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Breen files federal lawsuit against Pritzker EO on behalf of church

Thursday, Apr 30, 2020

* Another front to deal with…


* Hannah was kind enough to send me the suit

Plaintiffs believe that, in these dark times, Illinoisans need the Spirit of Almighty God, but Pritzker’s orders have left them to settle for the lesser spirits dispensed out of the state’s liquor stores. The churches and pastors of Illinois are no less “essential” than its liquor stores to the health and well-being of its residents. Defendants have thus intentionally denigrated Illinois churches and pastors and people of faith by relegating them to second-class citizenship. Defendants have no compelling justification for their discriminatory treatment of churches and pastors and people of faith, nor have they attempted in any way to tailor their regulations to the least restrictive means necessary to meet any arguable compelling interest.

Plaintiffs intend to reopen and hold public worship services this Sunday, May 3. They justifiably fear arrest and prosecution if they do so, without immediate relief from this Court.

Plaintiffs seek temporary and permanent injunctive relief against Pritzker’s orders shuttering their church, church ministries, and pastoral activities, as illegal and unconstitutional on their face and as applied to Plaintiffs.

* The pastor was served a cease and desist order by Stephenson County Department of Public Health Adminstrator Craig Beintema last month

On or about March 31, 2020, Defendant Beintema delivered a “Cease and Desist Notice” to Pastor Cassell […]

The Notice instructed Pastor Cassell that “your establishment, The Beloved Church, is required to adhere to [EO 2020-10].” And further that “[i]f you do not adhere to this Executive Order, the Illinois Department of Public Health has the authority to order that a place be closed and made off limits to the public.” It also stated, “[i]n addition to such order of closure issued … you may be subject to additional civil and criminal penalties.” And “[f]urthermore, police officers, sheriffs and all other officers in Illinois are authorized to enforce such orders.” The Notice specifically states that “Essential Businesses and Operations have not been defined to include religious gatherings of 10 or more people.”

In view of this Notice and Pritzker’s orders, Plaintiffs have suspended all communal activities at the Church building, including the Sunday services. Plaintiffs justifiably fear arrest, prosecution, fines, and jail time if they open their church building or hold religious services of any kind.

Then they go into the 30-day argument, the quarantine and isolation argument (even though they were served by the local public health department), a claim that since the curve has flattened, then Illinois is in a better place than it was in March (true, but it flattened at the peak, so it’s not a good place to be in), the regionalization argument, the Free Exercise Clause of the 1st Amendment argument, freedom to assemble, due process, etc.

* What they want from the judge

Plaintiffs seek a declaration that Pritzker was without the power or authority to issue EO 2020-18, by which Defendant Pritzker purported to extend the prohibitions set forth in EO 2020-10 through April 30, 2020; that he is without the power or authority to issue any additional extension of the prohibitions set forth in EO 2020-18 and EO 2020-18 as he has publicly announced he intends to do; and that he is without the power or authority to quarantine or isolate Illinois residents or order shutdowns of Illinois churches, without following the strictures of the IDPH Act and allowing residents and churches the due process provided them under the IDPH Act and related administrative rules.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

117 Comments
  1. - Anonish - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    God will take care of all his children, one way or another.


  2. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    Some people are apparently more ready to meet their God than others.


  3. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    “but Pritzker’s orders have left them to settle for the lesser spirits dispensed out of the state’s liquor stores”

    Well, they got me there.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    I thought Peter Breen was pro-life?

    That’s on me.

    My bad.


  5. - Flat Bed Ford - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:29 pm:

    Congrats to Rep Costa-Howard on her landslide reelection


  6. - West Town TB - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:30 pm:

    Can’t go to the bar, I can drink at home.
    Can’t go to church, I can pray at home.

    I don’t really do the last one ever though. But still.


  7. - Stu - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:31 pm:

    After services start on May 3rd, lock the doors from the outside & check on them in 14 days.


  8. - dbk - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:31 pm:

    Very depressing given that church services are classic super-spreader events.


  9. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:31 pm:

    If my church did this, I would never set foot in it again.


  10. - thoughts matter - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:32 pm:

    Public establishments are required to serve everyone. Can we amend that? Let’s give them ( including essential businesses like grocery stores) the option of refusing entry to people who refuse to practice social distancing on grounds it’s dangerous to their other customers?
    So, this church can meet, but the attendees can’t go anywhere else.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:34 pm:

    Mr. Breen,

    You, as a Catholic…

    Why is the Vatican closed, why are churches in Rome not open?

    Very well, I withdraw, Mr. Breen, explain Matthew 18: 19-20

    “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

    Thanks.


  12. - very old soil - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    Lena doesn’t have a liquor store. Although I bet the Spirit gas station sells more alcohol than gasoline.


  13. - In 630 - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:41 pm:

    A church with this little regard for the well being of its parishioners, much less the whole of the community, is doing a pretty poor job of being a church


  14. - RuralKing - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:41 pm:

    If I can go to Menards and CostCO and co-mingle with the general populous, then I see no reason why church should be any different. In fact, the 1st amendment specifically states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”
    Seems like they have a legitimate case.


  15. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:41 pm:

    Comparing churches to liquor stores isn’t intellectually honest. You can pray and drink by yourself. Comparing churches to bars, which also have a communal aspect is more appropriate. Oh, and bars are closed.


  16. - Frumpy white guy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:42 pm:

    These churches are more interested in their tithes and donations then they are protecting their congregation and their community. Churches receive no oversight from the government. They take millions from their members and there’s little or no oversight in how they spend their money. We provide tax breaks and free public services so that they can be hostile neighbors and threaten our lives with their crazy refusal to shelter in place. Take my tax money away from them now


  17. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    ==These churches are more interested in their tithes and donations==

    You can tithe without stepping foot in the church. I have been continuing my tithing during this time.


  18. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    Who would Jesus infect?


  19. - Huh? - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:46 pm:

    “Organizations that provide charitable and social services. Businesses and religious and
    secular nonprofit organizations, including food banks, when providing food, shelter, and
    social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise
    needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and
    people with disabilities;”

    I suppose a creative preacher could say “they are providing necessities of life to needy people” as a justification for continuing to hold services.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:47 pm:

    - RuralKing -

    Explain that to the Vatican

    Why are the Catholic Churches still closed?

    Religious services are not “essential”.

    If your church says it’s “essential” to attend during a pandemic, that’s not serving faith or the congregation.

    Matthew 18 makes clear…

    “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

    Matthew 18 doesn’t say “see you in church”


  21. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:47 pm:

    RuralKing

    I think you should do a bit more research on the concept of the balancing act and how the courts determine the applicability of the Constitution. Limitations are allowed in certain circumstances and I’m pretty sure public health is one of those circumstances. If a church individually had a public health risk the government would certainly have the right to come in and shut that church down until that risk was taken care of. It is no different in this case. You can’t simply throw out a 1st Amendment argument and say that is the end of the story. That shows a complete lack of understanding about how the courts interpret the Constitution.


  22. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:47 pm:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

    They’re not banning the church or saying people can’t pray or even worship collectively. They are saying they can’t meet en masse for a while for public health reasons. The first amendment is not absolute. Reasonable restrictions on time, place and manner are consistently upheld in the courts.


  23. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:48 pm:

    “Plaintiffs believe that, in these dark times, Illinoisans need the Spirit of Almighty God“

    Their lips honor the Son of Man but their hearts are far away. That’s what happens when people foolishly want to endanger society for something they can accomplish online, or as the Son of Man reportedly said, they can pray in private.


  24. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    ==The first amendment is not absolute. Reasonable restrictions on time, place and manner are consistently upheld in the courts.==

    This ^^

    If they are going to make any argument it should be an equal protection argument, and not a 1st Amendment argument. That is a losing argument.


  25. - Collinsville Kevin - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:50 pm:

    The only word to describe these people is “fanatics.”


  26. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:50 pm:

    I am a Mugwump here. The churches should remain closed. The government should not order them closed.

    I think that the government could require attendees to be tested. Those testing positive could then be subject to mandatory quarantine.

    This may be splitting hairs, but I don’t like government banning otherwise peaceful religious services.


  27. - LKH - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:51 pm:

    Excellent, excellent news. Pritzker’s overreach needs a slap-down. Pritzker doesn’t get to step all over my constitutional rights. Whether churches chose to reopen or no is quite beside the point, OW.


  28. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    If churches like this insist on going down this path, given a few weeks they will have no problem with social distancing in their pews. Most of their parishioners will drop like flies to this virus and they’ll be no one left to attend.


  29. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    ==Pritzker doesn’t get to step all over my constitutional rights==

    And exactly what rights is he stepping on? You want to go fishing too?


  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:54 pm:

    === Whether churches chose to reopen or no is quite beside the point===

    It’s *exactly* the point.

    It’s a health and societal issue. If it were a religious issue all churches would be open. The Vatican understands.


  31. - Elliott Ness - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    this is going to get interesting, did JB think he could just declare and people would line up and say, “yes sir”? Of course there will be push back, especially from churches. And, they should be…


  32. - weeds - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    The IL Const also talks about religious freedom in the first Article, Bill of Rights.

    SECTION 3. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
    The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession
    and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be
    guaranteed, and no person shall be denied any civil or
    political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his
    religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby
    secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or
    affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify
    practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the State.
    No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry
    or place of worship against his consent, nor shall any
    preference be given by law to any religious denomination or
    mode of worship.

    My takeaway, “forever” is a big word. And religious worship is no more inconsistent with “the peace or safety of the State” than getting your dog groomed, assuming social distance, etc.

    Well played Breen. I like the multi-flank approach.


  33. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    When I go to church I sit right next to strangers for upwards of an hour. I don’t do that at Menards, a liquor store, or the Piggly-Wiggly. Breen’s argument is intellectually dishonest at best.

    I’d ask the Lena PD to roadblock the streets around the church’s parking lot for a couple of hours that day. Anybody that walks up will be intercepted by patrolmen at the doors and turned away. I’d also offer Breen a live spot on the municipal cable TV channel and airtime on local radio to hold his services, to answer his First Amendment issues.


  34. - Perrid - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:57 pm:

    They might have a legitimate case, and I have no doubt there are judges who will decide that they do no matter what the law says, but every single one of these [bleep] are disgusting and it is an affront to God that they are using His name to put His children in danger to stroke their own ego.

    You don’t need to be in the same room to worship.


  35. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    ==did JB think he could just declare and people would line up and say, “yes sir”==

    Why do some of you argue as if JB Pritzker is the only elected official in the entire United States of America who has issued these orders?


  36. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    === Of course there will be push back, especially from churches.===

    LOL

    Organized religion globally has recognized the importance and significance of social distancing.

    What, Cardinal Dolan in NYC needs to demand to open Catholic Churches in NY metro… or the diocese is a pushover?

    Yikes, man.


  37. - Rudy’s teeth - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    Is this all about common sense during a pandemic or the collection plate? Since the church has a Facebook page, why not stream services and keep the members safe.


  38. - RuralKing - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    OW -
    Last time I looked (it’s been awhile) the Vatican was located in Italy and is not subject to the US Constitution

    Reasonable restrictions on time, place and manner…I think that is the basis of the suit


  39. - JoanP - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    They remind me of snake handlers, except that snake handlers endanger only themselves.


  40. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    If Peter Breen is so “smart”, why isn’t the Chicago archdiocese employing him to open Catholic Churches… or the DuPage, Joliet dioceses too…

    Makes you wonder… as a pro-life crusader… why Peter Breen is bent on possibly infecting so many?


  41. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    ==assuming social distance==

    Well, if you want to allow churches to open with social distancing rules then you are likely going to have to limit the number of people who are allowed inside the building. I don’t think they would be satisfied with that either. The bottom line is that this pastor wants to be irresponsible.

    My pastor has been itching to do something like this for a while now and it wouldn’t surprise me if he eventually did. If he does he’ll have two less members, though. I don’t want it to come to that. I want him to be responsible.


  42. - Retired Educator - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    I understand about Walmart, and other businesses selling food being open. (We all have to eat) Would someone explain to me why Ace Hardware, Lowes, Menards, Rural King etc. are allowed to be open. Is it just me, or are these essential businesses, selling food or medicine, and no one mentioned it? The entire essential business stuff is nonsense. I own a small business, and I am not allowed to be open, but some businesses must be deemed more essential then others. If a place like Walmart is allowed to be open because they sell food, then that is all they should be allowed to sell. anything else is non-essential stuff, and should be prohibited IMO


  43. - Hard D - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    Not surprised as I have said a number of times this week somebody was going to file a suit in the Federal Courts and here it is. I did predict it would be over the E Commerce clause but I’m sure that’s coming also. People are smart enough to know that they have a better chance in Federal Court where the judges aren’t golfing buddies with Burke, Banks, Madigan, Hynes etc etc etc.


  44. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:03 pm:

    ==Reasonable restrictions==

    What’s unreasonable about prohbiting large gatherings in the middle of a pandemic?


  45. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:04 pm:

    === Last time I looked (it’s been awhile) the Vatican was located in Italy and is not subject to the US Constitution===

    Why are Catholic Churches and Dioceses in the US still closed, voluntarily?

    See how this works?

    Faith is not a building. Faith is not Mass, en masse.

    Peter Breen must “seem to think“ his own faith must have it wrong?

    That’s the point. That’s taking the religion… to practicing faith… in a pandemic.


  46. - Roman - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:05 pm:

    @Willy, I’ve been ashamed by the conduct of the leaders of our faith more times than I can count, but I’ve been proud of how they’ve handled this pandemic. Lots of bishops suspended mass even before governors starting issuing stay-at-home orders.

    Maybe Breen slept through biology class at his Catholic elementary and high schools. I didn’t.


  47. - Nuke The Whales - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    It was nice that Peter Breen could take time from eventually losing to Terra Costa Howard to also lose this court case.


  48. - Frank talks - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    This is a political move Breen wants to lose. It fits into the Dem/socialist narrative they’re going to use in the races. Using Govt to take away the Constitution.


  49. - Norseman - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:12 pm:

    Evidently they believe the Spirit of Almighty God can only be invoked from a building. This total disregard for the lives of those at high risk of death from COVID-19 is an extremely sad warping of the beliefs of Christianity by hypocrites.


  50. - Italian lover - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:12 pm:

    OW: THe Vatican is its own country. It borders Italy.


  51. - efudd - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:13 pm:

    Matthew 6:5


  52. - Jimmy baseball - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    This hasn’t turned out well in the past - https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/14/us/bishop-gerald-glenn-god-larger-coronavirus-dies/index.html.


  53. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    === THe Vatican is its own country. It borders Italy.===

    (Sigh) yes. Prolly why i typed this first;

    === Why is the Vatican closed, why are churches in Rome not open?===

    Keep up.

    Its about the seat of religion (The Vatican, it’s own entity) and Rome (Italy, it’s own country) and both sharing a commonality, yet realizing the governing to the pandemic means social distancing

    Matthew 22:21 - Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s….

    Or maybe as Romans 13:1 says… Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities.


  54. - Jimmy baseball - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:19 pm:

    Sorry, looks like there was a typo in my previous link- https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/14/us/bishop-gerald-glenn-god-larger-coronavirus-dies/index.html


  55. - Saul Goodman - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    Go ahead and snark your snark. I can’t blame you for it. This church is definitely rushing things and their own people are liable to be hurt if they somehow get their way.

    Just keep in mind: people can’t bear this lockdown indefinitely. I suspect you’re going to see more and more protests, not less, especially if nearby states reopen without dramatic increases in Coronavirus cases and deaths.

    “If not now, when?” That doesn’t have to be a rhetorical question. But the Governor needs to have a good answer — one that doesn’t sound like “When I say so” to people who are tired of isolation and idleness and are at least as scared of poverty as they are of sickness.


  56. - efudd - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    Just another reason why I don’t step foot in tax-exempt structures passing themselves off as “houses of God”.


  57. - Chambanalyst - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:21 pm:

    Only in America can you try and lawsuit your way out of a pandemic.


  58. - The Way I See It - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:22 pm:

    Of course - if the churches win this, we need to reopen strip clubs too since nude dancing is also covered by the First Amendment.


  59. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:23 pm:

    “I suspect you’re going to see more and more protests, not less, especially if nearby states reopen without dramatic increases in Coronavirus cases and deaths.”

    The “if” is doing a helluva lotta work in that sentence.

    – MrJM


  60. - fs - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:25 pm:

    == Explain that to the Vatican

    Why are the Catholic Churches still closed==

    You keep saying this, assuming that it’s relevant here. This church is not Catholic. How one religious group chooses to worship has no bearing on how another should be required to. Different religions place different importance on different things.


  61. - efudd - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:25 pm:

    S.G.-

    Pritzker has laid out, daily, what health officials are telling him when would be the safest to open. He as pointed to scientific research, evidence, and has had health professionals back him up at every press conference.
    Your When I say so argument is ridiculous.
    As far as what other states are doing, we’ll see in a couple of weeks if it was the right decision.
    God, I hope it is.


  62. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    “It was nice that Peter Breen could take time from eventually losing to Terra Costa Howard to also lose this court case.”

    Pete is definitely gonna come out of this with a bolstered fundraising list.

    – MrJM


  63. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:27 pm:

    === if nearby states reopen without dramatic increases in Coronavirus cases and deaths.===

    Heck of a bet, given not a single state in the United States have met the phase 1 criteria to be open.

    Not one.

    This was a good point to make.

    In a zoom call i was on the question was posed;

    Those who decry “the nanny state” and find themselves in a pandemic, at what point is it realized some governing in that pandemic is protecting people from others and themselves?

    Are churches more willing to hurt their flock because there is a need to stop the government trying to save their own believers?


  64. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    === You keep saying this, assuming that it’s relevant here. This church is not Catholic.===

    You must not know Peter Breen.


  65. - Concerned Dem - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:30 pm:

    Nuke the Whales… don’t be so sure this is an easy win for the state. Stephenson County is just as much a part of Trumpistan as any county in southern Illinois. I’m sure there is more than one judge on the bench there that already has their opinion crafted waiting to stick it to that big bad Chicago lib Governor.


  66. - Geesh - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:30 pm:

    My daughter works for a large Lutheran church in Springfield. They have been following the EOs. Online worshipping has been booming. The congregation is being served and the work of the church is continuing. And contributions/giving has actually increased over the last 8 weeks.


  67. - Jibba - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:34 pm:

    “intentionally denigrated Illinois churches and pastors and people of faith by relegating them to second-class citizenship”

    Way over the top nonsense.

    “or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the State.”

    This part of the IL Constitution seems to clearly address closure of churches during pandemics. But if you need a ruling on it, I guess it will come. Just like for Bailey and everyone else.

    “people can’t bear this lockdown indefinitely”

    Nor are they being asked to. We’ve made a lot of progress and are nearing a tipping point. And if the new study is correct, we’ve kept people alive and well long enough to find an effective treatment that reduces deaths and bad effects. I’d call that a rousing success.


  68. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:36 pm:

    It looks like the ILGOP is trying to commit more than just political suicide.


  69. - Saul Goodman - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:37 pm:

    efudd:

    I think the Governor could do better. In particular I think he needs to signal that he is open to reopening on a regional basis.

    I appreciate your last line though. Your lips to God’s ears…


  70. - Practical Politics - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:37 pm:

    Unlike the Lutheran Church, where Communion is offered less often, Catholics are accustomed to receiving Communion at least once a week. Televised Sunday Masses cannot make up for this.

    I would not wager on the pending lawsuits about the Governor’s emergency powers and executive orders, but Breen may have a case that is going to result in some judicial relief.


  71. - Graduated College Student - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    Sounds like we have a pastor who thinks his flock should serve and validate his needs. Those types of pastors are the worst.


  72. - Saul Goodman - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    Oswego Willy:

    “not a single state in the United States have met the phase 1 criteria to be open.”

    I wouldn’t put too much weight on the details of the Trump administration’s reopening plan. Neither Trump nor his supporters have demonstrated much commitment to white papers or the fine print therein.

    The Trump Plan is not a Trump Card that you can just lay down and automatically take the trick.


  73. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:44 pm:

    === Catholics are accustomed to receiving Communion at least once a week. Televised Sunday Masses cannot make up for this.===

    … and yet all through Lent and on Easter Sunday, Catholic parishes continued to do online Mass, continuing even this weekend. So… it can be done, nay, it *is* being done.


  74. - Graduated College Student - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:47 pm:

    ===I think the Governor could do better. In particular I think he needs to signal that he is open to reopening on a regional basis.===

    Define regional. Those irresponsible civic leaders in Woodford and Tazewell Counties are taking the tacks they are because their working assumption is that any COVID patients in their jurisdictions will ultimately get dumped on Peoria’s hospitals (as is typical; Peoria usually has to clean up their messes). Shouldn’t Peoria, which borders them, get a say/veto on re-opening those jurisdictions?


  75. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:47 pm:

    === I wouldn’t put too much weight on the details of the Trump administration’s reopening plan. Neither Trump nor his supporters have demonstrated much commitment to white papers or the fine print therein.===

    … prolly why POTUS is polling so terribly behind the governors actually following the plan, and why Dr. Fauci is more trusted and POTUS too.

    === The Trump Plan is not a Trump Card that you can just lay down and automatically take the trick.===

    Tell that to those who are saying how “trustworthy” this POTUS is to his own and plan… and how we’ll polling is for those actually following science.


  76. - Hippopotamus - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:50 pm:

    Been has a strong 1st Amendment Case. The restrictions of the shelter order will likely fail the strict scrutiny standard of review. That is:
    The regulation must be content neutral.
    It must be narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest.
    It must leave open ample alternative channels for communicating the speaker’s message.
    By categorically prohibiting gatherings in churches, regardless of size or social distancing practices, the Governor goes too far because it is not narrowly tailored.


  77. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    –Different religions place different importance on different things.–

    Like the lives of their parishioners and everyone they know and love, apparently.


  78. - Pundent - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    =In particular I think he needs to signal that he is open to reopening on a regional basis.=

    And exactly what guidelines are you proposing he follow to do that since his medical and science professionals are advising against this.

    We had one case in the U.S. at the end of January - 1. We now have more than 60,000 fatalities. No state has even met the first step in establishing that they’re ahead of this. Any suggestion that things just “open up” anywhere puts all of us at risk and likely lengthens the time it takes to get to the other side of this.


  79. - Rich Hill - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:55 pm:

    Histories of the 1918 influenza epidemic show the precedent for states keeping churches closed to maintain public health is well established. John Barry’s book The Great Influenza is a good starting point.


  80. - olddog - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:57 pm:

    == They remind me of snake handlers, except that snake handlers endanger only themselves. ==

    I’m pretty sure that snake-handling services have been closed down in the South when they constitute a public nuisance or present a threat to public health and safety.


  81. - filmmaker prof - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    Can’t a congregation pray collectively as a group via Zoom or Skype? Does God only listen if they’re in a building together?


  82. - Jibba - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:00 pm:

    “I think he needs to signal that he is open to reopening on a regional basis.”

    I’m sure that you would like the Gov better if he does what you want, but what you want is nonsense. None of the regions are satisfying Trump’s plan, nor do they have the resources to keep the virus from spreading. They can’t even keep it out of old folks homes. Even if it worked, the first visitor from an infected region sets you back to square one.


  83. - Hippopotamus - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    Hill - precedent is not always controlling, nevertheless, precedent, as a legal matter, means the practice of closing churches was challenged in court and upheld. If in 1918, no one challenged the closure and no court upheld it, then there is no precedent as a matter of law.


  84. - Chatham Resident - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:11 pm:

    “Catholics are accustomed to receiving Communion at least once a week. Televised Sunday Masses cannot make up for this.”

    You can buy your own grape juice and/or wine, and bread/wafer, and have your own communion at home.


  85. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    - Roman -

    “Same”, bud… same.

    === This is a political move Breen wants to lose. It fits into the Dem/socialist narrative they’re going to use in the races. Using Govt to take away the Constitution.===

    Betting against the polling now and the pandemic… dunno if the religious angle plays(?) “We’ll see”, right?


  86. - Original Rambler - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    I’m very pleased that my church has complied with the EO and make sure to keep up my contributions. As some other commenter noted, there have been plenty of opportunities to be critical of the Catholic church but this isn’t one of them.

    Saw the Kenneth Copeland video of him using the Wind of God to cast out the virus. While amusing on one level, it is also depressing that he has a large congregation that follows his dangerous grandstanding.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/kenneth-copeland-blow-coronavirus-pray-sermon-trump-televangelist-a9448561.html


  87. - Saul Goodman - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:20 pm:

    Jibba:

    “I’m sure that you would like the Gov better if he does what you want, but what you want is nonsense. None of the regions are satisfying Trump’s plan…”

    To reiterate, I do not support immediate reopening, and I think this congregation is acting way prematurely. I’m actually not all that upset over what the Governor has done so far. I do think he shouldn’t box himself in to a long lockdown. I also do not think anyone should put a whole lot of weight on the details of the White House plan. The real criteria will be simpler: declining coronavirus deaths and new case numbers. If those are declining, or holding steady at low levels, people are going to want out. And we should be ready to let them out.

    “…nor do they have the resources to keep the virus from spreading. They can’t even keep it out of old folks homes. Even if it worked, the first visitor from an infected region sets you back to square one.”

    This is rhetorical overkill. You’re not going to keep the lockdown in place until every last trace of coronavirus is wiped out in the country.


  88. - A Guy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    A few clarifying points, some of which have been made.
    This is an Evangelical Church and not a Catholic Church which many have alluded to.

    In the argument (online), this church planned to do a stay in the car outdoor Easter Service which would not violate social distancing.
    There are no restrictions on parking lots at any of the essentials I’ve read about: Costco, Walmart, Pharmacies, Home Depot, etc.

    There is a way to allow people to worship together in a social distance, non-contact way. Given the number of people wearing masks now, wouldn’t they do so wherever they were?

    At the onset of the Virus Closures, Churches were open and worshiping together with precautions. I know, because I was there. They were taking it very seriously, suspending traditions at mass. I didn’t read of any “outbreaks” in churches here in Illinois in those weeks from church gatherings.

    There is a very valid point about the State telling Worship Communities when to open, and placing conditions on their congregations. People of faith aren’t idiots. They’ll adjust and adapt like any other group or place that needs to reconstitute itself as this period ebbs.

    Having a Sheriff shut down a church service is a bit chilling in and of itself. Those were more anxious times and we’ve learned a bit more since that time.

    There’s plenty to think about here.


  89. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    Am I the only person who read that line about

    “the lesser spirits of the state’s liquor stores”,

    And thought: what the (bleep) are they talking about? This is Illinois, not Utah. And the State doesn’t own or operate any liquor stores.

    ———-

    And as the child of a (deceased) alcoholic, I have to say that I find the contention that people who cannot go to church will drink to excess.

    This shows a complete failure to understand the first thing about alcoholism, how it develops, or what best medical protocols and practices exist for treatment.

    Can the Catholic Church excommunicate Peter Breen on the grounds of gross and unforgivable stupidity?


  90. - Soccermom - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:33 pm:

    This whole regional response idea is nonsense. If they open up Garden of the Gods, what’s to keep me from heading down there for a much-needed break — and bringing my Cook County Corona with me?


  91. - A Guy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:37 pm:

    ==what’s to keep me from heading down there for a much-needed break — and bringing my Cook County Corona with me?==

    Your decency.


  92. - Original Rambler - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:39 pm:

    I think it would be okay for JB to indicate he is “open” to taking local or regional factors into account when making reopening determinations. I also would not detail what those may or may not be. It may satisfy parts of those constituencies.

    I also think it would be appropriate for JB to do so.


  93. - Trying to Be Rational - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    Retired Educator, regarding Walmart, besides food and pharmacy:
    a. Liquor stores are essential so you can’t close that section.
    b. Automotive service is considered essential so can’t close that section (governor’s order)
    c. Computers are essential due to home schooling and work at home orders.
    d. Cable and satellite service is considered essential, so presumably buying a tv would be considered essential.
    e. Pet food is essential, you gonna rope off the Pet Food and let people’s pets die?
    f. Household goods are (by gov’s order) essential, so people can buy detergent, pots, microwaves, etc.).
    g. Clothes: Your kid was 10yo last summer, now they are 11, most likely their clothes don’t fit. If you have a hole in your shoe, you need new shoes. I doubt most people buying clothes at Walmart are trying to buy the latest fashions to fill up their third walk-in closet, they are buying the clothes because they need the clothes.
    h. Hardware dept for stuff to fix broken pipes, leaky roof, etc.

    So what else is left to rope off? Maybe the greeting card aisle? I don’t know about the garden center, but at least all that is outside and you’re using it to work on your own property.

    As far as Lowe’s, Menards, etc., the gov has classified construction as essential. Rural King provides food for horses, and lots of stuff you need in farming, another essential service, you gonna shut down the farms?


  94. - Retired Educator - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    Trying to Be Rational; A lot of good thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I am still not happy with the situation, but your points are well thought out, and like your name Rational. Kudos


  95. - West Side the Best Side - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    I’d previously commented that people who fear they will lose their faith if they can’t physically go to church must not have had that strong a faith to begin with. Maybe pastors who think they will lose their parishioners if the physical church is closed either agree with that theory or think that they are the reason the people come to church, not their parishioners’ faith.


  96. - Scott Cross for President - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    Hippo -

    Presuming your elements are correct, then Breen loses.

    “The regulation must be content neutral.”
    Yes. All messengers are treated the same regardless of the message. Doesn’t matter if you’re gathering to celebrate baseball or Buddha, your large gathering is prohibited. The regulation is content neutral.

    “It must be narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest.”
    Yes. The regulations is narrowly tailored by time (temporary for 30 days) and breadth (other avenues of communication remain available). The President declared the State of Illinois to be a pandemic health care emergency, i.e. a significant governmental interest. Moreover, while narrowly tailored requires government officials to pass laws that are not too broad, it does not require that the laws be perfect. Chief Justice Roberts explained this point in upholding a restriction in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar (2015). In his opinion, Roberts wrote the restriction must be narrowly tailored, but “not perfectly tailored.”

    “It must leave open ample alternative channels for communicating the speaker’s message.”
    Yes. The Governor has left open ample alternative channels of communicating the speaker’s message that include television broadcasts, radio broadcasts, internet broadcasts, by live or recorded communications.


  97. - MyTwoCents - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 4:11 pm:

    The churches to stores is an apples to oranges comparison. If Pritzker had banned churches but allowed other types of gatherings of more than 10 people to exist, then absolutely, open and shut case. But that’s not the case. There are absolutely no gatherings of more than 10 people allowed, hence churches are not treated any differently. When I go shopping I am not in close contact with people (within 6 feet for a prolonged amount of time). That’s certainly the case with churches. Also, 6 feet might not work in churches, since there’s lots of singing, which spreads the virus further. Look at what happened with the social distancing choir in Washington. I have yet to see any evidence of religious discrimination by Pritzker. You may not agree with the steps he’s taken, but it’s been across the board. Even with drive-in church services, I haven’t seen him saying drive-in movie theaters are ok.

    Let’s say this lawsuit succeeds, then the entire 10 person rule could get tossed because that’s all the right to peaceably assembly (ya know, also part of that 1st Amendment). So yeah, we’re not past the peak but let’s open up all theaters, have concerts, go catch a White Sox game, have massive parties, etc.


  98. - Elliott Ness - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 4:12 pm:

    Willy- the Catholic Church is NOT the totality of religion, your focus is singular and you continued support of “ anything Pritzker says is gold” is laughable. Please, there is surely something that Pritzker has overstepped that bugs you?


  99. - Jibba - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 4:14 pm:

    “This is rhetorical overkill”

    Not at all. Rural areas have been hit, with almost all counties reporting cases. If they reopen, the virus will spread. It has jumped to the group homes via sick or asymptomatic employees where many of the deaths have occurred. You can’t open without stopping that link somehow. Bending the curve is needed first, plus testing and tracking, but neither are ready for prime time. Treatment is the other key, and we may have just gotten a break with remdesivir, if it holds up. Doing our very best to protect those most likely to die is an absolute requirement before reopening. Anything less is inhuman.


  100. - baracuda - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 4:14 pm:

    The Pastor is a Republican Precinct Committeeman.


  101. - Trying to Be Rational - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 4:46 pm:

    Besides the Black-White divide, religion is the second largest divider politically. If you go to church at least once/month you are very likely to vote Republican. If you haven’t been to church in a year or more you are very likely to vote Democratic. Given the political ratio on this site, I wonder if that explains the ratio of shut vs don’t shut positions on church openings?


  102. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 4:53 pm:

    === This is an Evangelical Church and not a Catholic Church which many have alluded to.===

    (Sigh)

    Not ONE person alluded to anything.

    Keep up.

    Breen, the phony he is, is Catholic and makes his faith a big part of his politics including the phony pro-life bit, first by supporting Bruce Rauner, now by supporting this idea. You shoulda known that, lol

    === There is a way to allow people to worship together in a social distance, non-contact way. Given the number of people wearing masks now, wouldn’t they do so wherever they were?===

    See, like with Breen, the snark is truly comical.

    Maybe Breen should sue to have his parish open too.

    Silly, but that’s kinda like taking a case like this when a practitioner like Mr. Breen in Catholicism has his own faith see this far different.

    Oh, let’s talk “well this his is separation of… “

    No. Stop. Mr. Breen makes a point about religion, it’s a cornerstone *of* his work and politics, so the snark is obvious to him.

    That’s enough on that

    === your focus is singular and you continued support of “ anything Pritzker says is gold” ===

    Making it about me isn’t making any argument.

    Who Mr. Breen is in this prism and his own faith and that take is relevant… to the politics too.

    === Please, there is surely something that Pritzker has overstepped that bugs you?===

    You must not read me too often;

    The IDOC situation is truly awful, the IDES is borderline unacceptable to the Nth degree to process.

    If you weren’t so busy worried about trying to ding folks, and read, you’d know that, since it matters my opinion


  103. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 5:00 pm:

    === Given the political ratio on this site, I wonder if that explains the ratio of shut vs don’t shut positions on church openings?===

    Dunno how that has any baring on the merits of the case, but as a lapsed Catholic that does attend Mass more than not, and a Republican, Trump and the GOP now have ruined the idea of evangelical voters when they can’t reconcile Trump the man, and Trump the racially charged non-empathetic leader of the free world who chooses wealth over people, kinda everything religious types pretend (now with trump) that it matters, but support Trump anyway.

    Like… phony pro-life folks who supported Rauner.

    Religion is a commodity, the religious right is telling us this daily.


  104. - Scott Cross for President - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 5:31 pm:

    Good timing. Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion just posted an article titled “Re-centering the Religious Freedom v. Public Health Debate”: https://canopyforum.org/2020/04/29/recentering-the-religious-freedom-v-public-health-debate/.

    Worth a read. One excerpt: “Technology, organizational innovation, and doctrinal flexibility all undoubtedly play a role in facilitating religious adaptation during times of adversity. But so do resilience and resistance, mixed with a general skepticism of governmental rationales justifying the exercise of expansive powers at the expense of religious liberty… Perhaps a recognition that religious liberty and public health are essential, interrelated, and interdependent can help shift the focus of debate away from what we have a right to do under the law, to what we should do as fellow citizens. Because if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is that individual actions have collective consequences notwithstanding what the law allows or prohibits.”


  105. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 5:34 pm:

    - Scott Cross for President -

    Really great stuff, thanks for this.

    This grabbed my attention, for sure;

    ===“…Because if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is that individual actions have collective consequences notwithstanding what the law allows or prohibits.”===

    Whew. Wow.

    Thank you.


  106. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 5:43 pm:

    === The IDOC situation is truly awful, the IDES is borderline unacceptable to the Nth degree to process.===

    I’d also add the nursing home crisis and grappling with those issues.

    But… Governor Pritzker is doing a great job, and if polled, I’d say as much in rating his handling.

    I trust him, he’s shown real sympathy, he’s shown leadership, he’s been willing to take the hits too. Leaders do that.

    It’s not even close, if you ask me about the federal leadership and the leadership of this gubernatorial administration.

    I also trust the Governor is trying to solve problems, and not duck problems. I know this Governor takes this job seriously and these times, you can *see* it in his face… it weighs on him, as he presses forward.

    To Breen, grandstanding as he does, I can’t see how this legal action moves anything better during this stage of a pandemic


  107. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 7:01 pm:

    ===If you go to church at least once/month you are very likely to vote Republican. If you haven’t been to church in a year or more you are very likely to vote Democratic.===

    Not really. The Gallup (2005) poll that looks at this found it was skewed this way only for white Protestants. There was no significant correlation of church attendance and political affiliation for white Catholics and the majority of black who attended church once a week skewed Democratic 65 to 9.
    The Gallup study didn’t look at religions outside of Catholic and Protestant Christians or races that weren’t black and white.


  108. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 7:45 pm:

    Well at least the congregants all believe in an afterlife.


  109. - MJ’s Shoes - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 8:50 pm:

    It’s a good time to be an atheist.


  110. - RDB - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 9:02 pm:

    Even the Amish in Arthur have canceled their in-home services (per Millie Otto newspaper column.). What makes him so special?


  111. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 9:38 pm:

    @ RDB,

    He talks to Jeezus.

    And he’s the only person who tells us the truth about Jeezus and God and anything else connected with the Bible.

    The rest of us are going to burn in the eternal fires of Hades.

    And Covid-19 is God’s punishment on the rest of us for not doing what this preacher tells us to do.
    /S


  112. - Trying to Be Rational - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 9:45 pm:

    Da Big Bad Wolf: Don’t skip the first part of the post. Race dominates, but once you take out race those involved to some degree with religion tend to go Republican, those who don’t go to church tend to go Democratic.

    Note the use of the word “tend,” not absolutely.

    The Pew Forum has extensive, detailed reports specifically on this topic if you care to follow up.


  113. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 9:56 pm:

    - Trying to Be Rational -

    Republican or Democrat, this idea to have religious services right now ain’t that smart to science.

    So there’s that.


  114. - Jon B. - Thursday, Apr 30, 20 @ 11:07 pm:

    Catholic churches have long pews for parishioners to sit and spread out in. There are ushers that direct people where to sit at mass. Coordinating social distancing wouldn’t be an issue for the Catholic Church. Regardless, Pritzker order is a direct violation of our first amendment right to worship freely.


  115. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, May 1, 20 @ 8:00 am:

    ===Don’t skip the first part of the post. Race dominates,===

    You claimed race divided people. You didn’t discuss race in the context of this study. That’s why I skipped it.

    === but once you take out race ===

    You can’t take out race. People who go to church have some sort of race. And the Gallup study completely ignored members of other religions like Islam or Judaism or Sikhism etc. And other races.

    === Note the use of the word “tend,” not absolutely.===

    I hadn’t made the argument that the Gallup poll was “absolute.”

    ===Given the political ratio on this site, I wonder if that explains the ratio of shut vs don’t shut positions on church openings?===

    Tell us professor, what’s the political ratio of this site? There is a Capitol Fax poll that says 77% support stay at home orders. I suppose some of those 77% go to church every week.


  116. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, May 1, 20 @ 8:30 am:

    Trying: You’re making the argument that people who want churchgoers to stay home for safety don’t value going to church in the first place, so their points of view should be discounted.
    I wonder what the good people at Gallup think about folks weaponizing their curious little study.


  117. - Lynn S. - Friday, May 1, 20 @ 12:28 pm:

    @ Trying,

    I don’t know where you’re at, but I look around the university town I live in, and I see lots of liberals and Democrats active in Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Muslim, and Jewish organizations, spreading their faith and attempting to do good works in the name of their Lord.

    None of those religious organizations are currently holding services for the public. They’re broadcasting them over the airwaves and the internet.

    The conservatives tend to be members of a few Pentacostal and Evangelical church, and one Catholic church with a reputation for being snooty. They’re also doing good works, spreading their faith, and generally complying with the stay at home order.

    I suspect that if someone did the cross-tabs, we’d find that the “religious liberty!” crowd skews more conservative, both in politics and religion.

    I’ve been around long enough to know that those screaming “stay-at-home is creating tremendous mental health issues” are concern trolling, because I’ve watched them fight and slash mental health funding in non-pandemic times.

    I’m starting to get a strong suspicion that the “religious liberty ( multiple banned punctuation) are the folks who supported the money changers Jesus drove out of the Temple and the Pharisees.


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