Benson: Church guidelines are disrespectful of faith communities

(ST. PAUL, MN) – Deputy Majority Leader Michelle Benson (R- Ham Lake) released the following statement in response to Gov. Walz’s recommendations for the next phase of re-opening amid the coronavirus pandemic:  

“Governor Walz is tone deaf.  After weeks of religious leaders reaching out with thoughtful plans to return to socially distanced religious services, the governor left the 10 person restriction in place. Why is the Governor engaged in disparate treatment of places of worship?  

He has given the go-ahead for limited openings of restaurant patios, hair salons, and even shopping malls. This is a small but good step towards reopening. However, churches are still limited to outside services of ten or fewer, with the added stipulation of ‘no singing.’ Given the thoughtful proposals brought by faith leaders, the governor appears to be making arbitrary decisions. 

This is a slap in the face of our First Amendment rights. Minnesotans have every right to assemble, sing, or perform ceremonies per their faith tradition. It is my hope that if there is a lawsuit filed on behalf of our religious rights, the people of Minnesota will stand with faith leaders.”