Former Chicago mayoral candidate and influential businessman Willie Wilson announced Wednesday that he will pay the $500 fines given to three churches that held services Sunday in violation of Gov. J.B. Pritzker stay-at-home order.
Philadelphia Romanian Church of God, Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church, and Metro Praise International Church were fined by local authorities for allowing more than 10 people to attend worship services.
Wilson said he believes the governor's orders infringe on the churches' free exercise of religion.
"The governor and mayor continue to trample on our constitutional rights while hiding behind a stay-at-home order that treats the church as non-essential," Wilson said in statement. "It is shameful that the church is discriminated against, while liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, and Home Depot [are] treated as essential businesses."
During a press conference Thursday, Wilson expanded on his offer.
"I'm offering to pay fines up to $1 million for any church that is fined or has to go to court," he said "To fight this evil disease, I will pledge up to $1 million."