Trump says churches are ‘essential places’ but local religious leaders are unsure if it’s safe to reopen

Local News

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – President Donald Trump demanded Friday that states allow religious worship to restart.

Trump said church and religion are essential and threatened that he would take action against governors who do not allow it to resume.

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“Today, I am identifying houses of worship, churches, synagogues, and mosques as essential places that provide essential services,” said Trump.

“Churches are essential and they should have been placed in that first category by the president and we have been appealing to the governor to move us to the plan we are in currently,” said Fresno Cornerstone Church Senior Pastor Jim Franklin.

Legal analyst David Mugridge said the Federal Government does not have the legal power to open the churches – the state does. However, he said Trump could threaten to cut federal funding.

“That is what is happening,” said Mugridge. “You can go ahead and restrict people going to church Governor Newsom. But if you do that, I am not going to give you certain money. “

Cornerstone Church Senior Pastor Jim Franklin said he is opening on May 31, even if it is forbidden.

“We will follow all the CDC guidelines that are there,” said Franklin. “If it is safe to go to Walmart, if it is safe to go to Costco, it is safe to go to church.”

Rabbi Rick Winer said Temple Beth Israel will not open anytime soon because he said it could be dangerous.

“The Jewish community is very focused on health,” said Winer. “Health over everything else. The saving of a life is more important than gathering together in person.”

Northeast Fresno’s People’s Church will wait until it is given approval from the Fresno County Health Department.

“We are making sure that the congregates not only are safe,” said Pastor Brad Liede. “But feel safe. As well as the staff and volunteers. So we are looking forward to what the regulations and the guidelines are and then we will take some time.”

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