Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a Catholic, doesn’t think churches should open until it is “scientifically safe” to do so.
Pelosi was asked at a Friday press conference to respond to Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Joseph Cordileone’s recent article urging California leaders to consider reopening churches. Despite her own violation of the COVID-19 government lockdown orders in San Francisco by booking and attending an illegal indoor hair appointment, Pelosi stated that going to in-person church services might be ” jeopardizing people’s health.”
“I don’t know if he was speaking as our pastor or as a lobbyist or advocate, but whatever it is, I’m sure that he must have meant if it is scientifically safe rather than jeopardizing people’s health if they want to go to church,” she explained.
While Pelosi admitted that she misses “going to church regularly,” she claims that she and the archbishop have “some areas of agreement and some areas of disagreement.”
“With all due respect to my Archbishop, I think we should follow science on this. And again with faith and science, sometimes they’re countered to each other,” Pelosi said.
“I believe that science is an answer to our prayers. It is a creation of God and one that is an answer to our prayers,” she added.
In the Washington Post, Cordileone argues that “the most basic religious freedom, the right to worship — protected so robustly in our Constitution’s First Amendment” is being “unjustly repressed by an American government.”
We Catholics respect legitimate authority, and we recognize that the government has a right to impose reasonable public health rules, just as we recognize its right to issue safety codes for our church buildings. But when government asserts authority over the church’s very right to worship, it crosses a line. Our fundamental rights do not come from the state. As the authors of our Declaration of Independence put it, they are “self-evident,” that is, they come from God.”
Until Sept. 1, churches in San Francisco were only allowed to have outdoor services with a maximum of 12 people. Now, Mayor London Breed has extended the number of people at an outdoor service to 50, but still does not allow any indoor services.
Not only does Cordileone believe churches should be afforded the same freedoms to operate indoors like other establishments and give in-person sacraments, but he also claims that attending church is something desperately needed by his community.
“All we are seeking is access to worship in our own churches, following reasonable safety protocols — the same freedoms now extended to customers of nail salons, massage services and gyms. It’s only fair, it’s only compassionate, and, unlike with these other activities, it’s what the First Amendment demands,” Cordileone explained.
“People are being denied the religious worship that connects them with God and one another. For hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans facing the simultaneous challenges of a pandemic and economic downturn, the church is their key source of spiritual, emotional and practical help,” he added.
Cordileone also announced that he would be participating in a demonstration Sunday calling on San Fransisco Mayor London Breed to treat religious believers fairly.
“We want to be partners in protecting the public health, but we cannot accept profoundly harmful and unequal treatment without resisting,” he said.
Cordileone is not alone in his frustrations. Many pastors around the country are growing increasingly frustrated with the gross overreach by the government to limit their right to worship.
Grace Community Church, pastored by John MacArthur, is fighting a legal battle with Los Angeles County over their right to hold worship services indoors. While MacArthur originally encouraged his congregation to obey lockdown orders at the beginning of the pandemic, the church’s leaders eventually decided to begin meeting again in person despite local ordinances.
“We do not need the state’s permission to serve and worship our Lord as He has commanded,” they stated. “Freedom of worship is a command of God, not a privilege granted by the state.”