•   
  •   
  •   

Politics Trump ordered states to open churches. Can he do that?

16:24  23 may  2020
16:24  23 may  2020 Source:   politico.com

CDC will issue guidance on reopening U.S. churches: Trump

  CDC will issue guidance on reopening U.S. churches: Trump CDC will issue guidance on reopening U.S. churches: TrumpChurches, like many businesses across the United States, have been mostly shuttered in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, though some states have allowed them to reopen with limitations.

While Mr. Trump demanded that churches and other worship houses reopen this weekend, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House pandemic coordinator “ He could make a statement, and even call it an ‘ order ,’ but there is no legal compulsion for the state governors to comply,” said Harold Hongju

President Trump ordered U.S. states to open houses of worship. A teenage girl crossed India — on a bike — to get her father home safe Jay Inslee of Washington said in a statement, “there is no order and we think he understands at this point that he can’t dictate what states can or cannot open .”

Video by Today Show

President Donald Trump is making a show of siding with religious groups in their clashes with state and local authorities — but his own Justice Department’s actions are exposing the challenges involved in trying to bring the federal government's power to bear on the issue.

California: 1,200 pastors want to defy the ban on organizing services

 California: 1,200 pastors want to defy the ban on organizing services © Provided by Le Point pastor, religion, coronavirus Faith foolproof. In the United States, the states have the hand to decide on the relaxation of the health restrictions to fight against the epidemic of coronavirus, which made more than 90 000 deaths in the country and where more than 1.5 million cases have been listed. In California, the governor opted for a progressive deconfinement in several phases. If small businesses have reopened, places of worship are closed for the moment.

Trump Orders States to Let Churches and Houses of Worship Reopen. McEnany Clashes With Reporters After Trump Orders Churches to Open Immediately.

President Trump is urging the nation's governors to open houses of worship this weekend. It comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is releasing new guidelines for communities of faith. Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason joins Lana Zak to discuss.

The president’s sweeping pronouncement Friday that states must treat all churches and other houses of worship as essential under coronavirus lockdown orders “right now” was met with a now familiar chorus of reaction from critics and legal commentators that he has no authority to issue such a directive.

“The president doesn’t have that power,” said Rachel Laser of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution forbids the federal government from strongarming the states. These are reckless exaggerations that are obviously aimed at pandering to his base.”

Some dismissed Trump’s rhetoric as election-year bluster not tethered to reality.

“President Trump’s statement on its face sounds more like political grandstanding than any actual enforcement of laws protecting religious freedom,” said Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The states are accorded great deference and, in fact, the governors are the ones who are in the saddle on most of these judgements calls, notwithstanding the president’s thoughts and desires.”

Donald Trump says church buildings are ‘essential.’ God disagrees

  Donald Trump says church buildings are ‘essential.’ God disagrees While I may not have been the best catechism student, I distinctly remember the priests and nuns saying that prayer was a direct line to God. A lesson from a Bible verseAnd that you didn’t need an actual building to worship.Churches are helpful. Churches afford believers a sense of community and camaraderie.But I recall a priest delivering a sermon on the subject ochurches, talking about the Bible verse (Matthew 18:20) where Jesus says, For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

President Trump has urged state governors to allow places of worship to open as an essential service, adding that he would override them if they chose not to. The president has considerable power, but it is not within his means to order governors to do this. However, he could potentially withhold federal aid

A new study found that hydroxychloroquine, promoted by President Trump , may be harmful when taken to treat the virus. Today, I’m identifying houses of worship, churches , synagogues and mosques as essential places that provide essential services.

As is often the case, Trump was long on bravado and short on explanation for how he planned to force his views on state leaders who declined to go along.

“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,” he insisted, before departing as reporters clamored for answers about the purported federal mandate.

Even his Harvard Law-trained press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, struggled to explain about how the president would implement such an order, dismissing questions about the idea as “hypothetical” and lashing out at reporters for their supposed lack of faith.

Despite the lack of detail, the president’s blunt rhetoric put a new spotlight on the federal government’s most prominent effort to try to police state and local stay-at-home orders: a drive announced last month by Attorney General William Barr to pursue those regulations for potential violations of religious liberty, as well as other infringements on the rights of Americans.

Trump declares houses of worship 'essential,' pressuring governors to let them reopen

  Trump declares houses of worship 'essential,' pressuring governors to let them reopen The president's order could set off a constitutional clash over one of the core tenets of the First Amendment.Speaking at a previously unannounced news briefing at the White House, the president revealed that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were "issuing guidance for communities of faith," and declared "houses of worship, churches, synagogues and mosques" to be "essential places that provide essential services.

There has been friction between Trump and state governors during the coronavirus pandemic. “Boy, it’s interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to see these churches and houses of worship I’m dying to go back to church . The question that we’re asking you, and would like to have asked the

Earlier this month he participated in a global summit which the Trump administration skipped. The idea that Gates is pushing vaccine efforts out of some sinister Christian leaders in several states were already making plans to open to congregants on the week of Pentecost, May 31, despite restrictions

So far, Trump’s promise to come to the rescue of beleaguered congregations has translated into only modest action. The Justice Department has yet to file a lawsuit on behalf of any church, organization or individual over the impact of state or local lockdown orders. Before Friday, its only court action was submitting what amounted to friend-of-the-court briefs in just two pandemic-related suits involving churches: one against a small Mississippi city and another against Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.

The claims the federal government has made in the litigation have also been modest. Justice Department lawyers did not advance any argument on par with Trump’s broad assertion Friday that houses of worship are universally essential. Instead, DOJ attorneys have made the narrower argument that some churches are being subject to an unfair double-standard, especially when compared to businesses deemed essential and allowed to remain open, like liquor stores.

A top federal prosecutor said Friday that tallying up the number of Justice Department court filings doesn’t take account of how DOJ lawyers have prompted revision of some onerous local policies simply by reaching out to mayors and local officials.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez: Trump's right: churches, other houses of worship are essential to America

  Rev. Samuel Rodriguez: Trump's right: churches, other houses of worship are essential to America The time has come to begin reopening our places of worship. As a resident of California, I commend Gov. Gavin Newsom and our state and local elected officials for their efforts to keep Californians safe. But as these leaders begin rolling out plans to reopen our states, I want to respectfully encourage and assure them that restrictions on places of worship can be lifted safely. Your browser does not support this video require(["binding"], function (binding) { binding("wcVideoPlayer", "#video_player_54249438-a801-49fa-9099-2572bc113c4f").

Earlier this month he participated in a global summit which the Trump administration skipped. The idea that Gates is pushing vaccine efforts out of some sinister Christian leaders in several states were already making plans to open to congregants on the week of Pentecost, May 31, despite restrictions

President Donald Trump demanded on Friday that states allow houses of worship to reopen from stay-at-home restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus outbreak, yet his authority to override governors’ orders is restrained by constitutional limits.

“There may have been few lawsuits filed, but there have been a lot of back-channel, government-to-government calls made,” Zachary Terwilliger, the U.S. Attorney based in Alexandria, Va., told POLITICO. “Folks have decided to stand down once they realize we’re serious and this is not just rhetoric.”

Terwilliger welcomed Trump’s statements Friday and said the idea that churches are essential has a compelling, common-sense logic to it.

“If we’re in a situation where we’ve got Wal-Mart open with social distancing, why not church? This is essential for some people. ... This is as essential as a liquor store, as essential as a tattoo parlor,” the prosecutor and former senior Justice Department official said.

Critics said Trump’s comments may not have been tied to any federal action, but rather to encourage churchgoers and ministers to defy state officials, precipitating on-the-ground conflicts and bad publicity that governors would likely avoid by softening their virus-related activity bans.

Trump’s statements “mislead people and embolden people to defy important public safety orders and put everyone at risk,” Laser said.

Trump’s drive to re-open churches comes despite a growing body of evidence tying church services to serious outbreaks of coronavirus. Just Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a warning about Arkansas church meetings in March where more than a third of 92 attendees wound up infected. Another 26 members of the community wound up hit by the virus. Four people died.

Trump’s urging stokes furor in debate over in-person worship

  Trump’s urging stokes furor in debate over in-person worship NEW YORK (AP) — The anticipated release of new federal guidance on in-person religious services comes at a precarious point in the national balancing act that pits the call of worship against the risk of coronavirus. Even before President Donald Trump and vowed that guidance would be coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Christian leaders in several states made plans to welcome back congregants on the week of Pentecost, May 31. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Similar church-focused outbreaks have been reported in Washington state, South Korea and France. Experts theorize that hand-holding, singing and the fellowship typical of church services create robust vectors to transmit the virus, particularly through airborne droplets.

Laser said those episodes undercut the notion that going to church is just like going to the liquor store or Home Depot. “If you start to think about the activity, it’s very different than going to purchase whiskey,” she said. “Liquor stores don’t exist as community places of gathering where there are going to be exchanges of germs ... The distinction is based in public safety.”

Slideshow by photo services

What is this "Open Skies" treaty that Trump wants to leave (which "many European countries" regret)?

 What is this © Copyright 2020, L'Obs Ten European countries "regret" Washington's decision to withdraw from the international Open Sky treaty while sharing its "concerns" about Russia, the French ministry said on Friday 22 May Foreign Affairs.

Several institutional and legal hurdles have limited the Justice Department effort.

One is that Trump and other federal officials have declared states of emergency over the pandemic that remain in effect. The Justice Department itself has relied on the threat posed by the outbreak to justify a series of extraordinary measures taken by the Trump administration, like shutting down processing of many asylum claims.

Even as they seek to second-guess aspects of state and local policies, DOJ lawyers have taken care not to dispute that there is a severe threat to public health.

Romero said the Trump administration’s efforts reek of hypocrisy and politics. “On the one hand, they want to say churches should be open for prayer. On other hand, they allow lawful abortion clinics to be shut down. The hypocrisy in choosing what states’ rights they will challenge which ones to acquiesce to is completely rooted in their own partisan agenda,” the ACLU executive director said.

Another challenge for the feds is that many states and local governments traditionally have more legal latitude to issue orders and regulations that affect religion than the federal government does.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by Congress in 1993 gave churches and individuals the right to sue over even widely applicable laws that interfere with religion. However, in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to apply the new federal law to states or municipalities. Some states have passed their own RFRA laws, but they don’t all go as far as the federal one.

Yet another hurdle is that the Justice Department typically conducts some investigation before filing a suit. Lawyers for religious-rights advocacy groups, on the other hand, can and have taken accounts from pastors and rushed to court for a restraining order within a matter of days or hours.

Organizations like the Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel and the Thomas More Society have embraced such cases with gusto, filing a slew of challenges across the country.

Laser said most of the efforts to win temporary restraining orders against the lockdowns have fizzled, but at least two federal appeals courts — the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit and the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit — have stepped in to allow churches to proceed with their services.

Not all judges are convinced the legal challenges are even the business of federal courts or the Justice Department. The trial-court judge handling the Justice Department-backed suit a Virginia church brought against Northam said in an order Thursday that she believes the dispute belongs in state court, where the pastor can raise a First Amendment defense to the criminal citation he received.

“Although the existence of a pandemic might be considered extraordinary, it does not call for federal intervention in state proceedings,” Obama appointee Arenda Allen wrote, tweaking conservatives by adopting states-rights principles trumpeted decades ago by opponents of the civil rights movement.

“If anything, the once-in-a-century nature of a pandemic strengthens the important state interests that counsel against federal intervention,” she added.

As Trump spoke out on the issue Friday — both at an appearance in the briefing room and to veterans staging an annual Memorial Day motorcycle rally in Washington — the Justice Department did mount what appeared to be a flurry of activity. Terwilliger issued a press release saying the department is “assessing its options” for joining in the Virginia church’s appeal of Allen's refusal to issue a restraining order and preliminary injunction in that case.

Also Friday, the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles sent a letter to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressing concern about comments about possibly continuing lockdown orders there for months. And federal prosecutors in Illinois filed a new statement of interest in a state lawmaker’s suit against Gov. J.B. Pritzker over his stay-at-home orders.

The latest actions didn’t impress some legal observers.

“I think the Illinois filing today is pretty powerful evidence that this is all just for show. Not only is DOJ not initiating any cases itself, but it’s making a big deal out of showing up in some of these cases only to make technical arguments about state law,” said University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck. “It’s about as weak a federal intervention in these cases as could’ve been expected, and leaves one wondering if the point is just to make it look like the Trump administration is doing more than nothing.”

Romero said some of the department’s actions could backfire against the government. He noted that the letter to Garcetti is extraordinarily vague, but he vowed to leverage its call for a return to normalcy in some of the ACLU’s pending litigation on behalf of abortion providers.

“It doesn’t say anything, but it could be quite useful against states who want to close down abortion services,” the ACLU chief said.

Terwilliger defended the department efforts, saying they were ramping up in part because measures that might have been justified as the outbreak surged in March are now less justifiable as the virus recedes in most areas. State and local officials need to adjust, he said.

“There’s a difference between now and March 23,” he said. “The strategies and regulations need to take into account that we’re in a different place now."

What is this "Open Skies" treaty that Trump wants to leave (which "many European countries" regret)? .
© Copyright 2020, L'Obs Ten European countries "regret" Washington's decision to withdraw from the international Open Sky treaty while sharing its "concerns" about Russia, the French ministry said on Friday 22 May Foreign Affairs.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
usr: 1
This is interesting!