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Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Kirk Cameron Urge Congress to Protect Religious Orgs from COVID-19 Lawsuits

05-18-2020
Christians worshipping at Hillsong NYC (AP Photo)

Nearly 300 religious leaders are urging Congress to protect faith-based organizations from facing possible lawsuits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter explains that there is concern over a possible "swarm of lawsuits" from people who may say they've contracted COVID-19 while at church or after receiving charitable services from a religious group.

As a result, those who signed the letter are requesting that Congress include liability restrictions for religious organizations in the next COVID-19 economic recovery package.  

Evangelist Franklin Graham, Dr. James Dobson, author Eric Metaxas, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, and actor Kirk Cameron are among those who signed and submitted the letter to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary last Tuesday.

"To avoid these unintended consequences, we propose that Congress act swiftly to provide immunity or limited liability for religious organizations from negligence suits resulting from their serving the public or reopening in accordance with local orders," the letter reads. "America's faith communities and places of worship have always been at the forefront of ensuring that the hungry are fed, the naked are clothed, and the homeless are sheltered." 

The letter highlights that protecting churches and charitable organizations will allow them to continue serving the needs of others.

"Providing this reasonable measure of protection to religious organizations and houses of worship in America will ensure that they can continue performing their vital functions of serving Americans and ministering to all of our spiritual and physical needs," the letter continues. 

And the written statement also mentions that the requested liability protection models what medical professionals and businesses have received throughout the pandemic.

"Such protection could be modeled generally after the COVID-19 laws and orders that limit liability for medical professionals and commercial entities that manufacture and sell protective equipment by establishing a gross negligence or willful misconduct standard," the letter read. "This simple, common-sense solution will provide religious organizations desperately needed protection from simple negligence lawsuits."

The letter was submitted to the committee by the First Liberty Institute, a religious rights law firm. 

"First Liberty Institute, therefore, urges Congress to provide the assurance that America's faith communities can continue to be good Samaritans to the oppressed and the downtrodden as our nation begins its slow rebuilding," the letter concluded.

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