Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church, Philadelphia Romanian Church of God and Metro Praise International Church – all in the Chicago area – each were fined $500 for defying a statewide order limiting in-person church gatherings to 10 persons. All three churches say they can safely worship while following social distancing guidelines with reduced seating.
Willie Wilson, a 2015 and 2019 Chicago mayoral candidate, said in a Wednesday press release he will pay the fines. He criticized Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker continue to intimidate the Church,” Wilson said. “... The first right guaranteed by the constitution is free exercise of religion. The governor and mayor continue to trample on our constitutional rights while hiding behind a Stay at Home Order that treats the church as non-essential.”
Wilson applauded the churches that “dared to worship” Sunday and also questioned why businesses are allowed to open while churches must remain closed.
“It is shameful that the church is discriminated against, while liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries and Home Depot [are] treated as essential businesses. Governor Pritzker’s order violates the moral law of the universe, which is the highest law,” Wilson said.
“All around us, in Wisconsin, and Kentucky Stay Home Orders are being found unconstitutional, because they go too far,” Wilson added. “Governor Pritzker‘s unequal and unfair application of the law as it relates to the church is unconstitutional and must be challenged. I am proud to stand up for Jesus Christ and pay these fines against a government that is using COVID-19 to shred the constitution.”
PRESS ADVISORY Dr. Wilson to Pay Fines for Churches that Held Religious Service in Defiance of Governor’s Stay at Home Order pic.twitter.com/eRJ7CKWiGK— Dr. Willie Wilson (@DrWillieWilson) May 21, 2020
Meanwhile, megachurch pastor Brian Gibson, founder of the Peaceably Gather movement, will speak Sunday (May 24, 9 a.m. Central) at Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church. The movement encourages churches nationwide to meet in-person while following social distancing rules and health guidelines. Gibson is senior pastor of HIS Church, a Kentucky congregation with multiple locations.
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Photo courtesy: Dr. Willie Wilson Facebook
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, TheChristian Post, TheLeaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star andthe Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Trump Threatens To Override Governors If They Do Not Open Churches
This article was sourced from The Daily Caller Politics
President Donald Trump called on governors Friday to open houses of worship “right now,” warning he will override governors’ orders if they do not allow Americans to attend religious services.
Trump spoke Friday at the White House where he said governors should allow churches and places of worship to open, saying that if governors have any questions on this, “they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call.”
“These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united,” Trump said. “The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque. Many millions of Americans embrace worship as an essential part of life.”
The president added that he is confident that faith leaders will make sure their congregations are safe. (RELATED: California’s Reopening Plan Discriminates Against Churches, DOJ Says)
“I know them well. They love their congregations, they love their people, they don’t want anything bad to happen to them or anyone else,” Trump said.
“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now,” Trump said. “For this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. In America, we need more prayer, not less.”
Trump: 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. pic.twitter.com/Tmd2T5zB16
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) May 22, 2020
The religious freedom organization First Liberty applauded the president’s words in a Friday statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The discrimination that has been occurring against churches and houses of worship has been shocking,” said Kelly Shackelford, who is president, CEO and chief counsel of First Liberty. “We applaud the President’s strong stance today demanding that these attacks must stop and that churches and houses of worship be freed to safely open.”
“Americans are going to malls and restaurants,” Shackelford said. “They need to be able to go to their houses of worship.”
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This article was sourced from Christian Headlines