A measure filed by State Sen. George Burns would modify the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act to ensure government entities cannot close churches, religious institutions, or houses of worship.
This a response to the closure of churches and houses of worship across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate Bill 216 would add that the closure of a religious institution, or the declaration of a religious institution as “non-essential,” would be deemed a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion. The measure also states that a government entity cannot restrict access to religious facilities or gatherings as long as the institution is not engaged in illegal activities.
“Many churches across the nation were forced to close their doors due to government overreach during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Burns said. “Fortunately, my church carried on in a safe manner.