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Behind Trump’s call to reopen churches: voting numbers and alarm in his campaign

“I have done a number of briefings with donors and key stakeholders and said the longer it takes, the more noticeable and predictable it will be once you get past the initial flag upturn,” said Ralph Reed, a top Trump Substitute and director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

“Now you are at this low point and voters will wait and pass judgment once they evaluate the work that President Trump has done to rebound the economy after the pandemic.” ” he added.

According to the PRRI survey, which was conducted while Trump played a dominant role in his government’s daily coronavirus task force television reviews, the Pew Research Center released new data last week that showed an increase in white Catholics by 7 from April to May Points showed that this frowned upon Trump̵

7;s response to the Covid 19 crisis and a 6 point drop among white evangelicals who previously gave him positive grades.

Trump officials, White House officials, and external allies are responding to the threat by increasing their reach for religious voters and promising to give priority to religious gatherings if they push for the reopening of the U.S. economy. Administrators have made multiple calls to conservative Christian groups over the past two months to ensure their support. Trump himself recently attended an online service organized by St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. And Vice President Mike Pence held a round table with faith leaders in Iowa earlier this month. Reed said his organization is planning a campaign three times the size of 2016.

The president’s re-election operation “will cause the Christian community across the country to predominantly re-elect President Trump in 2020,” said Trump campaign spokesman Ken Farnaso in a statement.

“In addition to his exceptional record of conservative and faith-based issues, he has appointed well over 180 solid, conservative federal judges … defended religious freedom and was the most friendly president we have ever had,” added Farnaso.

On Thursday, Trump also announced a possible move by his government to reopen places of worship in the near future.

“The churches are not treated with respect by many democratic governors,” Trump said as he left the White House to visit a Michigan fan factory. “I want to open our churches. We will take a very strong position on it very soon. “

Some Trump allies have attributed the recent slump in president support to church closures that Trump raised on Friday. Socially distant policies forced most churches to suspend personal worship or move Sunday services to the virtual sphere, and a member of the Trump campaign’s “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition suggested that faith leaders and community members be disappointed with the restrictions , erroneously accuse Trump. (Religious organizations in Kentucky, Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and California have all taken legal action against their states for restrictions on religious activities and gatherings.)

“Those who don’t understand the legality of the process could blame the president or the administration when the federal government is addressing state rights issues,” said Mark Burns, a pastor from South Carolina and a prominent Trump supporter.

It was not immediately clear whether the President’s order on Friday – that state and local officials must immediately take measures to reopen religious institutions – was legally permissible, and it was not clear how government officials wanted to enforce the guidelines.

The guidelines released this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reopen certain facilities – including schools, public transport systems, and childcare facilities – did not mention how religious institutions should return to personal worship and service. A senior government official said the guidelines were left out due to concerns that the recipes planned by CDC staff were too restrictive.

Church closure critics are unlikely to be solely responsible for the decline in Trump’s favor among critical religious demographics. According to the Pew survey, 43 percent of white evangelicals and 52 percent of white Catholics find current restrictions on public activities in their areas appropriate, compared to 42 percent and 31 percent who believe fewer restrictions are better. A larger proportion of white evangelicals and white Catholics also said they were more afraid that their state governments would lift restrictions on public activities too soon than they would keep them too long.

As coronavirus deaths near 100,000 and outbreaks occur in places where social detachment is more difficult, Laura Gifford, a historian of politics and religion at George Fox University, said that it will likely be more difficult for the president’s followers , his plans for an accelerated reopening of the country. The more Trump disagrees with health officials who have warned of the reopening of schools and non-essential businesses, the less likely his usual supporters will be to accept his general response.

“When Grandma’s old people’s home suffers from an outbreak, there is pretty good evidence that something is going wrong, and it makes it difficult to ignore statements from public health experts,” said Gifford. “This is something that is more difficult to ignore than previous controversies or crises because it has life and death consequences for communities and religious groups.”

Part of the strategy Trump’s allies have chosen to protect his relationship with conservative Christians is to define the novel corona virus – and the closure of churches in response to social distancing restrictions – as a threat to religious freedom. The president’s religious supporters routinely name religious freedom as one of their top priorities and as an area where they believe the Trump administration has been extremely receptive.

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