President Trump just threatened the nation’s Governors, either open houses of worship this weekend or I’ll override you.
Pres Trump announces he’s designating all Houses of Worship as places that provide “essential services” and calls on all Governors to allow them to open now. “If they don’t do it, I will override the Governors,” says the president in brief statement. Takes no questions. pic.twitter.com/5R3ODc4B2W
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 22, 2020
“Pres Trump announces he’s designating all Houses of Worship as places that provide “essential services” and calls on all Governors to allow them to open now. “If they don’t do it, I will override the Governors,” says the president in brief statement. Takes no questions.”
This of course has enraged Democrats and their media allies.
Via The New York Times:
President Trump stepped into the culture wars again on Friday, taking the side of some religious leaders against governors who have moved slowly in reopening houses of worship amid the pandemic.
Without any clear authority to do so, he said that he was calling houses of faith, including churches, synagogues, and mosques, “essential services” and urged governors to reopen them “right now.”
Are houses of worship “essential?”
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“Today I am identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogue and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services,” Mr. Trump said at a hastily scheduled briefing at the White House on Friday. “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.”
It was not immediately clear what powers the president was claiming.“I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now,” he said. “If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me but they’re not going to be successful in that call.”
What the writers and editors at the New York Times seem to miss, or just overlook, is a little thing called the First Amendment.
Governors cannot treat houses of worship differently than other secular businesses even during a pandemic.
They can require that houses of worship take the same precautions as required of secular businesses in terms of building capacity, social distancing, etc but cannot treat churches, synagogues and mosques differently from say Walmart.
Should Governors resist and keep churches closed, or have different rules, then those governors will be getting a call from the Attorney General.
That’s the power that Trump was referring to, that the New York Times seems not to be aware of.
My guess is that the vast majority of governors will immediately comply. With maybe a couple exceptions, Whitmer, Newsom, Inslee, Cuomo to name a few.