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Arkansas has passed a law turning churches into potential virus super-spreaders by preventing the governor from shutting them down in the event of another pandemic.

The State House and Senate passed the bill over the past two weeks, and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed it into law yesterday.

HB 1211, now known as Act 94, will lead to more deaths in the name of Jesus.

As I said before, this bill is more like catnip to religious conservatives than anything else — because it’s not like governors have specifically blocked churches from gatherings while allowing atheists to meet at a bar. But church leaders have routinely compared themselves — wrongly — to essential places like grocery stores… even though such places require face masks and don’t involve public singing much less lingering and chatting with strangers.

This Act flies in the face of everything scientists and other people who follow the evidence have said. A deadly virus doesn’t care what religion you are. And unlike the Republicans who claim this is all about religious freedom, critics understand that religion shouldn’t be a loophole that allows Christians to kill off innocent people because they’re too ignorant to understand how viruses work.

Republicans — and the Democrats who went along with them — would rather see people die by attending a church service than live while watching a livestream of that exact same church service. There’s no reason to give religious institutions a pandemic exemption. This is Christian pandering at its deadliest.

How many people have to die before “pro-life” conservatives come to their senses? Apparently 466,000 dead Americans aren’t enough.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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