RALEIGH, North Carolina, April 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Lawmakers who push for the resumption of churchgoing before the COVID-19 lockdowns have been lifted are irresponsible, North Carolina Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper claimed Friday at a news conference.
“When people gather together and are around each other for a long time, the evidence is overwhelming that the virus can spread so much more easily,” Cooper said, according to a Carolina Journal report. “Unfortunately, this has happened at churches in our state and in our country.”
Among the lawmakers to push back against the state’s stay-at-home orders are Senate Leader Phil Berger, state Sen. Jim Perry, and U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-9), all Republicans. Perry has written Cooper requesting an exemption for religious services, and Bishop intends to lead a protest outside the Executive Mansion on Tuesday.
In NC's capital city: “No communion,” “no tithes,” “no (religious) literature.” Yet the same gov't orders allow ppl to pay cash for take-out food after reviewing a menu at the local McDonalds.
This is an outrageous and unconstitutional overstep of government authority. #ncpol
— Senator Phil Berger (@SenatorBerger) April 16, 2020
Some localities have more stringent lockdowns than others, with Wake County even prohibiting services for which the faithful stayed in their cars. The county backed down from that restriction after stiff resistance, but still bars churches from collecting tithes, passing out literature, or performing communion.
The suppression of religious exercise has been one of the focal points for resistance to the COVID-19 lockdowns across the country, along with prohibitions on peaceful protesting, even when the protestors abide by “social distancing.” Pro-lifers warned or punished by law enforcement include David Benham’s Cities4Life in Charlotte, North Carolina; Love Life in Greensboro, North Carolina; Andrew Belanger, Justin Phillips, and Cal Zastrow in Detroit, Michigan; and Ron Kanopaski in San Francisco, California; and A Moment of Hope in Columbia, South Carolina.
“The problem is that his order and, more egregiously, the Wake County order, treat houses of worship differently from other establishments,” Berger spokesman Pat Ryan said in response to Cooper. “There needs to be consistency. It is patently unconstitutional to have one set of rules for one building (such as a restaurant open for carryout orders), and a different set of rules for the exact same building next door if it’s a house of worship.”