UK’s religious leaders fume, say it’s absolutely wrong to open pubs, cinemas before churches

Prominent UK church leaders have branded the mass closure of churches ‘unlawful and unnecessary’ as they threatened a judicial review into keeping them shut.

A coalition of Christian bishops and reverends has urged the Government to prioritise churches in its exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown.

They said it was unfair for churches to be in the ‘bottom category of the most dangerous and least important services’ with beauty salons, pubs and cinemas.

The letter signed by 25 prominent church leaders, but not endorsed by the Church of England is a pre-action legal warning against Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

However social media users have warned churches would be ‘risking the lives of congregations’ and some Christians said they are not ready to go back just yet.

And the National Secular Society told MailOnline that religious activities should not be ‘privileged or prioritised over and above those of a secular nature’.

It comes after France’s Supreme Court last week ruled that the country’s ban on religious gatherings was illegal and ordered its government to relax restrictions.

All places of worship in Britain have been closed since mass gatherings were banned by the Government on March 16.

The UK church leaders warn the closure of churches is an ‘extreme interference’ with human rights by contravening freedom of thought, belief and religion.

The letter adds that the regulations are ‘disproportionate in the circumstances where the overwhelming majority of churches had closed down voluntarily’.

The leaders say they want a constructive dialogue with the Government but will seek a judicial review of the ban if Ministers fail to address their concerns.

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