Churches could be protected from COVID-19 penalties due to Louisiana House Bill 9

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MONROE, LA (KTVE/KARD) “We’ve been really fortunate we’ve not had any what I would call outbreaks related to church worship” says Bill Dye, Lead Pastor at North Monroe Baptist Church

The 2020 Secondary Extraordinary Session is offering a bill that would provide for civil and criminal liability immunity for religious assembly during declared public emergencies… which would be retroactive to March 11th.

It stems from a Louisiana pastor, Tony Spell, who faced multiple charges – accused of holding church services in defiance of a state ban on mass gatherings back in March.

Pastor Bill Dye tells us that he can see reasons for the bill moving through… as well as the COVID restrictions in place.

“In our particular situation, we feel like the restrictions that have placed upon us were reasonable” Dye says.

He ultimately leaves the choice up to his followers.

“We didn’t really strongly encourage our people to come back because we want them to come back when they’re comfortable, we want them to come back when they’re safe. But we wanted to offer it for those who, you know, felt safe and felt comfortable” Dye said.

Dye does this while keeping worshippers who decide to come in person safe with multiple services… reduced capacities, socially distanced pews, hand sanitizer, masks, fog machines and temperature checks.

They even give members the option to wear a mask or not, all while following current guidelines.

“Whenever those governing authorities don’t ask us to do something that’s in direct violation of the word of god… we’re going to be sensitive to that and… responsive to that. but we also understand and appreciate other people who may feel differently about the way they exercise religion” Dye said.

The bill has already been approved by a 6/3 vote from a House Committee, and has successfully made its way through the House. It is now on its way to the Senate.

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