Arizona Congressman Biggs: Social Distancing Violates Religious Freedom — Churches Should Be Open
Governors across several states have temporarily restricted large gatherings to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. These bans usually apply to churches and other houses of worship, which have moved to providing online and remote services to members.
In a letter to the Trump administration, Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs says these policies violate the First Amendment.
The letter cites the governor of Kentucky's decision to track license plates of people violating the state's stay-at-home order and order them to quarantine for 14 days as a violation of religious freedom under the First Amendment.
"Every American is free to decide whether to risk gathering in order to worship their God," the letter said. "Every house of worship should be given the opportunity to establish safe social distancing practices that minimize the risk of attending. It is impossible to argue that attending a worship service is any riskier than visiting the grocery store, and yet community worship is just as essential for many faiths as access to food."
Biggs and Republican Georgia Congressman Jody Hice, who co-authored the letter, argue that churches should be considered essential services.
"Worse still is that many states have allowed businesses far less essential than a house of worship, such as liquor stores, to remain open," the letter said.