Trump Admin Rejects CDC’s Latest Guidelines Over Concerns For Religious Liberties

(PoliticalLookout.Com)- President Donald Trump and his administration have rejected the most recent guidelines created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying they are too strict and may infringe on religious liberty.
The interim guidance the CDC issued recently regarding lifting coronavirus-related restrictions in states across the country covers many areas such as mass transit, restaurants, businesses and schools.
The CDC has a section for “communities of faith” as well, but it is currently blank. It only has a note saying detailed information would be added at a later time once it consults with the White House, the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs, as well as the Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights.
According to a New York Times report, this is because the Trump administration pushed back on some recommendations. Their report reads:
“White House and other administration officials rejected the recommendations over concerns that they were overly prescriptive, infringed on religious rights and risked further damaging an economy that Mr. Trump was banking on to recover quickly.”
Recommendations regarding religious gatherings include people wearing facemasks while inside houses or worships, the consideration of “suspending use of a choir or musical ensemble” as well as “temporarily limiting the sharing of frequently touched objects.” This would include collection baskets and prayer books, for example.
According to the Times, a second draft of the guidelines says the recommendations aren’t “intended to infringe on First Amendment rights as provided in the U.S. Constitution,” and the “federal government may not prescribe standards for interactions of faith communities in houses of worship. C.D.C. offers these suggestions that faith communities may consider and accept or reject.”
The HHS Office for Civil Rights quickly responded back. Its director, Roger Severino, said:
“Protections against religious discrimination aren’t suspended during an emergency. This means the federal government cannot single out religious conduct as somehow being more dangerous or worthy of scrutiny than comparable secular behavior.”
It’s dangerous territory for the CDC to cross into when they start talking about religious institutions specifically. Even though what they are issuing is simply guidance and not firm rules and regulations that people have to abide by, it’s still a touchy subject for people all over the country.
Some members of religious institutions and communities across the country have fought back against coronavirus-related lockdown orders that forced them to shutter their doors during the pandemic. Others have outright disobeyed those orders.
Other religious-related issues have also been at the forefront of controversy during the pandemic. This includes pro-abortion groups who have fought to keep abortion clinics open and operational as essential medical services, versus pro-lifers who have been receiving tickets and citations for protesting outside these clinics.
William Barr, the U.S. Attorney General, has warned states on several occasions that they need to be careful about infringing on the Bill of Rights during the pandemic, saying the Justice Department would intervene if need be to right any wrongs that were taking place.