What Faith Leaders Are Saying
"As longtime leaders of Houston houses of worship, we appreciate the desire to protect the right to worship and to gather in person for religious activities....Our faith teaches us that preserving human life is an even more fundamental value. That is why we are voting against Proposition 3 in this election…Voters looking at the ballot for the first time may think that Proposition 3 is a gift for the religious community, but nothing could be further from the truth." Rev. Dr. Jim Bankston, Pastor Emeritus at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, and David Lyon, Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel. Houston Chronicle, 10-27-21. Read full op-ed
Other Houston-area faith leaders who oppose Prop 3 include:
The Rev. Dr. Guinn Blackwell-Eagleson, Presbyterian Church (USA), retired
Susan Quinn Bryan
Master Monk Rev. Seido Francavilla, St. Nichiren Buddhist Temple
The Rev. Lisa Hunt, Rector, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Houston
Rev. Dan King, J.D., M.Div.
Minister Emeritus, First UU Church of Houston
Rev. Laura Mayo, Senior Minister of Covenant Church, Houston
The Rev. David A. Roschke, retired pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Read national faith organizations' statement opposing state legislation granting religious exemptions to emergency orders.
"As committed supporters of the constitutional principle of church-state separation, we believe in everyone’s right to worship according to their own conscience. However, religious freedom does not extend a right to harm others. . . Temporary restrictions equally applied to secular and religious gatherings do not impinge on religious freedom."
Statement by Houston faith leaders
"Heads up, Texans. There is an election on Nov. 2, and Proposition 3 will put worshippers in harm’s way...In our country, founded on the separation of church and state, the law should not be changed to codify the beliefs or practices of those who put religious law above the law of the land." Rabbi Nancy Kasten, chief relationship officer with Faith Commons in Dallas. The Dallas Morning News, 10-24-21. Read full op-ed
"The First Amendment is not absolute. Just as free speech does not permit someone to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater, so freedom of religion does not permit us to endanger the lives of others by asserting our right to gather and serve as we wish. The state has a compelling interest in protecting citizens against the mistaken decisions some might make in exercising their religious liberty. . .”
Statement by Dallas-area faith leaders, published in The Dallas Morning News, 4-25-20
"Houses of worship must practice high public health standards as an expression of love for one's neighbors."
Dr. Rick McClatchy, Executive Director, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Texas
"During the start of the pandemic shutdowns, faith groups released a statement making it clear that while religious freedom is a cherished right, it should not become an excuse to endanger public health...While all people of faith cherish their liberty, religious freedom is not religious privilege. All should make shared sacrifices for the common good. Religious groups should serve their communities and not expect special privileges. Do what is best for all Texans by voting against Proposition 3." Rev. Dr. Paul Ziese, retired Lutheran pastor & past president of Greater San Antonio Community of Congregations. Read full letter
Prop 3 sends “a damaging message that religious people are more concerned about special treatment than they are about the good of their communities...I would hope that the voters of Texas would understand the strong protections for free exercise that they already enjoy and understand that this extra provision in the Constitution is unnecessary, over broad and could actually jeopardize the health and safety of their communities." Amanda Tyler, executive director of Baptist Joint Committee, to Religion News Service, 10-20-21