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Trump calls on governors to reopen churches

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 5/22/20, 02:21 pm

President Donald Trump on Friday called churches, synagogues, and mosques “essential,” insisting that governors allow them to reopen this weekend. He also said he’d “override” state leaders if they didn’t follow his instructions. During a trip to Michigan on Thursday, the president said he instructed federal health officials to release guidance to help churches reopen. “They’re going to be issuing something today or tomorrow on churches,” he said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We got to get our churches open.”

What caused the delay? A Trump administration official said the White House had been concerned about the government dictating specific orders to churches. So far, the CDC has released guidelines for six types of organizations, including schools and restaurants, in the past two weeks. The initial draft presented to the Trump administration offered guidance for religious organizations. The recommendations specify social distancing requirements and symptom-checking, among other measures.

Dig deeper: Read Sophia Lee’s report about the financial struggles of some churches during the pandemic.

Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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    Posted: Fri, 05/22/2020 03:04 pm

    This reminds me very much of Ken Mehlman (Bush's 2004 campaign manager) working to get marriage amendments on the ballots in many states, so it would help Bush's reelection chances. Mehlman, of course, is gay and supports gay marriage. But he fought to get these amendments on the ballot so he could energize the Christian right. (It worked...Bush got reelected, although we soon lost the marriage battle.)

    Our Michigan governor, a Democrat, exempted churches from the beginning. (Trump's CDC issued guidelines that recommended against large groups, though.) Our local church didn't stop meeting because we had to; we stopped meeting because it was the best way we could find to love our neighbors and not do them harm.

    I do think it would have been wise for all governors to do what ours did, and allow churches to meet; however, I think it's incumbent upon churches to also be wise, and not recklessly expose our parishioners to an easily transmitted, potentially deadly disease, if we can avoid it. 

  • OldMike
    Posted: Wed, 05/27/2020 12:30 am

    Since there are places where liquor stores and abortion clinics could stay open while churches were forced to stay closed, I'm sure some of it may have come from anti-Christian bias. 

    But not in most cases. We have to recognize that the pandemic arose and spread rapidly and authorities were forced to make policy, and try to keep us safe, on the fly with little opportunity for a lot of deliberation.  I really think most governors, mayors, and other officials really tried their best to get us through this with as little harm as possible. And don't forget that a lot of what we thought we knew about covid-19 at the outset turned out to be wrong, and policies that looked smart at first ended up looking shortsighted and foolish. 

    I won't give as much credit to the Democrat controlled US House, simply because we've already seen so much of their extreme politically motivated foolishness long before covid came along.