By Jon Dougherty @TheNatSent
(TNS) If it never made much sense to you that governors and mayors could prevent Americans from attending church services over the presence of a virus, you’re not alone.
It doesn’t make much sense to the Justice Department either, in a constitutional kind of way.
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While some federal judges have seen fit to continue allowing abortions during the pandemic because having one is a ‘constitutional right‘ — even as hospitals have been forced to shut down other elective surgical procedures — the DoJ obviously believes that our First Amendment right to worship freely is inviolable as well.
The Epoch Times reports:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 11 said it may take action next week against local governments that have cracked down on all forms of religious services amid the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
“During this sacred week for many Americans, AG Barr (Attorney General William Barr) is monitoring govt regulation of religious services,” DOJ Director of Communications Kerri Kupec wrote on Twitter Saturday. “While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly & not single out religious orgs. Expect action from DOJ next week!”
Kupec’s statement comes as a number of officials across the United States have taken action to stop churchgoers from any form of gatherings to celebrate Easter.
Last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a press conference that “no faith tradition endorses anything that endangers the members of that faith,” adding that he would impose fines or potentially close down buildings of worship if services continued in the city that has in recent weeks become the epicenter of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak.
“The NYPD, Fire Department, Buildings Department, and everyone has been instructed that if they see worship services going on, they will go to the officials of that congregation, they’ll inform them they need to stop the services and disperse.
“If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently,” de Blasio said, before encouraging churches across the city to “help people practice their faith in different ways, but not in groups, not in gatherings that could endanger people.”
More from The Epoch Times:
On Saturday, the Kansas Supreme Court re-instated Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly’s ban on religious services of more than 10 people after it was initially overruled by the Legislative Coordinating Council. Meanwhile in Mississippi, Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons also issued an executive order this week blanket banning all church services.
Also on Saturday in Kentucky, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer thanked local faith leaders for canceling their services and other events, and urged others to follow suit and stay at home, noting that social distancing had so far helped to prevent a surge in the number of cases of CCP virus. He then said that drive-in church services would not be allowed to happen under his watch, but his decision was later blocked from being enforced by a federal judge, who on Saturday issued a temporary restraining order on the ban, calling it “unconstitutional.”
It’s unclear what actions the Justice Department is prepared to take — and frankly, this would have been much more welcome several weeks ago so that it might have been resolved before Easter.
But clearly, something needs to happen.
The founding fathers knew about pandemics and illnesses and still managed to avoid putting restrictions in the Constitution. They didn’t say, ‘You’ll have freedom of religion except during times of national health emergencies,’ and so on.
If these rights are inviolable, as the founders intended, then it should up to individual churches and their congregations as to whether they want to hold services or not.
‘But…but…the pandemic!’ critics will wail. Yes, yes, the pandemic. Got it.
And yet, Americans are still ‘allowed’ to go to grocery stores, big box stores, and other places of business. Many are still permitted to exercise out of doors, etc.
So if the spread were going to kill us all, it’d be killing us all. There are enough of us still ‘allowed’ to congregate in enough places that, if the phony-baloney models were correct, we’d be at a million deaths already.
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Besides, there is the matter of that pesky Constitution.
Singling out religious services for persecution is very Roman-like for guys like de Blasio. It’s time someone at the Trump Justice Department to step in and remind these people what our founding document says.
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