In a video posted to Facebook, Oklahoma Mayor Breea Clark said she will allow churches to open for Mother’s day.
“I will not feud with the federal government, especially not over one week,” Clark states.
Newsmax reports the mayor in Norman, Okla., changed her coronavirus shutdown orders to let churches and other houses of worship reopen in time for Mother’s Day, caving to a Department of Justice warning.
In a Facebook video post, Mayor Breea Clark said she still believes religious gatherings should be subject to the same restrictions as other large gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, rather than the rules that apply to businesses.
But after a warning by the DOJ, she said the fight wasn’t worth it.
“I will not feud with the federal government, especially not over one week,” she said.
Timothy Downing, the U.S. attorney for the western district of Oklahoma, had written Clark on Friday advising that if she was allowing restaurants, retail stores and salons to open, under social distancing and occupancy guidelines, then churches and other religious facilities must be granted those same rights, the Washington Times reported.
“There is no pandemic exception for civil liberties in the Constitution,” Downing said after the mayor’s reversal Friday night, the Washington Times reported.
“The free exercise of religion is one of our bedrock liberties and for this reason I am grateful to the mayor for allowing churches to open this Sunday.”
In her reversal, Breea suggested there was a tension between “the ideals this nation was founded on” and “science.”
“Foundational principles of this country are always to be respected. But the struggles this pandemic has created cannot be ignored,” she said.
“Many people have been referring to the Constitution as of late. I have as well — specifically the preamble and the part about promoting the general welfare,” she added.