Ep. 06: Stay-at-home orders, religious freedom and RFRA

Mar 26, 2020

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 (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. 

Segment 1: How do government-issued stay-at-home orders impact religious exercise? (Starting at 00:40)

Read the Pew Forum survey on why people attend religious services at this link.


Segment 2: The Religious Freedom Restoration Act and religious exemptions (starting at 15:40)

Read about the pastor who continues to hold church services in Louisiana in this article by Daniel Silliman in Christianity Today: Pentecostal Pastor Won’t Stop Church for COVID-19.

Learn more about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) at BJConline.org/RFRA.

For more on the current Supreme Court case examining RFRA remedies (Tanzin v. Tanvir), visit this link on our website.


Segment 3: Where did we see religion respected in our world? Religious communities react to the coronavirus (30:58)

Read the story about a pastor who preached to photos of his congregants in this story by David Wilkinson in Baptist News Global: Don’t mess with Texas, COVID-19: this church packed the pews on Sunday.

Read the story about the Alabama church that provided space to test people for coronavirus in this article by Sarah Pulliam Bailey in The Washington Post: A megachurch has helped test nearly 1,000 people for coronavirus in two days.

Respecting Religion is made possible by BJC’s generous donors. You can support these conversations with a gift to BJC.