This last Friday President Donald Trump demanded that churches across the United States be opened as they are “essential.” This seems an obvious attempt at virtue signaling to his core audience. “Today I am identifying houses of worship churches, synagogues and mosques as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said in prepared remarks from the White House briefing room. “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship – it’s not right – so I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.” This to any rational human being is a false equivalence, as churches themselves do not give any kind of care nor do they produce any product, and are a huge risk of spreading disease by their very nature, whether it be with pew seating, or the amount of contact that is involved with the passing out of the bread and wine.
The safety issue isn’t the only one however, as it should clear to anyone that churches and other religious places of worship are nowhere near as essential to the productivity of society as any business, many of which are closed. Putting places of worship above an important level besides that of an equivalent to entertainment such as movie theaters is clearly a violation of the separation of church and state. While people may value churches as spiritually important, it is not the government’s place to put their value above any business that actually produces things.
Trump also stated this, “I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me. But they’re not going to be successful in that call,” This demand that states head to his presidential will is extremely authoritarian and seems to be directly counter to the conservative values of states rights. With Trump basically saying that if any governor tries to uphold what they think is safe in their state, he will attempt to override their authority.