The city of Chicago has begun fining churches that refuse to remain closed and comply with Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker’s statewide stay-at-home order.
According to Fox News, the Chicago Police Department has announced that three churches will be hit with penalties for services held on Sunday, May 17.
Under Gov. Pritzker’s order, religious services are considered nonessential and are therefore limited to fewer than 10 people.
One church, the Philadelphia Romanian Church of God, limited its congregation to 75 people on Sunday, a figure representing less than 10 percent of its total capacity. Those 75 worshipers were asked by the church to meet 13 requirements in order to attend, including having no coronavirus symptoms and being younger than 65 years old.
Nonetheless, the church was among those slapped with a $500 citation, according to the Chicago Police.
Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Metro Praise International were also fined for their Sunday services.
As we reported earlier this month, the pastors of these churches issued a declaration to Gov. Pritzker announcing their intention to open their churches for in-person services on May 10.
That declaration reads, in part:
You have allowed supermarkets, liquor stores, hardware stores, abortion clinics and a host of other businesses deemed “essential” to operate without the same limitations. You have singled out churches as not essential, and you have closed our doors even though we are willing and able to implement the same safety measures employed by those that remain open. This is a flagrant violation of the United States Constitution, and the liberties we have risked our lives to be able to enjoy in this once-free Nation.
Our willing compliance with your orders thus far has been voluntary. But this should not be misunderstood as our acquiescence to the improper and unconstitutional authority you have sought to exercise over our worship.
Pritzker has made a name for himself as one of the most aggressive governors passing restrictive executive orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Back in April, the governor lectured believers who desired to congregate in observance of holidays like Easter and Passover.
“I know how hard it is to break from traditional celebrations of togetherness,” the governor said. “But I believe passionately that adapting our expressions of faith in these times is one of the most faithful acts of all.”
April hosts many important celebrations for some of the largest religions.
I know how hard it is to break from traditional celebrations of togetherness.
But I believe passionately that adapting our expressions of faith in these times is one of the most faithful acts of all.
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) April 12, 2020
“I know that we all have a passionate desire to return to the sense of normalcy that we felt before the world knew of COVID-19,” Gov. Pritzker said of his reopening plan according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Here’s the truth. And I don’t like it any more than you do,” he said. “Until we have a vaccine, or an effective treatment, or enough widespread immunity that new cases fail to materialize, the option of returning to normalcy doesn’t exist.”
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