Legislation supported by State Representative Jack Jordan (R-Bremen) protecting Hoosiers’ right to gather for religious worship services during future public emergencies is now law.
During the early months of the pandemic, in-person religious services were prohibited, which Jordan said cut constituents off from critical services and connections. Senate Enrolled Act 263 prohibits the state or other government bodies from restricting the right to worship in-person, classifying religious gatherings as essential. Jordan said other religious activities like food pantries, daycare or school services can also not be more restricted than other essential services.
“This is the right move to protect the religious freedoms of all Hoosiers,” Jordan said. “How, when and where someone chooses to practice their religion and worship is so important, it was the first amendment to the Constitution. Religious worship helps people during times of need. Hoosiers suffered for many months as a direct result of the restrictions we saw during the pandemic. We never want to see that happen again.”
Americans’ mental health in 2020 was worse than at any point in the last two decades, according to an annual Gallup poll. Frequent church attendees showed the least change in their mental health ratings, which Jordan said is a strong sign that religious institutions are vital to society.
Senate Enrolled Act 263 is effective July 1, 2021. Visit iga.in.gov for more information.