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US Attorney General taking legal action to stop officials targeting churches during coronavirus outbreak

by Tola Mbakwe
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The office of the US Attorney General has said it will take legal action against authorities who unfairly target religious organisations during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Spokeswoman for Attorney General William Barr tweeted on Saturday that social distancing should not be used to single out religious groups. 


The announcement came after churches in different states have had disagreements with officials over how they hold services. 

The mayor of New York City said he would permanently close churches and synagogues if they refused to adhere to a ban of large gatherings. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing on 27th March: "A small number of religious communities, specific churches and specific synagogues are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it's so widespread

"[The city will] take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently.

"It's the last thing I would like to do because I understand how important people's faiths are to them and we need our faiths in this time of crisis. But we do not need gatherings that will endanger people," de Blasio said.

The governor of Kansas ordered for all religious services to be limited to ten people or less. The rule was overturned by a legislative panel last Wednesday, only for the state Supreme Court of Kansas to then rule in governor's favour late Saturday, right before Easter.

A mayor in Mississippi and Kentucky have also banned churches have having drive-in services. 

Florida megachurch pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was also arrested last month for holding a church service despite local social distancing measures. 

Howard-Browne's The River at Tampa Bay Church in Tampa, chose to have an online Easter service. The pastor is now being represented by Liberty Counsel which maintains that the church was "obeying safety guidelines" during its service last month,

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