Pastors Defy 'Anti-Christ' Governors and Open Churches in Trump's Name

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While some churches took Trump's order to "open up right now" as a green light, other faith leaders said they would "absolutely not" be moved by the president's proclamation.
President Donald Trump's call on Friday to reopen houses of worship sent a green light to some pastors to resume in-person services on Sunday, even in the face of contrary bans from governors.

Cindy Hope, pastor of the Promise Church in Escondido, California, called Trump's proclamation "exciting" and compared it to winning the lottery. Earlier that day, despite having no authority to do so, Trump ordered governors to immediately allow houses of worship to resume in-person religious services, escalating an ongoing dispute across the nation.

"When the president came out and said churches are essential, I'm like wait, did everybody just hear that? Was I alone in hearing that?" she told Fox 5 San Diego. "We get to have church. I know it's a modified version but, hey, we get to come and worship God and be together and that's what's so important right now."

To be clear, governors have great latitude during times of emergency, and sovereign authority under the constitution even in normal times. But Hope said that she intends to hold in-person services on Sunday, thanks to the support from the president.

A Maine pastor who unsuccessfully sued the state's governor to hold in-person services said one of his services on Sunday would be held inside. Calvary Chapel pastor Ken Graves said he'd just finished building an enclosed stage on a hay wagon—to hold improvised outdoor and drive-in services—when his phone started buzzing with Trump's announcement.

"Sure enough, there's the news of the position our president is taking in support of religious freedom," he said in a sermon posted to his Facebook in which he called the centralized lockdown powers being utilized by "leftist" governors as "the spirit of anti-Christ."

"What if there's a different spirit at work in the White House?" he asked. He added, however, that he would still fight for a court ruling in his favor.

Several California churches joined together on May 8 to file a 128-page civil rights lawsuit seeking an…
Olivia Messer
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