This is an urgent message from the Ohio Christian Alliance:
Churches have notified the Ohio Christian Alliance that they have been harassed and threatened by county health departments over the face mask mandate issue. If your church has been contacted by county health officials, please fill out this form, and our staff will get back with you. We are compiling a list of churches throughout the state that have been contacted by county health departments in the last several weeks since the face mask statewide mandate went into effect. We are providing this information to statewide officials so that they can address this issue with the local health departments.
Attorney General Dave Yost stated earlier this year, "For starters there's no pandemic emergency to the First Amendment exception. The church is protected by the Constitution In the way that a hobby store or landscaping business is not. Beyond that - these images, these stories coming out of states is just horrific. I can't believe that we're looking at this happening in the United States of America that was born out of the idea that the government doesn't get to mess with the church.”
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has stated, “The United States Department of Justice will continue to ensure that religious freedom remains protected if any state or local government, in their response to COVID-19, singles out, targets, or discriminates against any house of worship for special restrictions."
OCA President Chris Long stated the following, "These threats by local government health agencies pose the most serious danger to religious liberty and the free exercise of religion that we have ever witnessed as a faith advocacy organization. We will continue to interview and engage pastors from across the state to discover how widespread this problem has become. The idea that a pastor in a local church can be threatened by an anonymous tip to a local government bureaucrat is a direct violation of our First Amendment rights and civil liberties."
Governor DeWine's statements about face mask mandates have helped to fuel the confusion.The Governor has repeatedly stated that he has not ordered the churches in regard to these health orders, but in reality, the recent activity by local health departments contradicts his statements.