By Jack Jenkins
President Donald Trump has unveiled new guidance classifying houses of worship as “essential services” and insisting that governors allow faith groups to worship despite the risk of furthering the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Trump made the announcement Friday afternoon (May 22) at a press conference at the White House, and appeared to set up a potential standoff between his administration and governors that have halted worship services during the pandemic.
“Today I’m identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogues, and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services,” he said. “So I’m correcting this injustice in calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me — but they’re not going to be successful in that call.”
He added: “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. Many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life. The ministers, pastors, rabbis, imams and other faiths leaders will make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather and pray.”
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