Reeves made the right decision in declaring churches essential

Published 5:47 pm Friday, April 10, 2020

Gov. Tate Reeves has been criticized for some of the decisions he has made in recent weeks as he has led the state through the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some criticism has been warranted, but that comes with leadership positions. Decisions are not made to make everyone happy, Reeves has clearly stated his decisions have been made to make everyone safe, flatten the curve and limit whatever horrible impact this virus can and will have on the residents of this state.

But there is one decision that on this Easter weekend glares more brightly than others. And, in this case, Reeves action — or inaction – is absolutely correct.

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Many have challenged his decision to list churches and houses of worship as essential, leaving the operations of such facilities up to the pastors, decons and other church and worship leaders.

He has been criticized for not issuing a top-down order limiting church hours and the ability of church leaders to decide whether or not to hold services and surpass the strong mandates and guidelines issued to limit the size of gatherings to no more than 10 people.

But when it comes to churches, Reeves’ authority starts and stops at one place, the Constitution, and in it, churches are not to be restricted by government. People are free to choose when and how they worship. The governor does not have the ability to restrict that constitutional right. What he does have the right to do is ask, request and in some cases plead that church leaders decide not to gather to worship as a church family, but instead find ways to celebrate the resurrection this weekend through online and means to provide a safe environment for their congregation.

Pick and choose carefully how you criticize those in leadership roles in this unprecedented time.

These are uncharted waters for all of us, and all we can ask from our leaders is they not only do the best they can, they do so in the confines of the laws and constitutional rights that govern our country and our state.

Even though Reeves deemed churches essential, he didn’t need to; our Constitution had already done it for him.