President Trump declares places of worship to be ‘essential’—demands governors reopen them

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President Donald Trump spoke out on Friday to reveal that new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines will classify houses of worship as “essential,” a noted change before ordering governors around the country to allow them to reopen.

Fox News reported that during a press briefing at the White House, President Trump announced this new policy that will affect churches, synagogues and mosques. “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now—for this weekend,” Trump said. “If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.”

“In America, we need more prayer not less,” he added. Trump went on to lament the fact that so many places of worship continue to be closed despite other so-called “essential” businesses being permitted to open. “Some governors have deemed the liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential,” Trump said. “But have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship ‘essential.'”

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This came one day after Trump took part in a conference call from 1,600 pastors and faith leaders from around the country, all of whom are desperate to reopen their places of worship. The call seemed to have a major impact on President Trump, as he said afterwards, “We’ve got to get our churches open.”

An increasing number of faith leaders have been speaking out in recent weeks to say that strict social distancing guidelines around the country violate First Amendment religious freedoms. “The discrimination that has been occurring against churches and houses of worship has been shocking,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of the First Liberty Institute, a legal organization that works to defend religious freedom. “We applaud the President’s strong stance today demanding that these attacks must stop and that churches and houses of worship be freed to safely open. Americans are going to malls and restaurants. They need to be able to go to their houses of worship.”

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It truly is a sad testament to how far we have fallen as a society, that liquor stores and abortion clinics are being called “essential” while churches are not getting this same distinction—one accorded by the Constitution. We’re glad to see that Trump is dedicated to reopening places of worship, and we hope the rest of the country follows suit immediately.

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