Editor, Times-Union:

As we are approaching the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am reminded about how important the Freedom of Religion is to us as Americans.  When the Bill of Rights was being drafted, Madison was brilliant when he put the Freedom of Religion along with several other rights. It is fortunate that the right to exercise our religious beliefs freely was put at the top. The Founders fought to rid ourselves from the Church of England because it was closely tied to the Crown. Our founders knew that Jesus did not ask permission from Rome to perform his Ministry, and that the State should not be funding the Church because the Church and State become intertwined.  That is why Jefferson told the Danbury Baptists that the First Amendment creates a, “wall of Separation between Church and State.”

Yet today, we have shown that we are more than willing to let the State dictate how the Church runs its affairs.  During the early stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Eric Holcomb told Churches they could not meet.  Going to Wal-Mart was fine, but gathering to Worship God was not. Governor Eric Holcomb has no more authority over the Body of Christ than Pilate did during Jesus’ Earthly Ministry.

Yet Curt Nisly fought to protect the Religious Freedom of All Hoosiers from the very beginning. Curt Nisly was one of three Republicans to vote against the ill drafted “RFRA Fix.”  During the COVID-19 pandemic, Curt Nisly was one of three Republicans to vote that the Right to Worship during an emergency. The Indy Establishment candidate voted against one of the most fundamental rights we have as Americans.  By ignoring the U.S. and Indiana Constitutions, the Indy Establishment said that they knew better than the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.

One would think that the Indy Establishment candidate would have done more to protect our religious freedom.  Instead, he joined the rest of the Establishment to vote for SB 263(2021). The bill prohibits states and local governments cannot impose more stringent restrictions on religious organizations than imposed on essential businesses.  The flaw with this legislation is that the State is saying they can impose restrictions on religious services. If the State is giving itself the authority to churches they can’t meet, what else would they try to say? This bill is a violation of the Constitution and Curt Nisly stood up for Hoosiers and their Religious Freedom.

The Indy Establishment will tell you that they are looking out for the rights of all Hoosiers, but their records say otherwise. I want someone who will allow me to worship the way that I want to. Madison pushed to keep the State out of the Church, and Curt Nisly is the only one in District 22 that is fighting to keep the State out. Jesus did not ask Rome for permission to conduct his Earthly Ministry, we should not need permission from the State to worship Him. I stand with Curt Nisly because he protects our Religious Freedom.

Gary Eppenbaugh

Warsaw, via email