President Trump announced Friday that all houses of worship would be considered “essential services” and urged governors to “do the right thing” and let them reopen immediately.
“Today, I am identifying houses of worship, churches, synagogues, and mosques, as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said in a sudden White House briefing.
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics is essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship, it’s not right. So I am correcting this injustice am calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to allow churches and places of worship to open right now,” the president said, adding that he’d overrule governors who don’t comply.
Trump said Thursday he had planned to take “a very strong position” on church reopenings as the country struggles to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed at least 95,000 Americans to date.
“One of the things I want to do is get the churches open,” Trump told reporters Thursday outside White House lawn.
“The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of the Democrat governors. I want to get the churches open, and we’re going to take a very strong position on that very soon. … Including mosques.”
Trump’s comments came after Chicago began fining churches for holding services that do not comply with Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s statewide stay-at-home order.
The Chicago Police Department told Fox News that three churches will be hit with penalties for services that were held on Sunday.
Some churches that had alreaqdy reopening later closed after congregants came down with coronavirus.
A Georgia church that reopened a few weeks ago is closing its doors again after several families came down with COVID-19.
Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold welcomed worshipers back into the sanctuary April 26 after shutting down in response to the pandemic, the Christian Post reported.
Two weeks later on May 11, church leaders announced plans to suspend services after several parishioners tested positive for the virus.