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Pastors oppose New York mayor's threat to close churches


Interior of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City

Religious leaders are concerned that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to close places of worship if they violated his coronavirus stay-at-home order. Days before a pastor was arrested in Florida for conducting public services, de Blasio singled out synagogues and churches, saying they would be shut if they continued to meet during the Coronavirus epidemic.

" Law enforcement inform them they need to stop the Church services and disperse NYC Mayor de Blasio, a Democrat, said at his March 27 press briefing. "If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently."

Advocates of religious liberty expressed concern about the mayor's remarks. "For any Political leader who threatens to permanently close churches is a matter of great concern," Pastor Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist executive committee, told Fox News in an interview.

Pastor Ronnie Floyd encourages churches to honor government orders to stop the spread of the virus, but says "constitutional protections remain unchanged from current conditions."

Bart Barber, a pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, said the mayor should "clarify or correct his threat to permanently close churches and synagogues if they do not comply with his demands."

Ken Ham, founder and president of Genesis Answers, also spoke out against the NYC mayor.

“It's a warning for the future when one person claims they have the power to close churches permanently,” Ham tweeted. “That's what we've seen in China & Cuba.”

1 April 2020

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