New law prohibits state from limiting religious services

Texas voters on Tuesday (Nov. 2) overwhelmingly supported a measure barring governments from taking any kind of action that limits religious services, such as the public health orders that shut down houses of worship and businesses earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposition 3, which will add a clause to the Texas Constitution forbidding state or local authorities from prohibiting or limiting religious services, garnered 62.4% of votes, according to unofficial results from the Texas secretary of state

The measure had the support of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and some other — but not all — religious groups.

John Greiner, who pastors the nondenominational Glorious Way Church in Houston, called the measure crucial. He said individual churches and people who go to church “should be in charge of their own health care decisions, their own risks-to-reward behaviors.”

“The church should be the place where people go to get healed. There’s lots of churches and some don’t believe in healing. … They should be free to close if that’s what they want to do, but I don’t think that the government should impose that upon any group at all,” Greiner told Religion News Service.

Amanda Tyler, executive director for the Baptist Joint Committee, said the measure was overly broad and unnecessary. She previously told RNS it sends “a damaging message that religious people are more concerned about special treatment than they are about the good of their communities.”

Tyler said Texas already has strong protections, pointing to the state’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act “that we believe provides the right balancing standard to decide issues in the free exercise rights of individuals and communities (that) might come into conflict with government interests.”

2 thoughts on “New law prohibits state from limiting religious services

  1. ratwrangler

    While the Constitution never intended for Church and State to be completely separate, decisions made by the Supreme Court made it so. If this is indeed the case, then our government has no business creating different rules for religious organizations than for other businesses. If the State felt it was necessary to limit the interactions of people within businesses, then the Church should have either been bound by those limits, or not at all, rather than having a different set of rules. The only thing that should have determined which rules the Church had to follow was whether or not they were to be considered essential. Essential businesses have a different set of rules than nonessential ones.

  2. Kim

    Churches were not closed because of Covid, they were closed due to politics and lack of guts of pastors who failed their congregations by not fighting. Everywhere where pastors fought back they won. If pastors and Christians in general are not willing to be martyrs for our great Christian Church then expect to be persecuted anyway. Again pastors who stood up and fought back won big in the courts, both by getting our religious freedom back and the governments being forced to pay financially for what they did. Pastors open your churches so you can sue and so your congregations know you care by your actions not your words. Words are cheap actions are not!


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