Bassler: Protecting religious freedom during public emergencies

From the Office of State Senator, Eric Bassler – District 39:

“Religious faith plays an integral role in the daily lives of Hoosiers across the state, and even more so during times of crisis. The unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic surely put an undue stress on many of us, and due to local and state restrictions, a number of Hoosiers were unable to take part in their normal religious activities, sometimes for months,” Senator Bassler said recently in a prepared statement.

Senate Enrolled Act 263, which Bassler co-authored,¬†addresses this issue by prohibiting state and local governments from restricting the right of the people to worship in person during disaster emergencies. Furthermore, other limitations on religious organizations during a disaster emergency will only be allowed if they are no more restrictive than those imposed on other businesses and organizations deemed “essential services.”

During an emergency, churches and other religious organizations are among the most essential services in Hoosier communities. They provide soup kitchens, shelters, financial assistance, outreach and rehabilitation programs, on top of regular religious services. Bassler said that he believes allowing them to continue this good work in times of crisis is crucial to communities across Indiana.

For more information on this new law, click here.