Two weeks ago, 100 pastors signed our letter to ask Governor Murphy to place Houses of Worship in Phase 1 of his reopening plan. Gov. Murphy choose not to respond. Therefore, last week Family Policy Alliance of NJ partnered with pastors from across the state and attorney Demetrios Stratis to send a second legal letter – along with an attached lawsuit – giving Gov. Murphy until Wednesday, May 27, to recognize the essential nature of churches and allow them to safely operate following CDC guidelines.
Regional news covered this joint effort extensively:
- Philadelphia Inquirer
- Star Ledger
- Press of Atlantic City
- Tri State Voice
- TV news included Fox 5 NYC and Channel 69 News Lehigh Valley
I personally hand delivered the letter on behalf of 67 pastors and the upcoming lawsuit to Gov. Murphy’s office on Friday at 10 a.m. Hours later, President Trump called for the reopening of churches nationwide. We are thankful for his pronouncement in protecting the religious rights of believers. However, Gov. Murphy made clear over the weekend that his executive orders pertaining to indoor gatherings of 10 people remain in place for houses of worship. He has previously released plans to enlarge the size of indoor gatherings for libraries, museums, restaurants, and entertainment venues in the forthcoming weeks. Sadly, houses of worship continue to be excluded from that list.
We need you to take immediate action to contact Gov. Murphy’s office before the end of business on Wednesday, May 27. This is the deadline before the attorney and pastors file the lawsuit to protect religious freedom. Pastors are committed to following CDC guidelines. Other states, including the hard-hit state of Massachusetts, have demonstrated it is possible to reopen churches responsibly and safely. His administration must hear from you today!
Note: Allowing churches to meet indoors with limited capacity will not force other churches to assemble if their local leadership does not believe they can meet the CDC guidelines or prefer to continue only offering online church or drive-in church experiences. Unfortunately, Gov. Murphy’s recent allowance of drive-in parking lot worship services discriminates against churches in urban neighborhoods who do not have parking facilities.
Director of Advocacy