil or criminal penalty, damages award, or injunction” against a religious organization in connection with the organization’s exercise of religion.

If this language were passed into law, churches that were caught covering up sexual abuse could argue that they are immune from all civil and criminal penalties, so long as they argue that their conduct was related to their religious exercise. And this is just one example — on its face the provision is so broad that it would apply to all penalties that an organization claims connected to its exercise of religion. Arizona lawmakers must be made aware that this provision was slid into HB 2648.

Please take a few moments to contact your state lawmakers and urge them to oppose this bill. Click on the red “Take Action” link below and feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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