Across the country, we are seeing a wave of bills to create special rights for churches to ignore public health restrictions and hold in-person gatherings.
In Arizona, lawmakers are considering HB 2648, which prevents religious organizations from being subject to restrictions if any secular business or organization is exempt.
For example, if hospitals are allowed to remain open, then churches must be allowed to remain open.
Public health experts believe that church gatherings may be especially likely to spread COVID-19, and there is ample evidence to support this conclusion. And yet, Arizona lawmakers are considering giving churches the right to meet even if similar secular organizations are closed.
This doesn’t merely affect church congregations and religious schools. These in-person gatherings can be a vector to spread COVID-19 throughout a community.