The Associated Press, helpful as always, considers reactions to Trump’s constitutionally incontinent demand that governors reopen churches and other houses of worship.
As the AP notes, “following Trump’s announcement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines for communities of faith on how to safely reopen, including recommendations to limit the size of gatherings and consider holding services outdoors or in large, well-ventilated areas.”
But “in-person religious services have been vectors for transmission of the virus. A person who attended a Mother’s Day service at a church in northern California that defied the governor’s closure orders later tested positive, exposing more than 180 churchgoers. And a choir practice at a church in Washington state was labeled by the CDC as an early ‘superspreading’ event.”
Elsewhere, the AP is reporting from Germany that “several members of a congregation” in Frankfurt have fallen ill, with six in hospital, after attending a service.
But Trump is attempting to reassure his evangelical supporters. The AP continues:
“…Churches around the US have filed legal challenges opposing virus closures. In Minnesota, after Democratic governor Tim Walz declined to lift restrictions on churches, Roman Catholic and some Lutheran leaders said they would defy his ban and resume worship services. They called the restrictions unconstitutional and unfair since restaurants, malls and bars were allowed limited reopening.
“…Some hailed the president’s move, including Kelly Shackelford, president of the conservative First Liberty Institute.
“The discrimination that has been occurring against churches and houses of worship has been shocking,” he said. “Americans are going to malls and restaurants. They need to be able to go to their houses of worship.”
But Rabbi Jack Moline, president of Interfaith Alliance, said it was “completely irresponsible” for Trump to call for a mass reopening.
“Faith is essential and community is necessary; however, neither requires endangering the people who seek to participate in them,” he said. “The virus does not discriminate between types of gatherings, and neither should the president.”
Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, made clear churches and other houses of worship will not resume in-person services in her state until at least next weekend.
“It’s reckless to force them to reopen this weekend. They’re not ready,” she said. “We’ve got a good plan. I’m going to stick with it.”
New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, said he would review the federal guidance while maintaining a decision rests with him.
“Obviously we’d love to get to the point where we can get those open, but we’ll look at the guidance documents and try to make some decisions rather quickly, depending on what it might say,” he said. “It’s the governor’s decision, of course.”