Many State and Local Governments Declaring War on Right to Worship Freely

Many State and Local Governments Declaring War on Right to Worship Freely

Tennessee Pastors Network President Dale Walker Addresses Knoxville’s Long List of Rules for Churches as They Reopen to Parishioners

May 6, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Churchgoers in Knoxville, Tennessee, may now be able to return to church amid the coronavirus, but there’s a lengthy list of rules they must follow.

The Tennessee Pastors Network (TNPN, is pointing to a new report by news commentator and syndicated radio host Todd Starnes, who writes: “The government will allow you to return to your church house on May 1, but there are a number of rules, regulations and hoops you will have to jump through to make that happen.”

Among the rules, Starnes reports, are no communion, the removal of “communal items like hymnals and Bibles,” a donation box rather than an offering plate, and “Singing is discouraged as it is thought to be an activity that expels significantly more virus than talking.”

“Many state and local governments have declared war on the right to worship freely,” said TNPN President Dale Walker. “As the National Day of Prayer approaches on May 7, it is essential that we pray for a great awakening. Cities like Knoxville, Tennessee, have made it plain they will restrict churches on how they can worship and even define what worship is—down to recommending the removal of public Bibles in the pews! This is egregious, and no politician or health department has the right to restrict the House of God and his people under the rights of the First Amendment.

“These same politicians,” Walker added, “have left wicked liquors stores, state lotteries and abortion clinics wide open and declared them essential. Yet, law-abiding citizens feel threatened and are fearful to even attend their local church and even told they cannot sing. Christians should sincerely seek God for the condition of our country, as it is extremely apparent that many power-hungry government officials place no value of local houses of worship coming together and will aggressively abridge our rights to worship, if we let them do so. It is a sad day in the State of Tennessee when liquor stores are declared essential and are favored, while extreme restrictions are placed on houses of worship. May God help the direction America is going!”

TNPN is a state chapter of the American Pastors Network (APN,, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square.

The Tennessee Pastors Network encourages pastors to bring together biblical and constitutional principles in their sermons and provides resources to pastors throughout the state. For more information on TNPN, visit its website at, its Facebook page or call (931) 260-5301.


To interview Dale Walker, president of the Tennessee Pastors Network, contact, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or ext. 102.