by Jorge Gomez • 3 min read
As America’s houses of worship begin to carefully and safely reopen, First Liberty Institute continues to lead the national effort to ensure religious freedom is preserved and protected.
Last week, our legal team informed Congress in written testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that America’s houses of worship fear a wave of lawsuits that would force many to cease their operations.
But it isn’t just our attorneys who are calling on Congress to protect houses of worship and people of faith. The faith community nationwide is going “All In Together” to help ensure that legal attacks on people of faith don’t continue during the reopening phase of this pandemic.
Our written testimony included a letter signed by more than 250 pastors, rabbis, priests, and other national religious leaders asking that Congress include immunity for religious organizations from negligence suits resulting from their serving the public or reopening in accordance with local orders.
Signatories to the letter include: Franklin Graham, President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and BGEA; Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values; Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Dr. James Dobson, Ph.D., Founder and President of Dr. James Dobson Family Policy Institute; Tony Perkins, President of The Family Research Council; Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life; Jessica Anderson, Executive Director, Heritage Action for America; and Timothy Head, Executive Director, Faith and Freedom Coalition, among hundreds of others.
You can read First Liberty’s written testimony and letter from America’s religious leaders here.
ALL IN TOGETHER
Tell Congress to Protect America’s Houses of Worship as They Reopen
Whether Orthodox Jewish synagogues in New York, inner-city churches in Houston, or faith-based non-profits providing relief from coast to coast, religious organizations and their leaders are concerned about the threat and potential swarm of lawsuits blaming houses of worship and religious ministries for the actions of any person who attended a religious gathering.
Although these lawsuits should eventually prove meritless, the cost of defending against them would have devastating consequences. Many of the same religious organizations who rushed to provide aid and comfort to those affected by COVID-19 now find themselves struggling financially. And a wave of lawsuits would force many to close their doors altogether, whether due to the cost of litigation, or the mere specter of it.
America’s houses of worship have provided critical care, comfort and calm in the midst of uncertainty. As our nation begins to reopen, Congress should provide houses of worship the assurance that they can continue to be good Samaritans to the oppressed and the downtrodden.