Trump demands states reopen houses of worship ‘right now’

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President Trump said Friday that he wanted state governors to allow the nation’s houses of worship to reopen “right now” despite the ongoing health risks from ,

The coronavirus pandemic posed by large gatherings of people. “Today I’m identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogue and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services,”

Trump told reporters gathered in the White House press briefing room. “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship. That’s not right.”Trump’s announcement came one day after he instructed the Centers for Disease Control ,

While the CDC issued a lengthy update to its website on Thursday detailing safety protocols, the president was much more succinct. “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very essential places of faith to open right now,” Trump said.

“I call upon governors to allow churches and places of worship to open right now. If there’s any question they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call.”

In the past week, Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle in Ringgold, Ga., and Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Houston suspended services  after parishioners and church leaders tested positive for COVID-19 following their reopening.

Reports of coronavirus hot spots traced back to houses of worship have been widespread since the virus took root in the U.S. At least 33 African-American church leaders have been killed by COVID-19.

Trump made no mention of that data on Friday, saying “the people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque.” He added that religious leaders would “make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather and pray.”

 

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