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Trump declares places of worship ‘essential,’ setting up standoff with governors

May 22, 2020

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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2 comments on “Trump declares places of worship ‘essential,’ setting up standoff with governors

  • Hm.

    It leads one to wonder why an “essential service” isn’t so essential that its revenue isn’t part of the tax structure. Is it essential for societal reasons? Cultural reasons?

    It’s a darn shame that Trump’s wild statements come so fast and heavy that there is really no time to examine one before the next one comes. I admit it: I am exhausted by this thug administration.

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  • Vicki

    Is it essential for societal reasons? Cultural reasons?

    Psychological reasons?

    Are the devoutly religious so psychologically fragile that they need to get into that special building with their own personal fearless leader up in the pulpit expounding on the ways and thinking of God? Do they need personal reassurance that even in a time of sickness and death, that God is on their side, watching out for them and in recognition of their devotion, excepting them from the disaster that other good people all around them suffer from?

    I’ve had to point out several times in the last weeks that Jesus had no church. Mohammed had no mosque. No believer actually needs a special building. Muslims and Christians are perfectly capable of praying on the spot wherever they might be. My Protestant slip is showing here but I can’t help but suspect that this isn’t something that the Imams, Priests, Rabbis and Pastors will be announcing to the congregations. It’s just not in their own best interests for the flock to realize how unnecessary they really are.

     I am exhausted by this thug administration.

    I am too and I’m guessing that we’re not the only ones. It’s definitely a “baffle them with bullshit” strategy. It works. Admittedly, I’ve used it myself with good results, mostly way back in school on essay exams. ~eye roll~

    Of course exhaustion and deflection is exactly what they want. I swing back and forth between outrage and slumping defeat. I’ve had to acknowledge that a very large swath of my country is motivated by bigotry and apparently have limited skills to recognize good leadership, character and an appreciation for the concept of mutuality.

    It’s a massive disappointment.


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