President Donald J. Trump: “We want to get churches opened quickly” Attorney General William Barr: “We must resist forces of secularism”

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON, D.C.—”We want to get churches opened quickly,” said President Donald J. Trump at the Family Research Council (FRC) Virtual Pastors Roundtable Thursday attended online by 1,700 pastors from 46 states and 13 nations.   “These Democrat Governors would be happy if churches never opened again.  I will put pressure that you open.  No one cares more about people than you do.  I want to get churches opened and opened quickly.

The Family Research Council stated mission is “to advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview.”    The activist group opened its doors in 1983 when Dr. James Dobson (head of Focus on the Family) met with a group of eight Christian leaders at a Washington D.C. hotel.  In 1988, they became a division of Focus on the Family before becoming an independent nonprofit in 1992.  Their first three leaders were Gerald P. Regier, Gary L. Bauer, and Kenneth L. Connor.  They have been led by Tony R. Perkins since 2003, who previously served eight years in the Louisiana legislature.

President Donald J. Trump with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins

The Family Research Council focused on promoting the Pastor Roundtable Kit along with the Voter Impact Toolkit as well as additional publications on life, family, and religious liberty.  Pastors were also challenged to host local Pastor Roundtables (using developed visual tools available at watchmenpastors.org/kit) in June with seven pastors; to utilize Voter Guides (available through FRCAction.org) for a Voter Registration on Freedom Sunday (July 5); and invite two pastors to join the next National Pastors Roundtable (on Tuesday, Sept. 15).

Church Pastors hosting the Virtual Pastors Roundtable included:  Pastor Chris Hodges, Pastor Carter Conlon, Pastor Tom Mullins, Pastor Garrett Booth, Pastor Guillermo Maldonado, Pastor Ramiro Pena, and Pastor Jack Hibbs.

Speakers for the Virtual Pastors Roundtable included:  President Donald J. Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan, and Attorney General William Barr.

“We must be vigilant to resist forces of secularism,” said Attorney General William Barr during the FRC Pastors Roundtable.   “We will be at the forefront ready to fight for the freedom to live according to our faith.  There has been a demise of the outlook of people with religious values.”

Calvary Chapel Chino Hills Pastor Jack Hibbs asked the Attorney General:  “On May 31st (Pentecost Sunday) we will open up churches in California (in violation of California orders).  What kind of support will the pastors have from the Department of Justice?

“Execution and protection of the First Amendment is this administration’s and the Department of Justices priority,” said Attorney General William Barr.   “We have been focusing on these restrictions and the lack of effort to accommodate religion in any reasonable way.

“What can pastors do?  Exercise their religious values; create the mechanism and occasion for folks to worship; follow reasonable laws to protect the community at large, but press locally for some accommodation that allows you and your flock to exercise religious liberty responsibly.

“I am informing different district attorneys of your concerns and we will use persuasion initially but are considering challenging legally.”

On May 6, some 25 California Republican legislators (10 State Senators and 15 Assembly Members) signed a letter sent to Gov. Newsom to include in-person religious services at places of worship in Stage Two rather than Stage 3.  See:

 https://www.citizensjournal.us/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/200506_HouseOfWorshipRequest.pdf

Attorney General William Barr

(Editor’s Note: A four-page letter to Governor Gavin Newsom concerning several civil rights concerns with the treatment of places of worship in Executive Orders N-33-20 and N-60-20 was sent May 19th by Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband and four U.S. Attorneys in California representing the Northern, Southern, Central and Eastern Districts.  A Declaration of Essentiality signed by over 1,200 pastors was sent to Gov. Newsom by Attorney Robert H. Tyler today.  To see this letter which includes:  Secondary Effects of the COVID-19 Shutdown; Principles From the Founding Fathers; Legal Argument, Conclusions, References go to:  https://www.tylerbursch.com/announcements/a-letter-to-governor-gavin-newsom-from-churches

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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