Clerics react to lawmaker’s proposed protections for places of worship

During a pandemic, he wants them treated the same as any secular business or assembly
Rep. Alan Seabaugh testifies April 25, 2022, before the Louisiana House Civil Law and Procedure...
Rep. Alan Seabaugh testifies April 25, 2022, before the Louisiana House Civil Law and Procedure Committee.
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 3:35 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2022 at 3:38 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — A northwest Louisiana lawmaker wants to ensure that places of worship will be treated the same as any other entity the next time a pandemic or other emergency arises.

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, all but essential businesses were asked to close their doors. Rep. Alan Seabaugh doesn’t want churches, synagogues and temples to go through that again.

The Shreveport Republican’s House Bill 953 would prevent Louisiana from putting any restriction on such places of worship that is greater than the least severe restriction that is imposed on or enforced against any secular business, service or assembly.

“What we want to do with this bill is say that churches have the highest level of protection. If you’re going to close churches and leave abortion clinics and casinos open we’re going to say that it may not be a good idea and we’re going to give churches the maximum amount of protection that you give any other entity,” said Seabaugh.

On Monday, Seabaugh spoke before the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee, which favorably reported his legislation.

Shreveport Community Church Senior Pastor Denny Duron and Morning Star Pastor Theron Jackson both have different opinions on HB 953.

“When there is a demand on churches to shut down and to me, that’s a scary thing in America and I think pastors can use their own discretion and wisdom as to how he handles his congregation,” Duron said.

“People, in my opinion, end up misguided because they believe the church is about getting together. To use a football analogy, you begin football games in a huddle, but you don’t win football games in a huddle, you got to get out and do something,” Jackson said.

The bill has been voted favorably by the committee, and will go to the House of Representatives floor for debate.

Below is the text of Seabaugh’s proposal:

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