Trump Declares Places of Faith Essential: Governors Should Let Churches Reopen This Weekend

BY ZACHARY STIEBER

President Donald Trump on Friday said governors across the nation should let churches and other houses of worship reopen this weekend if they haven’t already done so.

“I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now,” Trump told reporters at the White House in Washington.

Governors are free to call the president with any questions but challenges are not going to succeed, the president said.

“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important, essential places of faith to open right now. For this weekend. If they do not do it, I will override the governors. In America we need more prayer, not less,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing guidance for communities of faith at Trump’s direction.

“It’s not right” that some governors have declared liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship, according to the president, calling it an “injustice.”

Some governors have allowed in-person church services to resume while others have continued to bar such events. In some states, drive-in services have been taking place to comply with harsh restrictions implemented in an attempt to slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Lawsuits filed by pastors, congregants, and others have challenged orders in multiple states after governors and other officials put stricter conditions on houses of worship than other places. Some have been successful. A federal judge on Tuesday gave churchgoers in North Carolina the go-ahead to resume indoor services with no limit after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper tried limiting indoor gatherings to 10 or less people while letting most businesses fill to 50 percent occupancy.

“This court does not doubt that the Governor is acting in good faith to lessen the spread of COVID-19 and to protect North Carolinians. But restrictions inexplicably applied to one group and exempted from another do little to further these goals and do much to burden religious freedom,” US District Court Judge James Dever II wrote in his ruling for a temporary restraining order.

A suit filed by churches and individuals in Oregon led to a county judge declaring Democratic Gov. Kate Brown’s order “null and void,” but that ruling was blocked by the state Supreme Court.

California’s restrictions on churches drew attention from the Department of Justice.

Pastors in multiple states have been fined for reopening in defiance of restrictions.

People want to gather at churches, synagogues, and mosques, Trump said on May 22.

“These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogues, go to their mosque,” he said.

Trump expressed confidence that pastors and other faith leaders will make sure their congregations are safe as they gather.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said at a press conference that plans to not allow houses of worship to reopen before May 30 are still in place. Occupancy will be limited to no more than 25 percent.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Republished with Permission The Epoch Times    SUBSCRIBE


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