La. residents could soon vote on religious rights
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana took its own approach to the pandemic, issuing various waves of restrictions that dictated which places could open their doors and how many were allowed to enter, including churches.
And it’s why state leaders like Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, want to ensure people keep their right to attend church in person, despite a public health emergency.
“In the latest action that we went through with the pandemic, churches were the last gathering place that were allowed to open,” said Sen. Mizell.
SB63 does not restrict your church from practicing indoors or outside, it merely holds your right to worship in person to a higher standard than the one it’s currently held to.
“This bill attempts to affirm a right that was put in place at our founding which is the freedom of worship,” explained Sen. Mizell.
The panel of lawmakers from both sides unanimously supported the bill.
“Thank you so much for this and bringing this bill,” said Rep. Larry Frieman, R-Abita Springs. “I totally support it.”
“Freedom of worship is something that should be held in the highest regard and protected in the highest regard,” echoed Rep. Sam Jenkins Jr., D-Shreveport.
While stores like Walmart or Home Depot were allowed to open their doors after being deemed essential businesses and places like Life Tabernacle Church in Central were not, folks like Pastor Tony Spell even faced criminal penalties for defying the governor’s orders. Some people were not so bothered, but others felt their rights were being neglected.
“The freedom to peacefully assemble and the freedom of religious expression were casualties of war during COVID-19,” said Pastor John Raymond with New Horizon Church in Slidell. “While some may consider our freedom of religious expression and our right to worship with our spiritual family an optional privilege, I urge you to recognize that it is an absolute right and must never again be compromised in times of crisis.”
If the idea makes out of the Louisiana State Capitol, it will go before voters at the polls as a constitutional amendment, meaning citizens would get to decide, and the governor has no veto power over it. And as bipartisan support on this one continues to grow, it stands a good chance at ending up on ballots.
Click here to report a typo.
Copyright 2022 WAFB. All rights reserved.