The arrest of a pastor intensifies the debate over whether religious gatherings should, or even must, be exempt from public health orders. While some states and local governments have made a point of explicitly allowing religious gatherings to occur, others have not.
As the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus, Congress passed and the president signed stimulus packages that impact businesses and nonprofits. But, what does this mean for houses of worship? On this week’s Respecting Religion, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman review the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (starting at 5:35), provisions of the CARES Act (15:45) – including the Paycheck Protection Program Loans (20:10) and increased charitable giving incentives – and more. They discuss new requirements and opportunities for nonprofits and what houses of worship need to consider when determining whether to apply for financial relief programs. In the third segment, Amanda and Holly explore how religious communities are caring for people in new ways during this time.
BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman reviews the COVID-19 stimulus packages and questions houses of worship should consider. “We know that many Baptists are concerned about the constitutionality and advisability of financial entanglements with the government, and rightly so.”
The U.S. Navy joined the trend among American military branches in expanding the ability of service members to wear religiously motivated head covering and beards.
What does it mean for religious liberty when the government asks houses of worship not to hold services in the middle of a pandemic? Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman look at the impact of the coronavirus on religious communities and how they are responding (starting at 6:13). Plus, they explore a key law that keeps coming up in these conversations: the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (starting at 23:03). In the final segment, Amanda and Holly share how the stay-at-home orders are impacting them and how churches are finding new ways to serve in this time.
Because of the special protections in place under federal and state law for religious free exercise, some states are choosing to exempt religious services from orders forbidding gatherings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Supreme Court postponed oral arguments out of public health concerns, impacting two upcoming cases with possible religious liberty implications: Tanzin v. Tanvir and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru.
The coronavirus is leading many conversations this week, and we’ll talk about how it has impacted religious communities during this unprecedented time. But first, Amanda Tyler and Holly Holllman take a look at several Supreme Court cases this term that deal with protections for workers from employment discrimination that could have implications for religious organizations. They break down the term “because of sex” in Title VII (starting at 4:30) and discuss the ministerial exception (18:20), an important part of the law that protects religious organizations. On the final segment, Amanda and Holly share how the coronavirus is impacting – and showcasing – religion in the lives of Americans and how we can lean into a theology of abundance during this time (34:40).
Maine is the latest state to wrestle with religious exemptions for vaccinations, joining Connecticut, Massachusetts and Texas.
We are leaning into that first word in our tagline – faith – and our distinctive nature as a faith-based group. While the day-in, day-out work of our mission may seem less urgent as we face a global public health crisis, the heart of our mission remains vital. Ensuring that every person has the freedom to believe and to act on those beliefs without unnecessary government interference is core to a flourishing human existence.