Pressing states to swiftly drop their restrictions related to the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Friday declared that houses of worship were 'essential' to communities, calling on governors to immediately allow religious gatherings this weekend, ending weeks of restrictions due to the threat of the Coronavirus.
In a hastily called statement in the White House Briefing Room, the President said religious services are needed to 'help hold our society together.'
"Many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life," President Trump told reporters.
"We want our places of faith, our synagogues, we want them open," Mr. Trump declared.
“Today I am identifying houses of worship - churches, synagogues and mosques - as essential places that provide essential services,” the President told reporters.
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship,” Mr. Trump added.
GOP lawmakers in Congress praised the President's call.
"This is the correct decision," said Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), "churches and other houses of worship are an important part of the fabric of American life."
"Churches and other houses of worship are an essential part of any free and healthy democracy," said Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA).
But churches and religious meetings have been a stubborn source of Coronavirus infections all across the nation, prompting states to bar such gatherings.
Earlier this month on Mother's Day, a church in northern California defied authorities and held a gathering for 180 people. The next day, one attendee tested positive for the virus.
In another California case, several people came down with the virus, after working as part of skeleton crew to live stream Mother's Day church services.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.