Earlier in the week the Department of Justice reminded one of the nation’s Blue State governors that there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution. Their message was directed at California Governor Gavin Newsom, telling him that his order banning church services puts an “unfair burden” on religious institutions.
That marked the third time that the DOJ had intervened in religious libffierty related issues during the pandemic. AG William Barr previously filed a statement of interest in the case of a Mississippi church that was defying an order banning drive-in services (who’s at risk to spread a virus in their cars?) and in another case he signaled their support for a Virginia church suing Virginia Governor and Michael Jackson aficionado Ralph Northam.
By Memorial Day every state will have removed restrictions to some extent, but loosening restrictions from a complete lock-down doesn’t mean life is immediately going back to business as usual. Businesses will still be required to enforce social distancing rules, and that could prove problematic for some churches, especially with so many governors that seem intent on keeping them closed.
And because of that, President Trump is intervening.
President Donald Trump told reporters that he is urging states to reopen churches as the coronavirus pandemic appears to be easing around the country.
The president made the comments to reporters as he left for Wisconsin from the White House on Thursday. “One of the others things I want to do is get the churches open. The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of the Democrat governors,” Trump said.
“I want to get our churches open, and we’re going to be taking a very strong position on that very soon,” he added.
Churches have been at the forefront of many protests against the coronavirus lockdown, as the orders tend to infringe on the free exercise of religion.
UPDATE: Since publication, President Trump has declared houses of worship essential.