The office of Attorney General William Barr said action will be taken against officials who single out religious organizations to enforce social distancing rules in place to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.
“During this sacred week for many Americans, AG Barr is monitoring govt regulation of religious services,” Barr spokeswoman Kerry Kupec wrote on Twitter Saturday night ahead of Easter. “While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly & not single out religious orgs. Expect action from DOJ next week!”
Many churches plan to host drive-in services on Easter Sunday without violating social distancing enforcement.
In Kansas, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly issued an order limiting religious gatherings to 10 people or fewer. While it was overturned by a legislative panel on Wednesday, the state Supreme Court of Kansas ruled in the governor’s favor late Saturday, The Topeka Capital Journal reports.
Late last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to “permanently” close churches and synagogues in particular if they refused to obey a stay-at-home order banning large gatherings.
Tony Perkins, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and president of the Christian conservative activist organization Family Research Council, criticized de Blasio’s comments on Twitter.
“De Blasio’s incendiary & unconstitutional threat to permanently shut down churches and synagogues must be retracted or corrected if it was a misstatement,” Perkins, who had previously spoken out against churches holding worship services during the outbreak, wrote in a tweet. “This type of religious hostility is what fuels non-compliance because it reveals a motive beyond public safety.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar