MONROE, La. (KNOE) – U.S. Senator John Kennedy, R-La., wants the capacity cap on Louisiana’s places of worship to be lifted. According to his office on Monday, he wrote a letter to Governor John Bel Edwards asking that places of worship be deemed “essential businesses.”
Kennedy said our nation needs people of faith to come together now more than ever. The free exercise of religion is also a constitutional right in the United States.
“According to your guidance, “essential businesses” do not have uniform capacity limits and instead are trusted to determine individual safety requirements in coordination with the state. Places of worship, therefore, should also be exempt from mandatory capacity limits and their pastors and leaders entrusted to choose the best course of action for their congregations,” Kennedy said in the letter.
Places of worship in Louisiana right now have a 50% occupancy cap as part of the governor’s emergency order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Edwards has been resistant to exceptions for churches in the past as it could lead to a larger number of people gathering indoors and, subsequently, more spread of the coronavirus.
Kennedy, though, said there is precedent for allowing large gatherings when constitutional rights come into the picture. He pointed to the recent protests following the death of George Floyd. Across America, large crowds gathered to demand police reform, exercising one of their constitutional rights, despite multiple orders against large gatherings across the country.
You can read the full letter here.
Copyright 2020 KNOE. All rights reserved.