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Trump: "Today I am identifying houses of worship, synagogues and mosques as essential places that provide essential services."
United States President Donald Trump is ordering governors to allow churches to reopen.
He argued that religious services must resume immediately, explicitly threatening to override governors who refuse to comply.
Trump: "The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important and essential places of faith to open, right now, for this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors."
The President's orders come amid increasing tensions between churches and states.
Earlier this week, before Trump’s comments, bishops in Minnesota had already agreed to defy Governor Timothy Walz and reopen parish doors regardless of current lockdown mandates.
Bishop Bernard Hebda: "As we've seen other openings and plans for other openings in the state, it makes us feel much more comfortable with what we're doing because we see a parallel that's there."
That same day, 1200 pastors and priests in California also signed a letter pledging to defy California governor Gavin Newsom's latest shelter-in-place orders.
However, some bishops were defending their governor's actions.
Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden defended New Jersey Democrat, Gov. Phil Murphy, saying: "Canceling Masses in times of pestilence has been done over the course of the history of the Catholic Church. Those who have gone before us may not have had the benefit of scientific evidence, but they had common sense to separate when there was a need to do so."
The bishops' claims come despite Catholics celebrating Mass during the Black Death, perhaps the worst plague in Church history ... and administering the sacraments directly to the infected.
President Trump went on to say in his address that he is working with the CDC and putting an end to this gridlock between the faithful and their governors.
Trump: "Under my direction ... the Centers for disease control and prevention is issuing guidance for communities of faith."