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Biggs and Hice Express Great Concern for the Right to Religious Freedom

April 11, 2020
Press Release

GILBERT, ARIZONA – Today, Congressman Andy Biggs and Congressman Jody Hice sent a letter to President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Attorney General William Barr, expressing great concern for the right to religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.

Read the letter below:

April 11, 2020

 

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20502

The Honorable Michael R. Pence
Vice President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Attorney General William Barr
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Attorney General Barr, 

Thank you for your steadfast leadership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have no doubt our nation benefits from your commitment to serving and that, working together, we will defeat this virus.

We write to you out of great concern for the right to religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governors and local leaders around the country have issued orders of varying restriction on their communities to slow the spread of the virus. Calling on individuals to have greater awareness of their environments, keep reasonable distance from others, and strive to maintain better hygiene may all be warranted as we continue to confront the many unknowns of this virus. Prohibitions on worship have no place in these restrictions.

Members of many faiths are called upon to gather in community to worship. And the First Amendment protects their right to do so. Sadly, many leaders around the country have taken this pandemic as an opportunity to deem worship gatherings non-essential. In fact, recent reports indicate the Governor of Kentucky will be tracking the license plates of any individuals attending Easter services and subsequently forcing them to quarantine for fourteen days. There is no place for this behavior in America. 

Every American is free to decide whether to risk gathering in order to worship their God. Every house of worship should be given the opportunity to establish safe social distancing practices that minimize the risk of attending. It is impossible to argue that attending a worship service is any riskier than visiting the grocery store, and yet community worship is just as essential for many faiths as access to food. Worse still is that many states have allowed businesses far less essential than a house of worship, such as liquor stores, to remain open.

With Easter quickly approaching, we hope that you will swiftly review these restrictive policies and work to uphold the First Amendment rights that we hold so very dear.

Sincerely,

Andy Biggs
Member of Congress

Jody Hice
Member of Congress

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