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Trump’s Push To Open Churches Contradicts Jesus’ Teaching To Love Neighbors, Clergy Say

Several religion leaders are talking out in opposition to President Donald Trump’s demand that governors enable church buildings to reopen whereas the nation nonetheless battles the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the activist Rev. William Barber, Trump’s push contradicts a basic tenet of the president’s Christian religion ― to like your neighbor as your self.

“It’s a violation of loving your neighbor as yourself to do something that you know could put your neighbor in harm’s way,” Barber advised HuffPost on Friday. “That’s a fundamental violation.” 

Barber pointed to scripture verses that lash out at individuals who cling to non secular customs whereas mistreating the poor, immigrants and different marginalized folks.

“Those who will worship and go through religious ceremony, but don’t care for justice and lifting up the poor and fighting for what is right, the Bible calls it hypocrisy, the very thing that God does not like,” Barber mentioned.

Trump introduced throughout a White House press convention on Friday that he’s labeling homes of worship “essential” and calling on states to permit them to reopen over the vacation weekend. He threatened to “override” governors who defy him, though authorized students say he lacks formal energy to pressure governors to observe his orders.

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abor-tion clinics as essential, but have left out houses of worship. It’s not right,” Trump mentioned. “So I’m correcting this injustice by calling houses of worship essential.”

Trump’s push aligns most intently with the priorities of white evangelicals and rapidly drew reward from shut evangelical allies, such because the evangelist Franklin Graham and Texas pastor Robert Jeffress. White evangelicals have been extra doubtless than different American spiritual teams to say they have been anxious that coronavirus restrictions received’t be lifted rapidly sufficient, based on a Pew Research Center survey accomplished on May 5. 

Nevertheless, there’s concern even amongst this constituency that state governments will return to regular too rapidly. Around half of white evangelicals (51%) say they’re extra involved that coronavirus restrictions will likely be lifted too rapidly. 



Demonstrators holding indicators demanding the reopening of church buildings throughout a rally on May 1, 2020, in San Diego.

Rev. Jim Wallis, president of the progressive Christian group Sojourners, known as on folks of religion to remain at house “until it is healthy and safe to gather again.” Like Barber, Wallis mentioned that this was a solution to dwell out Jesus’ instructing to like your neighbor.

“We all want to go back to our corporate church gatherings — but only when that is safe, being very careful not to infect each other or our neighbors with a virus,” Wallis advised HuffPost. 

“Keeping houses of worship closed until safety is secured is a direct action to love and protect our neighbors,” he added.

More Christian clergy chimed in on Twitter to criticize Trump’s transfer:

Churches shouldn’t open till native authorities decide it’s protected for them to take action, mentioned Rev. James Martin, editor at giant of the Catholic journal America. Trump’s broad try to strain each governor to permit homes of worship to reopen “will just lead to more infections and dea-th, especially among the most vulnerable,” he advised HuffPost.

The want to worship in particular person should be tempered by concern for others’ security, Martin mentioned.

“It’s not just about ‘your desire,’ holy though it may be,” Martin advised HuffPost. “Wearing a mask, keeping social distance and even not gathering in church is a way of protecting others ― and of loving others.”

“Essentially, it’s not just about you ― especially if you’re asymptomatic,” he mentioned.

Rev. William J. Barber is the co-chair of the<i>&nbsp;</i>Poor People&rsquo;s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, wh



Rev. William J. Barber is the co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, which pulls inspiration from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.

Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, has led a marketing campaign calling on folks to “stay in place” and “stay alive” in areas the place authorities are reopening in opposition to the recommendation of public well being officers and different specialists.

It has been weeks since Barber worshipped in particular person together with his religion neighborhood, North Carolina’s Greenleaf Christian Church. But he insists that doesn’t imply his church stopped being a church. Church members have been having Bible research and worshipping on-line, serving meals to the hungry, checking in on seniors, and organizing civic participation, he mentioned.

Church buildings are essential, however ultimately, they’re simply buildings, Barber mentioned.

“Do they have importance? Yes, but even those buildings are not more important than people doing the will of the Lord, being the church, being the transforming agent in communities,” he mentioned. 

“Ultimately for Christians, Jesus didn’t spend most of his time in a building, he spent his time with people ― the poor, the sick, the blind, the lame, the leper. That’s what Jesus did.”

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