According to a new survey, more Americans listed churches and houses of worship as their No. 1 priority for reopening public spaces for gathering, ranking places of faith above concerts, schools, and even restaurants.
The Scott Rasmussen poll found a full 35 percent of Americans said that on their list of priority reopenings for mass gatherings, churches and houses of worship should be reopened as soon as possible. The emphasis on reopening churches was also split somewhat along party lines, with nearly half of Republicans (47 percent) listing churches as their top priority for reopening, while only 29 percent of Democrats saying the same.
All in all, another 31 percent said they’d like to first see schools reopened, 21 percent listed bars and restaurants, and only 14 percent prioritized entertainment events like basketball games and concerts.
The poll comes as some churches have begun pushing back on what many have called an unconstitutional infringement on their religious freedom after most states banned large gatherings, including at places of worship. Some of the more draconian measures even cracked down on drive-in services, which critics have pointed out don’t put people at risk for spreading the virus any more than drive-thru windows at a restaurant.
In New Jersey, police arrested 15 rabbis earlier this month for holding a funeral for a fellow rabbi in violation of the state’s current ban on social gatherings. When asked why he’s allowing law enforcement to arrest people for gathering together for religious reasons, N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy said he “wasn’t thinking about the Bill of Rights” when he gave the executive order outlawing group meetings.