The controversy with Donald Trump never ends.
It seems that he deals with the COVID-19 situation like a passing cloud. Got the virus? No problem, just drink some disinfectants and you’ll be fine.
Economy experiencing a downturn? No problem, just reopen the nation’s economy and everything will be fine.
Trump Orders Reopening of Places of Worship; Said They Are Essential Service
US President Donald Trump stated on Friday (22 May) that state governors should allow places of worship to reopen immediately.
Trump briefly commented at the White House that houses of worship are “essential places that provide essential services”, and walked off from the media briefing like a boss after that while his press secretary handled the questions by a group of hungry journalists.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, public health officials have restricted gatherings and ceremonies in churches. However, some were vexed at the restrictions imposed.
He said that governors should allow places of worship to reopen “right now for this weekend”.
“In America, we need more prayer, not less,” chimes Trump, as he threatens to override the governors if they do not follow instructions, though it’s unknown how he could do that as each state is governed by its governors respectively, who decide what rules to be imposed on each state.
According to him, these are places that “hold society together”.
A Threat Or A Chance At Re-election?
Does Trump really have the authority to override governors who wish to keep places of worship closed?
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who has been impressive in the media briefings since taking over the role last month, did not state what action Trump would take if they chose not to reopen these places of worship.
Apparently, she calls these situations “hypothetical”. To add on, it is also unclear what authority Trump has to override states.
So all these threat for nothing? Jeez.
She hopes that people are allowed to “pray to their gods across this country” this Sunday (24 May).
Why this Sunday? And why the sudden reopening of places of worship?
This Sunday is the weekend of Memorial Day, which falls on Monday (25 May) in the US.
Hence, people would go to places of worship to honour and mourn military personnel who had died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
This explains the sudden reopening of worship places that Trump forcefully demanded of. However, that is not entirely the main reason why.
According to The New York Times, religious conservatives are the core of Trump’s voter base.
Given that Trump wants to increase his chances of getting re-elected, he needs to get a strong turnout from these people.
In other words, Trump is trying to get the votes of these people by reopening the places of worship.
Allegedly, of course.
“Social Distance In Places Of Worship”
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention had released guidance to help churches reopen.
Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, stated that faith leaders should be in touch with their local health departments if they are considering reopening.
She also remarked that people with risk factors or comorbidities in communities should stay away from places of worship for now.
She understands that these people aren’t able to go places of worship. However, she added that there is a way to “social distance in places of worship”.
Dr Deborah further encouraged people to enjoy the outdoors during the Memorial Day weekend, including going to the beaches, as long as they maintain six feet (about 1.8m) of social distancing.
So yes, if you’ve not been following the global news because everyone’s stuck here in Singapore, here’s what’s happening overseas: countries have opened up or are starting to open up, while we here in Singapore are still in Circuit Breaker mode.
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