“To restore the right balance between public safety and individual freedom, the scholars we represent have stated their intention to begin holding services in church privately starting on Sunday, May 31, 2020,” the letter said. “All services will be provided in accordance with the CDC and country guidelines for social distance as required from ‘important business.'”
Churches at the center reopened debates in the US
Houses of worship were ultimately not included as part of the guidelines.
On Wednesday, Senior Advisor to President Kellyanne Conway said that the government was still working with the CDC on guidelines for these institutions.
President Donald Trump, speaking more broadly on Thursday, said one of the things he wanted to do to “normalize” life in the US was “make churches open.”
“Churches are not treated with respect by many Democratic governors,” Trump said. “I want to open our churches, and we will take a very strong position in that soon.”
It also came one day after the Ministry of Justice sent a letter to Newsom warning him that the country’s plan to reopen in the midst of a church pandemic discriminated against by the church.
In a letter to Newsom, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division wrote that the reopening plan, which allowed to return to restaurants and shopping centers in front of religious services, contained “unequal treatment from the religious community” which could run contrary to the First Amendment.
“The Department of Justice is not trying to dictate how States like California determine the level of activity and personal interaction that must be allowed to protect the safety of its citizens,” wrote assistant district attorney general Eric Dreiband. “However, we are accused of upholding the Constitution and protecting federal law for civil rights.”
“Whatever level of restrictions you adopt, the protection of these civil rights mandates equal treatment of people and activities that are secular and religious,” he added.
According to the Johns Hopkins University case count in the United States, there are at least 1,551,853 cases of the corona virus in the US and at least 93,439 people have died in the US due to the corona virus.
California currently has at least 85,997 cases of corona virus and 3,497 deaths.
David Shortell of CNN, Deborah Bloom, Nick Valencia, Jason Hoffman, Caroline Kelly and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.
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