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Speaking to reporters from the White House today, President Trump demanded that states open their churches "right now."
“At my direction the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing guidance for communities of faith… Today I’m identifying housing of worship, churches, synagogues, and mosques, as essential places that provide essential services, some governors have identified as essential places that provide essential services. Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right."
"So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to allow our churches and place 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," he said.
He went on to say that "These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, to go to their mosque. Many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life. The ministers, pastors, rabbis, imams, and other faith leaders will make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather and pray.
"I know them well. They love their congregations. They love their people. They don't want anything bad to happen to them or to anyone else. The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important, essential places of faith to open right now. For this weekend. If they don't do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less."
This announcement comes in the wake of news that a church in Mississippi, at which the pastor had been seeking legal action against his state for shutting down their worship, was burned to the ground. No one was injured, because no one has been allowed to attend services there for some time.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.