PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – President Trump deemed churches and other houses of worship essential on Friday, calling on governors to allow them to reopen immediately saying he will override them if they don’t.
This comes after 10 churches in Oregon filed a lawsuit against Gov. Kate Brown.
The suit claims under the Oregon Constitution, Brown could only shut the state down for 28 days without legislative approval.
On Monday, a Baker County judge tossed out Brown's statewide restrictions saying the governor didn't seek the legislature's approval to extend stay at home orders.
The Oregon Supreme Court later put a halt on the judge's ruling.
The senior pastor at one of the church’s involved, Calvary Chapel Southeast, tells FOX 12 President Trump’s statement is welcome news for his church and others across the state.
“We love our people, and nobody wants to see them safer than I do,” said Pastor Doug Snow of Calvary Chapel Southeast.
Snow says he feels the intent of his church has been misread since being involved in the lawsuit.
“We love the community. We love to serve people,” he said. “We wanna do things legally, according to the law. We have no desire to uprise and cause a bunch of confusion, but we do want to be a voice.”
The president’s announcement resonating with Snow who feels churches have always been essential as he watches people able to make their way through grocery stores, liquor and cannabis shops while under a stay at home order.
“I haven’t begrudged the fact that they've opened up, Walmart and all those stores, but it did seem like we were being discriminated,” Snow said.
The CDC posted new guidance to help communities of faith stay safe.
In addition to what a person may expect for safety guidelines like social distancing, face masks and routine cleaning, the agency recommends posting preventative signs and having a plan for when staff or a worshiper gets sick. You can read more about the guidelines here.
Snow says while Calvary Chapel Southeast hasn't reopened yet and they don’t plan to this weekend despite the president’s comments. They are ready with enhanced safety measures and chairs cut down to about half the capacity, spread among several rooms.
“I don’t want anybody who doesn’t feel comfortable coming to church,” he said.
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.