The Justice Department has issued California Governor Newsom a harsh warning: take steps to reopen churches, or pay the price.
The warning was sent to Governor Newsom in a letter and informed him that there are "civil rights concerns" with the state's current lockdown restrictions, Politico reported.
California previously decided to deem other parts of the economy as "essential" and therefore allow them to remain open during the lockdown.
But houses of worship have continued to be prohibited by the state.
“This facially discriminates against religious exercise,” the Justice Department said. “California has not shown why interactions in offices and studios of the entertainment industry, and in-person operations to facilitate nonessential ecommerce, are included on the list as being allowed with social distancing where telework is not practical, while gatherings with social distancing for purposes of religious worship are forbidden, regardless of whether remote worship is practical or not.”
When asked previously about why he wasn't reopening churches, Governor Newsom dragged his feet and said once coronavirus infections and hospitalizations go down he would allow it.
Yet he still deemed many other activities as "essential" and said they could reopen sooner.
In other news, 3,000 California pastors have joined together and vowed to reopen their churches despite whether or not Newsom legally allows them to.
The pastors announced that they will be opening May 31, instead of waiting until stage 3, when gyms, movie theaters, and other venues open, the San Bernardino County Sun reports.
They chose May 31 because it is Pentecost, marking the birth of the Christian Church when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and followers of Jesus.
“Our churches are part of the answer, not part of the problem,” said Danny Carroll, senior pastor at Water of Life Community Church. “We're an essential part of this whole journey and we've been bypassed ... kicked to the curb and deemed nonessential."
Thank God the Trump administration is stepping in to let Governor Newsom know that they will not stand by and watch as California openly discriminates against churches.