A new bill submitted to Congress for consideration could offer tools for helping the US government stop religious violence against houses of worship and minorities.
The Pray Safe Act was recently submitted to Congress as a tool for combatting growing trends of violence against houses of worship. “We must ensure that faith-based organizations and houses of worship have the resources, assistance, and training they need to secure their facilities in the face of unnecessary violence that has tragically become increasingly common,” says Senator Rob Portman R-OH, in a press release. “The threats and senseless attacks on faith-based organizations and houses of worship we’ve seen across our country are attacks on our values, and this bipartisan legislation will give our faith-based institutions in Ohio and across our country the resources and information they need to protect themselves.”
Portman has partnered with Senator Maggie Hassan, D-NH, to create a bill to generate specific resources to establish security among most faith structures. As the bill stands, the Pray Safe act would establish a federal information hub for faith leaders to turn to for recommendations on violence prevention and seek safety-related grants. Congress would create the hub by partnering with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The bill has received support from several different religious communities, including Amir Azhar, Chairman of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati.
The bill advanced through the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday and is expected to receive a vote before the full Senate this week.