Sixty-seven New Jersey pastors stated they’ll sue the state if they are not allowed to reopen their churches to in-person providers, in line with a letter despatched to Governor Phil Murphy Thursday.
“The pastors’ right to preach to their congregations is enshrined in the United States and New Jersey Constitutions. So too is the right of each and every New Jersey resident to attend church and gather with other like-minded people to worship God if they choose to do so,” states the letter, which was submitted to the governor by the Law Offices of Ruta, Soulios, and Stratis, LLP on behalf of the 67 named pastors.
“On their behalf, we respectfully urge you to modify prior Executive Orders deeming churches ‘nonessential.’ We further ask that you allow churches to reopen their physical doors so the people of New Jersey can once again worship God in accordance with their conscience and sincerely held religious beliefs,” the letter states.
Attached to the letter was a duplicate of the lawsuit that might be filed with the federal district court docket in New Jersey ought to the governor not agree to permit church buildings to reopen by May 27.
Alex McCormick, the pastor of Impact Church in Burlington, New Jersey, informed NJ.com in an interview that he didn’t see why some companies are allowed to reopen whereas church buildings are pressured to stay shuttered.
“We take the safety of our parishioners very seriously. Why would you say people can go to Lowes, Home Depot and the liquor store, but not church?” McCormick stated.
President Donald Trump echoed the emotions within the letter at a press convention Friday when he acknowledged that homes of worship must be deemed important, citing that “liquor stores and abortion clinics” have been named important by some governors in the course of the pandemic.
“Today I am identifying houses of worship – churches, synagogues, and mosques – as essential places that provide essential services. Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship. That’s not right, so I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential,” Trump stated.
Alyana Alfaro Post, the press secretary for the New Jersey governor, informed Newsweek in an e mail Saturday that Trump and Murphy had a “productive discussion” Friday concerning non secular gatherings.
“On Friday, President Trump and Governor Murphy had a productive discussion on the need to continue to move forward intelligently regarding religious services as New Jersey continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Governor’s orders will remain in effect, this matter continues to be under serious consideration as New Jersey moves toward Phase 2,” the press secretary stated.
Churches in New Jersey are at present allowed to assemble in teams of 10 or below when indoors, and in teams of as much as 25 in outside providers, offered social distancing tips are adopted.