Dozens of Churches Gather in Call to Reopen

"This is an assault on our First Amendment rights."

Brendan Keany
May 27, 2020 - 12:49 am
Churches Protest State

[WBEN Photo - Brendan Keany]

BUFFALO (WBEN) - State Assemblyman David DiPietro joined roughly 70 pastors and religious leaders at Old Time Baptist Church on Camp Road in Hamburg on Tuesday to call on Governor Cuomo to open houses of worship without restrictions.

Last week, Cuomo announced that up to 10 people could gather for religious purposes, but those at Tuesday's press conference believe that is in direct violation of their constitutional rights because the mandate restricts residents on how they're allowed to worship.

"The First Amendment, of course, is 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,'" said Pastor Tim Young of Heritage Baptist Church. "Now, when you think of it, when they tell us that we can livestream and that's sufficient, they're telling us how to worship our god."

Churches Protest State

Churches Protest State

Churches Protest State

On Friday afternoon, President Trump made an announcement imploring governors to deem churches essential, even going so far as to say that he will override them if they don't.

"This is an assault on our First Amendment rights, the very First Amendment," said DiPietro. "Let it be understood by all that we are not breaking the law to hold church services in our state.

"Whatever your creed, it does not matter, our communities, our traditions and our religions are central to our way of life," DiPietro continued. "Wherever you need to pray and worship with your fellow man, whether it be in churches, synagogues, cathedrals, study groups, community centers - whatever your way of prayer, your creed, your worship, whatever you do to practice your faith, it's time to get back to our way of life..."

Listen to the full press conference below:

Pastor Lou Guadagno of Old Time Baptist Church also spoke at Tuesday's gathering, and he said that his church will be open this Sunday to half capacity in a civil protest, as they'll still make sure proper sanitation, social distancing and extra safety precautions are being followed.

Guadagno went on live with Tom Bauerle Tuesday afternoon, and Bauerle asked him point blank if his church is breaking the law by congregating beyond what's permissible by New York State.

"Well I guess it depends on the point of view," Guadagno answered. "The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment, is the highest law in the land, and it's supported by the President of the United States...No offense to our New York officials, but I think they're way out of their league in what they're doing, and in every state, there are lawsuits that are starting to erupt because of these things."

Listen to Bauerle's full conversation with Guadagno below:

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