Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest siding with a Virginia church seeking reopening:
“I have been troubled by the closure of Virginia churches under Governor Northam’s stay at home order and on Thursday specifically asked the Governor when he would be reopening the churches.
“Learning that a pastor has actually been criminally charged for conducting worship services despite congregants practicing social distancing and that the Department of Justice has sided with the church against the Commonwealth makes it still clearer to me that these closures are wrong.
“Governor Northam must drop the unfair treatment of churches and permit them to resume worship services under the guidelines that allow other functions deemed essential to stay open.
“In Virginia of all places, the birthplace of religious liberty, churches should be making the call as to whether they conduct services, not the government.
“Under the current rules, Virginia’s ABC stores, hardware, and craft shops, among others, are allowed to stay open with social distancing.
“When troubles befall us, such as those we face today, where I come from, God is more important than alcohol, hardware, or crafts.
“Common sense and the Constitution mandate that the Commonwealth should treat churches accordingly.”