HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Freedom to Worship Law goes into effect on September 1, 2021 and it prohibits the government from demanding the closure of religious practices, even during disasters.
A co-sponsor of this law, Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. told ValleyCentral that at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities were scrambling to control the spread of the virus which led to the closure of religious institutions.
Senator Lucio Jr. added that these closures infringed on the people’s freedom of religion and their “sacred right to prayer.” He said the most important part of life that the people have is their faith and it should not be stripped away.
However, Senator Lucio Jr. fears for his constituents as they head back to church with the rising numbers of COVID-19.
Although the right to worship is protected, Senator Lucio Jr. encourages the community to stay vigilant by continuing to wear masks, keeping an appropriate distance from others, and getting vaccinated to slow the spread.
“I just fear a world might we might be going on because the numbers are rising once again,” said Lucio Jr.
House Bill 1239 was passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives on June 16 with 113 votes for and 30 votes against. Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill the same day.
For more information on the current CDC guidelines for the state of Texas, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website.