- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2020

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday denied giving preferential treatment to Black Lives Matter protesters, who have flooded the streets since the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, while keeping places of worship in the city closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. de Blasio was asked by CNN anchor John Berman to weigh in on a recent federal court decision ruling that he and Gov. Andrew Cuomo violated the Constitution by restricting religious services during the lockdown.

Mr. Berman said, “The court said you openly discouraged religious gatherings and threatened religious worshipers and sent a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment, essentially saying that you treated the protesters who were on the streets differently than the religious gatherings that were on the streets. Your reaction?”

Mr. de Blasio fired back that it was like comparing “apples and oranges.”

“No. Just wrong,” he said, according to a clip highlighted by Breitbart News. “We worked with the religious leadership of this city for months. Cardinal Dolan in the Catholic Church and so many other religious leaders who are in full agreement that it was not time to bring back religious services because of the danger it would cause to their congregants.



“The protests were an entirely different reality — a national phenomenon that was not something that the government could just say, you know, go away,” he continued. “It’s something that really came from the grassroots. And, obviously, it had profound meaning and we’re all acting on the meaning of those protests. But it’s really apples and oranges.

“Our religious leaders were the first to say it was not time to bring back services. Now we’re doing it carefully, smartly,” he added. “So I think that decision profoundly misses what the very religious institutions themselves were saying.”

The democratic socialist mayor has made similar statements before.

Last month, when nonessential businesses and churches were still closed but the protests raged on, he declared that protesting and the desire to return to work and church were “not the same” issues.

“When you see a nation, an entire nation, simultaneously grappling with an extraordinary crisis seeded in 400 years of American racism,” Mr. de Blasio said June 2. “I’m sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services.”

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