By Terri LaPoint, Real News Spark
May 22, 2020
After reassuring Americans yesterday that he wanted to see churches opened up, President Donald Trump took the White House podium this afternoon to declare that it is time for all houses of worship to re-open. His comments were brief, but they embodied the bold leadership that patriotic Americans have seen in Trump.
President Trump pointed out the injustice of the policies enacted by many states in which “some governors have deemed the liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship.”
It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship “essential.”
He acknowledged that “many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life.” Houses of worship “hold our society together and keep our people united.”
Many states have forbidden churches to meet during the Covid-19 outbreak. Some have limited gatherings to no more than ten people, or recommended “drive-in” services. In some places, pastors and parishioners have been ticketed or arrested simply for meeting together. Who would ever have thought we would see this happen in America?
The decision whether or not to allow church, synagogue, or mosque congregations to open has largely rested with governors. That time is over, according to President Trump, who today called upon governors to allow all places of worship to re-open.
At the president’s direction, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidelines today for the re-opening of churches and other houses of worship. They can be found here.
He was unequivocal in his declaration to governors:
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. Thank you very much!
This is a welcome announcement to many Americans who have sorely missed gathering together in our houses of worship.
See the full press conference here:
Later in the press conference, White House Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany addressed reporters, some of whom did not appear happy with the President’s decision:
I am thankful that we have a president that celebrates the First Amendment. The same amendment that gives you all the ability to ask me questions is there to have the freedom of worship so imams and pastors can go to their churches and go to their places of worship and celebrate what is a First Amendment right in this country, which is to pray to your God and to practice your faith.
Despite interruptions from the media, she continued: “We should be thankful that there are guidelines to allow us to reengage in that behavior,” which includes the ability to “gather in their places of worship, to attend church services, [and] to pray together.”
Thousands of years ago in the days of Moses, God gave people the Ten Commandments. One of those is to “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.” Part of Sabbath worship has always been assembling together. It is a vital part of life, as essential to the spirit and soul as food and water are to the body.
Obviously, we can worship God wherever we are. We can always pray, read the Scriptures, meditate, and worship wherever we are. But there is something very special about gathering together to worship with others of our faith that cannot be replicated anywhere or any way else.
Online church is NOT ENOUGH.
The very word translated “Church” from the Greek “Ekklesia” means “gathering,” or “assembly.” The Bible says not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together. Gathering in person is, as President Trump acknowledged today, a vital part of faith.
It has never been the place of government officials or health officials to violate the God-given right, and command, for believers to gather together to worship. The First Amendment secured that God-given right for the citizens of this nation. Today, the President reaffirmed this most sacred of our rights as American citizens, and we are grateful.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America
In Alabama, houses of worship officially opened last week. Going to church was literally like a waterfall of refreshing and life to a thirsty soul. As I drank in the beauty of once again worshiping Jesus in the house of the Lord, I understood King David’s words like never before: “Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere!” My spirit has longed to be in the house of the Lord. I felt desperate to once again be in church with my brothers and sisters. Nothing else has satisfied my soul as much during these past months as going to church this Sunday did.
May we NEVER AGAIN take for granted the beautiful privilege of gathering together with fellow believers in our houses of worship.