U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn is leading a call for liability protections for churches if their congregants contract COVID-19 while congregating there.
The Republican from Colorado Springs is the first of 25 names in a letter from congressional members to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released Friday. Lamborn is the only member of the Colorado delegation on the letter.
The letters asks for liability protections for houses of worship and religious organizations. Republicans in the Senate are expected to take up church liability in its next coronavirus stimulus bill, as President Trump and other GOP leaders strive for a quick return to normal life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released edited reopening recommendations for schools, childcare centers and several other types of organizations at the recommendation of the White House this month.
The CDC, however, did not provide guidelines for churches, because of political concerns over government interference into religious practices, according to The Associated Press.
Trump on Friday threatened to override states that do not allow churches to reopen.
"We are concerned that without liability protections, houses of worship risk facing lawsuits no matter how many precautions they take. Consider the following example: an individual could single out specific guidelines from across the country to assign liability to a house of worship," the letter states. "This individual might claim that a church was negligent because it did not follow a single recommendation buried deep within a set of guidelines or because it did not follow a more stringent guideline issued in a town thousands of miles away.
The fear that houses of worship could lose First Amendment rights at the behest of lawyers cherry-picking from temporary guidelines is deeply un-American."
The letter to McConnell included another letter endorsed by more than 300 leaders asking for the protections.
Read the full letter by clicking here.
Lamborn issued a statement about the letter Friday.
"As Americans return to their places of worship, the last thing our faith leaders should have to worry about is legal costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic," he said. "During the reopening process, our faith leaders face a growing labyrinth of state, local, and even federal guidance. In these unprecedented times, houses of worship could face lawsuits no matter the safety precautions they take.
"I am pleased Leader McConnell has stated that any future coronavirus legislation should have liability protections. We must ensure that these protections extend to pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders."