(ConservativeHub.com) – Houses of worship endured not only the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also quarantines and other restrictive measures. Several religious groups filed lawsuits against their respective state government to little avail. However, matters appear to have taken a turn for the better in terms of religious liberties in Texas.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed a new bill into law on Tuesday, June 15, prohibiting government officials and agencies from ordering houses of worship and churches to close. He announced his signing of the Freedom to Worship Act in a tweet stating that the First Amendment right to religious freedom “shall not be infringed.” The bill received broad support. It passed in the Texas House 113 to 30 and in the Senate 28 to 3.
I just signed a law that prohibits any government agency or public official from issuing an order that closes places of worship.
The First Amendment right to freedom of religion shall never be infringed.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 15, 2021
State Rep. Scott Sanford (R-Dallas), the sponsor of House Bill 1239, praised the passage of the measure. As he explained, churches provide “essential” mental, physical, and spiritual “support in a time of crisis.” He and Abbott argue that the closure of churches during the pandemic eliminated important services and ministries and denied participants their constitutionally protected rights and freedoms.
Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz issued a statement about the bill’s passage, noting that the measure shows “rogue government officials” that their power is limited. Churches are “essential” to the public’s welfare and “must be protected.”
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