IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
On Friday afternoon, President Trump declared that churches and other houses of worship were “essential” and that state governors should also classify them as such. While several states had already moved to reopen churches prior to the President’s announcement, other states have been more tentative, and the President’s announcement could not have been timelier.
In Rhode Island, Governor Gina Raimondo has allowed churches to reopen, but only at 25% of their normal capacity. There, we have asked Governor Raimondo to deem churches “essential” and allow them to operate at 40-50% capacity.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has not included churches at all in his reopening plan, even after 100 pastors asked him to include them. Together with a lawyer and local pastor, Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey has helped lead a coalition of pastors in writing one more letter to the Governor asking him to add churches to his plan, or face a lawsuit because of his violation of New Jerseyans’ religious freedom. In both New Jersey and Rhode Island, these calls have been for safe and responsible opening in accordance with recommended health guidelines.
Perhaps most disturbing of all, this Sunday – after the President’s announcement – a church in Chicago met in their building, only to have the police knock on their door in attempt to stop their in-person service from continuing.
In light of situations like these, we are thankful for President Trump standing up for religious freedom by identifying churches as “essential” and asking governors to do the same. In case you missed it, here’s the full story from Friday. Please join us in sending President Trump a thank you note for standing up for our right to gather in faith!
See our message from last Friday below and take a moment to send a note of thanks to the President.
May 22, 2020
When COVID-19 first became evident in America, churches across the country did something unheard of in a country built on a rich and strong foundation of religious freedom—they closed their doors.
Now we all know that God’s work isn’t constrained to the four walls of a church. His people have been very much at work during the pandemic through prayer, meeting people’s most basic needs, providing donations of much needed supplies, and more. But, America’s churches chose not to meet in worship—in most cases entirely voluntarily—in order to join the effort to stop COVID-19.
But then we all started to notice something deeply troubling. The churches’ doors were closed, despite strong constitutional protections for religious freedom. Yet, Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry marched on. You know the story—Planned Parenthood defied state orders to shut down, pushed their agenda of “virtual abortions” with less safety measures for women, and even asked for donations of masks and hand sanitizer.
The contrast couldn’t be clearer. The Church largely voluntarily halted their First Amendment rights to assemble and worship together in an effort to save lives. Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry stopped at nothing to take lives, even robbing healthcare workers of valuable resources to do it.
Thankfully, throughout the pandemic, President Trump and his Administration have been clear: No taxpayer dollars can go toward the abortion industry.
Now just this afternoon, President Trump stepped in on behalf of America’s churches, ordering that churches be declared “essential.”
At an unannounced briefing he stated: “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics essential, but have left out churches … it’s not right. So I am correcting this injustice and am calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to allow churches and places of worship to open right now.”
President Trump throughout the pandemic has underscored his commitment to religious freedom by ensuring that churches and faith-based nonprofits were not excluded from the COVID relief programs. Now, declaring that churches are essential, President Trump is committed to settling the issue—churches should certainly not be treated less than for-profit companies who do not have the same religious freedom protections.
Will you join us in thanking President Trump for recognizing that the Body of Christ, through its churches, is essential?
Vice President of Strategy