Apr 10, 2021

Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s order last night in Tandon v. Newsom, a case involving a request for a religious exemption to a California public health order designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the size of in-person gatherings:

“The ultra-conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court continues to redefine the constitutional promise of religious freedom for all as religious privilege for a select few. By once again undermining science-based public health orders meant to limit the spread of a deadly virus, the court is prioritizing the religious practices of a few over the health and safety of entire communities. 

“Religious freedom is meant to be a shield that protects all of us, not a license to put people’s lives at risk during a deadly pandemic.”

Americans United has filed 50 amicus briefs in courts across the country, including six briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court, in cases involving requests for religious exemptions from COVID-19 public health orders. Until a Nov. 25 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a New York case, the vast majority of the decisions in these cases had rejected such requests.

Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. Learn more at www.au.org.