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President Donald Trump told reporters in a press conference on Friday afternoon that the Center for Disease Control, at his direction, was releasing guidance for reopening houses of worship as essential operations.
“At my direction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing guidance for communities of faith,” said Trump. “I’m identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services.”
During the brief remarks, Trump said he would “override” governors refusing to allow churches and other houses of worship to resume operations, although the president did not elaborate further.
“Some governor’s have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship — that’s not right,” said Trump. “So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.”
“These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque” said Trump.
“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important, essential places of faith to open right now, or this weekend,” said the president. “If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.”
After the president’s remarks, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany sparred with reporters who pressed for specifics on how the Trump administration would deal with governors who continue refusing to allow churches to reopen despite the new guidances, according to The Hill.
“The president will strongly encourage every governor to allow their churches to reopen, and boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to seem to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed,” said McEnany.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the Department of Justice sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) to warn him that the state was unlawful targeting religious activities and institutions.
“Laws that do not treat religious activities equally with comparable nonreligious activities are subject to heightened scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,” said the DOJ letter. “Laws that are not both neutral toward religion and generally applicable are invalid unless the government can prove that they further a compelling interest and are pursued through the least restrictive means possible.”
“The Public Health Officer’s April 28 ‘essential workforce’ list does not appear to treat religious activities and comparable nonreligious activities the same. The list includes ‘faith-based services’ but only if ‘provided through streaming or other technologies.’ In-person religious services are thus apparently prohibited even if they adhere to social distancing standards,” said the letter.
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