Restrictions on Religious Freedom During the Coronavirus Crisis

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans (for whom faith is essential) are grappling with how to adapt to government gathering restrictions—policies which have transformed how many parishioners are spiritually fed during the coronavirus. While many churches are conducting services through live streams, “drive-in” services, and other means, questions remain. Many have questioned whether these restrictions are appropriate, and whether—when applied to religious activity—they are unconstitutional or violate religious freedom protections. How should the faith community think about the government’s guidance in light of the restrictions? How should we think about religious liberty during a national pandemic when the government assumes greater power?

In this Issue Brief, we will discuss these concerns, with a particular focus on the different restrictions affecting religious activity, whether they violate religious liberty, and how churches and houses of worship can move forward and respond to the pandemic.

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