President Donald Trump wants churches to reopen as he asserts their importance to Americans.
In a press conference, Trump said, “Today I’m identifying houses of worship – churches, synagogues and mosques – as essential places that provide essential services.” He urged state governors to allow places of worship to reopen despite the threat of Coronavirus, reports Premier Christian News.
These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. —U.S. President Donald Trump
The president pointed out the importance of churches in communities, saying, “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.”
He criticized some governors for letting liquor stores and abortion clinics to reopen and not religious places. “It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.” He said Americans need to pray more, especially now during the time of a pandemic.
Since March, more than 90% of faith institutions in the country have closed its doors in order to safeguard public health and prevent the infection of more people. Poll findings showed that the majority of Americans approved the restrictions, reports NPR.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued guidelines for the reopening of faith institutions. In addition to observing social distancing, wearing of cloth face coverings, and practicing proper hygiene and sanitation, the CDC advises religious communities to minimize physical contact (e.g., shaking hands, hugging, or kissing) and sharing of worship materials (e.g., worship aids, prayer rugs, prayer books, hymnals, religious texts and other bulletins, books).
While many lauded Trump’s declaration that houses of worship are “essential places,” faith leaders want to be careful in reopening churches.
Bishop Paul Egensteiner of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in New York City, said, “Being at the epicenter of this pandemic and in order to protect our flock, we advise that congregations remain closed until more accurate and uniform information is provided.”