COVID-19: Trump orders reopening of U.S. worship centres

U.S. President Donald Trump tours medical equipment distributor Owens & Minor in Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S., May 14, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump tours medical equipment distributor Owens & Minor in Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S., May 14, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

United States of America president, Donald Trump, has ordered the reopening of churches, mosques and other worship centres in the country even as deaths caused by COVID-19 mount.

Mr Trump also threatened to override state governors who disobey his directive.

He declared the closure of worship centers as ‘injustice’ while the opening of liquor stores and abortion clinics are still functional.

The U.S. still tops the chart of countries with highest cases of COVID-19 as its death toll, as of Saturday morning stands above 90,000 while the recorded cases are well above 1.6 million, according to data culled from worldometer.com.

The country is currently facing major challenges as it prepares for presidential elections slated for November 2020.

“Today I am identifying houses of worship; churches, synagogues and mosques as essential places that provide essential services. Some governors have deemed the liquor stores, abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worships, it is not right.

“I’m correcting this injustice, calling the house of worship essential. I’m calling upon our governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there is any question they have to call me and they are not going to be successful in that call,” Mr Trump declared at the White House press conference on Friday.

READ ALSO: Don’t ‘politicise’ war on coronavirus, WHO replies Trump

He tied his argument for reopening around an alleged American demand to return to churches. He added that “these are places that hold our society together and keep our people united.”

“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,” he said as he claimed that worship centers leaders will ensure the safety of their members.

Contrasting reactions

While many worshippers have taken to the social media to praise Mr Trump’s directive to the state governors, others have condemned his decision as a killer move and a mere plot to win more voters in his reelection bid.

“You’re gonna kill off all your supporters,” Mia Farrow (@miafarrow), an American actress and UNICEF Ambassador tweeted via her verified account in reaction to this development.

Also in his reaction, Talbert Swan, an American prelate, and current bishop at the Church Of God In Christ in Canada, cautioned worshippers against Mr Trump’s directive.

“I’ve been a pastor for 26 years. I love Church. Church is my life. I love and miss people who attend church. I love how our church serves the community. Our church inspires, assists, and empowers people. 46-1 doesn’t care about our church or its members. #StayAtHome #StayAlive,” Mr Swan cautioned Americans through his verified twitter account @talbertswan on Saturday morning.

Projecting the views of many others read by this reporter on Mr Trump’s shared video his verified twitter account, Melissa A. (@TheRightMelissa), thanked the president “for standing for the Americans.”

“Thank You President Trump for standing up for faith in America at a time when churches are being persecuted, pastors are being arrested, church members are being fined & cited for the crime of wanting to practice their religion. Democrat governors doing this should be ashamed!

“Meanwhile liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries & Abortion clinics are deemed essential but people can gather social distance & worship their God. In America? The nation was founded on the very principle of free exercise of religion,” she said.



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