New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned pastors and other religious leaders to either shut down their houses of worship – or else.
“You have been warned. You need to stop services,” de Blasio told reporters on Friday.
For the handful who haven’t, it’s my sad duty to say that if you hold large gatherings at a house of worship this weekend, we will have to enforce the rules for everyone’s safety.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 28, 2020
#NewYork Mayor Bill de Blasio warned the Jewish community that synagogues that continue to defy #coronavirus regulations and hold services will be permanently shut down.https://t.co/dPKWKqizpk
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) March 29, 2020
De Blasio: churches and synagogues that hold worship services may be closed permanently pic.twitter.com/kdUsdbP2YO
— Matthew Schmitz (@matthewschmitz) March 29, 2020
“Help people practice their faith in different ways, but not in groups, not in gatherings that can endanger people,” he said.
The mayor said the police department, fire department and building inspectors “will force congregations to disperse if they are found holding worship services this week,” Politico reports.
Any congregation that refuses to comply with the mayor’s order, could face fines or have their buildings permanently closed, Fox 5 NYC reports.
“If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services, after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice, but to shut down those services,” de Blasio said. “I don’t say that with any joy. It’s the last thing I would like to do, because I understand how important people’s faiths are to them, and we need our faith in this time of crisis. But we do not need gatherings that will endanger people.”
Religious liberty is under direct assault in New York City, folks.
There’s no doubt that churches should take reasonable precautions to protect their congregations. It’s prudent to cancel services or move to online worship.
But the government has no right to dispatch “enforcement agents” to literally shut down houses of worship in the name of public safety.
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