Oklahoma House Passes Bill That Bans Government from Closing Churches and Places of Worship

Congregants kneel and observe social distancing while celebrating Mass at a Los Angeles cathedral. | Damian Dovarganes/AP Photo

The Oklahoma House overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday that would ban the government from closing churches and places of worship in scenarios like the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act passed the state’s House of Representatives 80-18 and now heads to the state’s Senate.

“People came to this continent seeking religious freedom and to escape a tyrannical government, and our country’s founders had the wisdom to specifically outline the freedom to worship in one of our founding documents,” Oklahoma state Republican Rep. Brian Hill, who sponsored the bill, said Wednesday, KOCO 5 News reported.

“My faith, like many Oklahomans, is at the core of who I am, and this bill further protects our God-given right to worship,” Hill added. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The bill defines the phrase “substantially burden” to mean “to inhibit or curtail religiously motivated practice,” declaring that  closing places of worship is a substantial burden on Oklahoma citizens’ freedom of religion.

“This country was founded by individuals seeking freedom to worship in the manner they so choose without persecution,” Oklahoma state Republican Rep. Jon Echols said, KOCO 5 News reported. “I can think of nothing more patriotic than protecting those rights for future generations.”

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SOURCE: NTD, The Daily Caller

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