(PresidentialWire.Com)- Following the arrest of several pastors for holding regular Christian Sunday services, despite the social distancing rules currently in place, Governor of Texas Greg Abbott announced that his state considers religious services to be “essential.”
Under current guidelines, only services that are considered essential can go on as normal. People may travel when it is essential, visit grocery stores, and go to work. However, unnecessary social mingling is not allowed as the country faces the uncontrollable spread of the Chinese coronavirus.
Governor Abbott issued an executive order on Tuesday that ensures essential services, including religious services, can continue despite the continued spread of the Chinese virus. In the executive order, all Texas residents must reduce social interaction with those who do not live in the same household.
“Essential services’ shall consist of everything listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, Version 2.0, plus religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship,” the executive order explains.
“Other essential services may be added to this list with the approval of the Texas Division of Emergency Management,” it continued.
Other states have not taken the same measures as Texas so far, with many worshippers choosing to stay at home. However, to mitigate the potential impact public worship may have on the spread of the coronavirus, Abbott encouraged everybody attending churches to wash their hands, practice good hygiene, and to engage in social distancing.
The news comes after pastors in Florida and Louisiana were both arrested for continuing Sunday services to large gatherings earlier this week.
Announcing the arrest of Dr. Ronald Howard-Browne, Pastor of The River at Tampa Bay Church, who intentionally and repeatedly disregarded state and local public health orders, which put his congregation and our community in danger. pic.twitter.com/1gERVdzyIp
— Chad Chronister (@ChadChronister) March 30, 2020
Reverend Tony Spell of the Life Tabernacle Church in Louisiana was labeled “reckless and irresponsible” for going ahead with regular Sunday services by Police Chief Roger Corcoran. Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of Florida was also described as having a “reckless disregard of public safety” by Florida Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
What do you think – is it right to arrest pastors for hosting religious events? Or is Governor Abbott doing the right thing in Texas by allowing worship to go ahead?