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ND governor signs bill protecting churches from discrimination during emergencies

Tuesday, Mar 30, 2021

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Greg Chafuen regarding North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s signing into law Monday of Senate Bill 2181, which ensures that churches and other religious organizations are allowed to remain open during a state of emergency on at least the same terms as businesses and other secular services:

“Houses of worship and religious organizations provide soul-sustaining operations that are essential to our society and protected by the First Amendment. While public officials have the authority and responsibility to protect public health and safety, the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that the First Amendment ‘cannot be put away and forgotten’ even in a pandemic. This means that the government can’t treat churches worse than shopping centers, restaurants, or gyms without violating the Constitution. We commend North Dakota for making it clear that officials can’t use a public crisis to discriminate against religious operations while promoting secular ones, and we encourage other states to pursue similar legislation.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Chafuen (CHAFF’-wen)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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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.