Trump to governors: Open houses of worship 'right now'

Modesto Morganelli
Mag 23, 2020

"If they don't do it, I will override the governors", he said.

New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage worshipers to bow or wave instead of shaking hands, hugging or kissing.

"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".

"Do nothing A.G. of the Great State of Michigan, Dana Nessel, should not be taking her anger and stupidity out on Ford Motor - they might get upset with you and leave the state, like so many other companies have - until I came along and brought business back to Michigan".

"These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united", he said.

He recommends that other religious organizations do not open their doors.

"People are demanding to go to their church and synagogues, go to their mosque", Trump said. (Although he takes $1 a year to adhere to the constitutional requirement that he be paid.) Each quarter the White House announces which government agency will receive his $100,000 salary.

"This is one of those situations where setting the example is very important".

If you want to make things even more granular, businesses also have the right to determine when and how they reopen.

Return to holding services, with churches and other places of worship limited to 25 percent of their seating capacity. A church in Northern California that defied the governor's orders and held a service on Mother's Day was attended by a person who later tested positive for the coronavirus, exposing more than 180 churchgoers.

Pastors in multiple states have been fined for reopening in defiance of restrictions. Both areas have been shut down for some time, she said, yet "we still see these ongoing cases".

How churches will respond to Trump's comments is an open question. Many church leaders have chosen to cooperate with state and local health authorities in planning when and how to reopen.

She also said she hoped MI voters "will remember this when November comes, that he didn't care enough about their safety, he didn't care about their welfare, he didn't respect them enough just to engage in the very simple task, the painless task, the easy task of wearing a mask when he was provided one". "Not, what are we constitutionally allowed to do, but what is best? What is wisest? Christian witness is all about generous behavior towards the other, and especially the vulnerable other".

In a separate action, the Justice Department on Friday filed a statement of interest in federal court in support of a legal challenge to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker's coronavirus stay-at-home orders.

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