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Arkansas bill protecting churches from discrimination during emergencies becomes law

Thursday, Feb 11, 2021

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Greg Chafuen regarding the Religion Is Essential Act, which became law Wednesday. HB 1211, sponsored by Rep. Mary Bentley, ensures that churches and other religious organizations are allowed to remain open during a state of emergency on the same terms as businesses and other secular services:

“While public officials have the authority and responsibility to protect public health and safety, the First Amendment prohibits the government from treating houses of worship and religious organizations worse than comparable secular activities. Arkansas has taken an important step to defend this right by enabling religious organizations to keep their doors open and protecting them from discrimination based on their religious identity or conduct. We commend Rep. Bentley and the Arkansas Legislature for ensuring that churches and their ministries remain free to serve those who are in need, at risk, or suffering during this pandemic.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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ABOUT Greg Chafuen

Greg Chafuen serves as legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom’s Center for Legislative Advocacy. He focuses on legislation impacting religious liberty at the state level and works out of ADF’s Ashburn, VA office. Prior to joining ADF, Chafuen spent three years as a white-collar defense litigator at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Washington, D.C. and one year as a law clerk to the Hon. Alice Batchelder on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Chafuen earned his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School, graduating cum laude in 2015. While at Notre Dame, he served as president of the Notre Dame chapter of the Federalist Society, a member of a journal’s editorial board, and a member of the moot court board. He is a 2013 Blackstone Fellow and a Rumsfeld Foundation Fellow. Chafuen is admitted to the bars of Virginia and Washington, D.C.