WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ President Donald Trump recently designated churches and other houses of worship as “essential” and called upon governors across the country to allow them to reopen, despite some lawmakers arguing that large group gatherings are still unsafe.
“It’s not safe to be in groups of that size, and that’s one of the tragedies at this moment,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, said.
Trump said he plans to override any governor who chooses to ignore his mandatae.
“If they want to play games that’s OK, but we will win, and we have many different ways where I can override them,” Trump said.
But Raskin questions Trump’s sincerity.
“It’s pure political provocation and theatre on the president’s part,” Raskin said.
The Family Research Council said it supports Trump’s move, adding that religious operations deserve every opportunity to function.
“We need to make sure that religion is not marginalized,” Travis Weber, vice president of policy and government affairs for the Family Research Council said.
Weber said he wants to ensure religious freedom is protected during these unprecedented times, and as other businesses are allowed to reopen, churches should be allowed to do so as well.
“Churches and pastors should continue to comply with the guidance put out by their local authorities, but be vigilant in holding those authorities accountable for religious freedom violations,” Weber said.
New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge churches that choose to operate to provide soap and hand sanitizer for worshippers, encourage members to wear masks and clean the buildings daily.