Poll results show that mental health improved between 2019 and 2020 among churchgoers, the only demographic that reported a positive change amid sweeping lockdowns.
Gallup polled a little over a thousand Americans over the age of 18 from Nov. 5-19 and found that only those who attended religious services weekly saw improved mental health between 2019 and 2020.
In 2019, 42 percent of Americans who attended religious services weekly rated their mental health as excellent. In 2020, that number jumped to 46 percent.
No other demographic group in the Gallup poll, which had a margin of error of 4 percentage points, saw an increase in excellent mental health ratings.
— GallupNews (@GallupNews) December 8, 2020
Officials across the United States have issued lockdown orders throughout the coronavirus pandemic restricting or prohibiting religious services, and the Department of Justice has pushed back against such mandates on multiple occasions.
Governors like Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam banned gatherings of 10 or more people in initial stay-at-home orders, effectively prohibiting church services.
Authorities have arrested multiple religious leaders for defying the orders, including Tony Spell, pastor of Louisiana’s Life Tabernacle church, and Florida megachurch pastor Rodney Howard-Browne.
Religious organizations in New York recently took Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the Supreme Court over his restrictions on worship.
The conservative justices, including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, sided with the religious groups in a 5-4 ruling.
“New York’s restrictions on houses of worship not only are severe, but also are discriminatory,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his concurring opinion.
Earlier this year, the court ruled 5-4 in favor of religious restrictions in California and Nevada.
The Trump administration has fought back against many of these restrictions.
Attorney General William Barr warned in an early April statement that “even in times of emergency,” federal law prohibits religious discrimination.
“Religion and religious worship continue to be central to the lives of millions of Americans,” Barr said. “This is true more so than ever during this difficult time.”
“Government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity,” the attorney general added.
“For example, if a government allows movie theaters, restaurants, concert halls, and other comparable places of assembly to remain open and unrestricted, it may not order houses of worship to close, limit their congregation size, or otherwise impede religious gatherings.”
Barr also promised that the Justice Department would be on the lookout for any state or local government that “singles out, targets, or discriminates against any house of worship for special restrictions.”
Since this statement was issued, the Justice Department has intervened in multiple cases of government crackdowns on churches and pastors, specifically in Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, Virginia and Mississippi.
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