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NJ Gov. Lifts Church Restrictions After Facing Criticism Over Protest Hypocrisy

‘He doesn’t like the rules that he makes everybody else live by, so he breaks them. Then he doesn’t like to be called out for breaking his own rules so he changes them…’

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Phil Murphy/Photo by PhilMurphyNJ (CC)

(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy finally lifted restrictions on church services on Tuesday, but only after he was criticized for hypocritically participating in a large Black Lives Matter protest.

Churches were not allowed to host services with more than 10 people up until Tuesday.

At the same time, Murphy allowed a massive protest over the death of George Floyd to take place in the state, and he even joined in on Sunday.

This double-standard drew criticism from many churchgoers worried that Murphy was unfairly restricting their constitutional right to worship.

After he was called out, Murphy revised his order, allowing churches to host services of up to 25% of their buildings’ capacity. And outdoor services can now host 100 people.

Murphy’s updated order, however, hasn’t done much to satisfy New Jersey Republicans who see Murphy’s hypocrisy as a failure of leadership.

“He doesn’t like the rules that he makes everybody else live by, so he breaks them. Then he doesn’t like to be called out for breaking his own rules so he changes them,” state Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris, said, according to North Jersey.

“I’m glad people in New Jersey have a little more freedom this afternoon but they deserve a lot more,” Webber said. “The governor’s behavior is just erratic.”

Murphy, however, said he doesn’t regret joining Sunday’s protest and claimed that he has always been “consistent.”

“We have to allow folks to get out there and rightfully and peacefully but angrily protest and express themselves, and we have to do it in a way that is consistent with the law,” he said.

Murphy’s coronavirus restrictions were some of the strictest in the country, especially in regards to churches and other religious organizations.

When asked back in April why he wasn’t concerned about citizens’ First Amendment right to worship, Murphy admitted that he “wasn’t thinking” about the Bill of Rights when he banned church services.

“That’s above my pay grade,” Murphy said at the time.

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