And the People Shouted Hallelujah

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In a bold move last week, President Donald Trump announced that his administration would seek to immediately reopen houses of worship across the country.

Next came an order to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to classify churches, synagogues, and mosques as “essential places that provide essential services.”

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship,” President Trump said in the White House press room, punctuating his statement with the words, “It’s not right.”

“The people are demanding to go to their church and synagogue, to go to their mosque,” the president said, adding that in America “we need more prayer, not less.”

Spirituality, by virtue of its existence, is essential. In America, its manifestation has historically been safeguarded by the words contained in our inspired foundational document.

Hard to believe that we could ever have been denied the necessity of the soul.

President Trump had another message for officials who have little sense of urgency and seem content to delay indefinitely when it comes to allowing houses of worship to reopen.

“If they don’t do it, I will override the governors,” the president said.

His remarks have been mischaracterized by the Democrats and the antagonistic media from the moment they were uttered. Many of the same partisan organizations and individuals show little or no regard for a paramount constitutional right—the free exercise of religion.

Some of the so-called experts have weighed in, indicating that President Trump does not have the authority to override governors who are dragging their feet on the reopening of religious institutions.

As head of the executive branch, the president maintains the authority to utilize the Department of Justice (DOJ) to accomplish the objective of securing the cooperation of the governors.

Among the many options, lawsuits can be filed and judges can impose limitations on the actions of governors who are in violation of federal and/or state constitutions. Attorney General William Barr has already demonstrated that he is willing to enter the fray of legal challenges to governors’ orders.

The free exercise of religion is included in our First Amendment precisely because the founders understood the essential nature of religious liberty. To ever have given houses of worship a “non-essential” label not only runs counter to the First Amendment, but it has the potential to hinder a primary life process in which an individual and/or groups engage, particularly in times of distress or anxiety.

Our country’s first president would have been on board with our current president in understanding the necessity for spirituality and religious expression.

As shown in Arnold Friberg’s famous painting “The Prayer at Valley Forge,” the image of then-General George Washington on his knees has inspired Americans since the work of art was first unveiled in 1976, the year of our nation’s bicentennial.

As the story goes, a young Pennsylvania senator named Isaac Potts was against the war that gave birth to America. His opposition would not last long, though.

One day he happened upon a man who was immersed in deep prayer. At his side a sword lay placid on the ground. The solitary figure turned out to be General Washington himself, asking the Almighty to assist him in his cause of emancipating a nascent country.

Reflecting on the prayer, Potts became convinced that the American Revolution “was the cause of God, and America could prevail.”

President George Washington would later say, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

Perhaps much like something President Washington would have said if faced with the same circumstances, President Trump let governors and officials across the land know that religious institutions, and the worship services they provide, play an essential role.

He has spoken for the searchers whose life-sustaining spirituality is, and always will be, essential.

And the people shouted hallelujah.

Time to Reopen Main Street USA

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Main Street USA is the heart of America.

From big cities to small towns, Main Street USA tells the story of where we came from, where we are going, and who we will always be—holders of the dream.

When the pandemic hit and Main Street USA shut down, our shared heart sank. Shaken yet ever sanguine, we gently sighed, looked to the ones we love, and vowed to carry on.

As Main Street USA boarded up, holders of the dream went to work in their kitchen-schoolrooms, walk-in closet offices, and backyard workshops. For many, the work seemed harder than ever and the reward more distant. But as voices of loved ones long ago reminded us, patience will prevail and morning will come. Holders of the dream tightened their grasp.

Small business is merely an academic word for Main Street USA.

So who is small business?

Just take a moment and think back to all the small business folks you have relied on over the years to help fill the gaps in the average everyday needs of life:

-the sitter who took care of you when mom fell ill

-the music teacher who lit the spark

-the roofer who kept the house dry in the storm

-the appliance repair tech who in mid-July raced to fix the freezer

-the veterinarian who lit candles, played sweet music, and helped you say good-by

-the local pharmacist who gave an inexperienced youth a job as a delivery boy

-the jeweler who readied your bride-to-be’s engagement ring

-the tailor who altered the suit from Goodwill that helped you nail the interview

-the furniture store owner who rushed to make the loveseat for mom and dad’s first visit

-the auto mechanic who traded the car you pushed into his shop for one he had already restored

-the florist who brought the flower-filled beach chair to your best friend’s memorial six states away

-the baker who designed the Princess Warrior cake for a friend who had beaten cancer

Holders of the dream have millions of stories such as these to share. So tragic that many of our leaders don’t care to listen.

The truth is the largest and most successful companies in America started out as small businesses. It wasn’t always this way, but as the Democratic Party moved further and further to the left, the notion that there is intrinsic value in saving Main Street USA was tossed to the wayside.

Now Democrats and their fierce allies in the media are resisting reopening and advocating for the continuation of the lockdown of Main Street USA.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., recently spoke to the Democratic Socialists of America about opposing the reopening of the country.

“When we talk about this idea of reopening society, you know, only in America does the president — when the president tweets about liberation — does he mean go back to work. When we have this discussion about going back or reopening, I think a lot people should just say ‘no’ — we’re not going back to that,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

The freshman representative also laid the groundwork for a future general strike.

“The majority of Americans don’t know what a general strike is and so our responsibility is to talk about it, expand consciousness about it, and to actually create the conditions in which working people can generate and really exercise their own power, the power that they already have,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Retail shops, restaurants, and other local concerns in every community across our land have been hit harder than anyone could have imagined. If the shutdown continues much longer, most of the small businesses in our country will simply be wiped out.

Add to this the tens of millions of independent contractors, freelancers, and self-employed individuals, and it becomes apparent that there is a huge number of working folks that are on their last leg.

The manner in which the Democrats and their willing media accomplices are misleading people is cruel and contemptible. They continue to heighten anxieties over the possibility of more COVID-19 deaths, while simultaneously characterizing the reopening of “non-essential” businesses as a reckless choice of money over lives.

What holders of the dream keep tightly in their grasp isn’t about money. It’s about worth.

A little soundtrack: