Urge Tenn. lawmakers not to exempt religion from pandemic protections



The Tennessee Legislature is advancing a bad Covid-related bill that will jeopardize public health in favor of preferential treatment for churches. Please call on state lawmakers to reject this dangerous bill and instead prioritize the public safety of all Tennessee residents.

The bill, HB 1137, prevents emergency orders from prohibiting or imposing restrictions on religious gatherings, even in the event of a deadly pandemic. If passed, this bill would strip state and local leaders of a critical tool shown to save lives by slowing the spread of this deadly virus and would give preference to religious gatherings over secular ones.

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 research guide for more information.

The Tennessee House Civil Justice Committee has a hearing on this bill on Wednesday, March 17, at 12:30 p.m. local time. Please click on the red “Take Action” link below to contact all members of the committee and urge them to vote no on this bill. Feel free to use or adapt the talking points provided.


Freedom From Religion Foundation

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