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One of the most popular questions when it comes to the proclamation issued by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds relates to whether churches are exempt.

I have been told by her staff that they are exempt, but reading the proclamation and subsequent guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health leaves me with doubts.

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Let’s start with the section of the proclamation that says spiritual and religious gatherings are not prohibited. It continues to say, “but a church, synagogue or other host of a spiritual or religious gathering shall implement reasonable measures under the circumstances of each gathering to ensure social distancing of employees, volunteers and other participants, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health.”

The next logical step is to see what is the guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health…

“Wearing cloth face coverings in public places where social distancing measures are difficult (like grocery stores and pharmacies) can be done to help further slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19….further slow the spread of COVID-19. Sounds like the same thing.

Now, I hold the belief that the government should have no say in what a church does or doesn’t do in response to COVID-19. That First Amendment prohibits — or at least should prohibit — that.

 

Author: Jacob Hall

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