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*** UPDATED x1 *** Justice Kavanaugh orders Illinois to respond to church filing by tonight

Thursday, May 28, 2020

* Fox News

An Illinois church has filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court, challenging Gov. Jay Pritzker’s closure of houses of worship during the coronavirus crisis a day after another congregation in California made a similar move.

The case will be handled by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, based on geography, and he has asked the opposing state officials to respond by Thursday evening, just as Justice Elena Kagan asked of the California church that filed an emergency request on Tuesday.

Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and the Logos Baptist Ministries filed the emergency order citing precedent in a 1947 Supreme Court case “Everson v. Board of Education.” In that case, the Court wrote that “Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church… Neither can force nor influence a person to go or remain away from a church against his will.” […]

Both Kagan and Kavanaugh alone can decide these cases, or refer them to the full court.

* From the church’s request

Three decisions,from the Fifth and Sixth Circuits,have enjoined such orders as unconstitutional, see First Pentecostal Church of Holly Springsv. City of Holly Springs, Mississippi, No. 20-60399, 2020 WL 2616687 (5th Cir. May 22, 2020); Roberts v. Neace, No. 20-5465, 2020 WL 2316679 (6th Cir. May 9, 2020); Maryville Baptist Church, Inc. v. Beshear, No. 20-5427, 2020 WL 2111316 (6th Cir. May 2, 2020), and two decisions,from the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, have denied injunctive relief, see Order, Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church v. Pritzker, No. 20-1811 (7th Cir. May 16, 2020) (“Circuit IPA Order,” attached hereto as Exhibit A); South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, No. 20-55533, 2020 WL 2687079 (9th Cir. May 22, 2020).1Thesedecisions also differ as to whether such orders trigger strict scrutiny under Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah,508 U.S. 520 (1993), and Emp’t Div. v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990). These contradictory decisions demonstrate serious confusion exists within the federal courts as to the correct constitutional standards to apply to emergency executive orders restricting religious worship. Thus,this application presents important questions of federal law which have divided the circuits and should be settled by this Court.

*** UPDATE *** With a big hat tip to a commenter

As southern Illinois prepares for Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, COVID-19 cases in Jackson County are on the rise.

Bart Hagston, administrator of the Jackson county health department, said most of the cases are connected to a local church that has been holding in-person services in defiance of public health orders.

“We have seen an uptick in the number of cases over the last several days. Most of those cases are tied to an outbreak associated with a church in Jackson County,” he said.

The name of the church is not being released to the public.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

85 Comments
  1. - DownSouth - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 9:47 am:

    Just as we see a sharp increase in Jackson county cases attributed to a church that continued to meet in defiance of the EO


  2. - Back to the Future - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    Glad this issue is before the Supreme Court.


  3. - efudd - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 9:58 am:

    DownSouth-

    Yep. People screaming to go to church are the same ones using the “but I can go to Walmart” argument.
    There is no confusing them with facts.


  4. - Flapdoodle - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 9:59 am:

    Why do I get the feeling this has now become less about about gathering in worship and more of a contest that involves a fence post?


  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:02 am:

    “When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for
    they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the
    corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most
    certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward.“

    Matthew 6:5

    The rest here in these suits is silly posturing to seem thoughtful to worship.


  6. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:06 am:

    My mother’s SBC church figured out how to worship online and so can everyone else.


  7. - Anon E Moose - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:06 am:

    This will certainly be referred to the entire Court for review. The circuit conflicts make it ripe for review.


  8. - Jibba - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:07 am:

    It is unequivocal that church attendance spreads the virus due to close quarters, yet churches think they should meet. Is it any wonder that numbers of the non religious are at record highs? Religious exceptionalism.


  9. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:07 am:

    Kavanaugh is a good Justice to weigh in on this. That man needs Jesus.


  10. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    I fully expect Kavanaugh to side with the churches and against the state. Wouldn’t surprise me if Kagan does the opposite and so forces the full court to wrestle with this later.

    Given the dysfunction in the Legislative and Executive branches, why shouldn’t we assume the Judicial branch is no longer able to function properly?


  11. - Chatham Resident - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:09 am:

    ==My mother’s SBC church figured out how to worship online and so can everyone else.==

    So has my church (West Side Christian Church in Springfield). Three online services on Sunday mornings since the pandemic began. They’ve even offered an online service option every Sunday since fall 2015.


  12. - fs - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:17 am:

    Not every religion worships the same way, and the Government cannot tell them how to. That is the conflict, and the question is whether the emergency is enough to enact restrictions, and if so are those restriction enforced equally and logically across all areas of public interaction. The “but my church can do it this way” and “this bible says you can worship this way” arguments are irrelevant.


  13. - Henry Francis - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    Faith > Facts. The battle continues.


  14. - Reality - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:24 am:

    Article is about Missouri or Kansas, not Illinois.


  15. - Lt Guv - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:25 am:

    Candy for the win.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:25 am:

    === Not every religion worships the same way, and the Government cannot tell them how to.===

    Explain.

    I’m confused, attendance is required? That’s a new one on me.

    Which religion *requires* a mandatory attendance… always.

    === The “but my church can do it this way” and “this bible says you can worship this way” arguments are irrelevant.===

    LOL…. (deep breath)… LOL

    The manner of worship relevant to the teachings of say… Christianity… yeah, Matthew 6:5 is not only relevant, it’s from the Sermon on the Mount, as Jesus explains faith and worship.

    Are you saying Jesus is wrong, but Ministers “know” more?


  17. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    Assuming we were created by a higher power, we owe it to that creator to use the brain we were endowed with to avoid doing certain things that put our communities and our selves at risk.


  18. - JSI - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    Rich - the article about Jackson County being sued isn’t Jackson County, Illinois.


  19. - Jocko - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:28 am:

    Someone needs to tell Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Logos Baptist Ministries that the saying “Let God sort them out” wasn’t meant to be taken literally.


  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:28 am:

    ===isn’t Jackson County, Illinois.===

    Oops! Deleted. Thanks!


  21. - RNUG - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:29 am:

    Our church has been doing online for years, and drive-in recently on nice days because we have a good sized field where the cars can park.

    While not part of any lawsuit, my church wants to reopen for service (nothing else) with appropriate distancing. They want to do every other pew, masks, etc. I’ve been debating that with our pastor. I think it needs to be every 3rd pew to achieve the recommended 6 foot distancing. I haven’t managed to change his mind, so I will be watching service on FB Live for a while.


  22. - Streator Curmudgeon - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:29 am:

    This is a new one on me. Since when do individual justices of the U.S. Supreme Court decide cases?


  23. - RNUG - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:31 am:

    == I fully expect Kavanaugh to side with the churches and against the state. Wouldn’t surprise me if Kagan does the opposite and so forces the full court to wrestle with this later. ==

    At the moment, that would be my guess too. Maybe the full court should make some time now to address it.


  24. - 17% Solution - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:32 am:

    == I’m confused, attendance is required? That’s a new one on me.==
    Well maybe yes if your church handles snakes.


  25. - natty lite - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    OW, there is a valid question before the courts about the interpretation of the First Amendment and the Everson opinion as it applies to these emergency situations. Any question that impacts our First Amendment rights is an important one, and I am glad the court is addressing it. The post is about the court cases and legal interpretations, not about our personal feelings. Matthew 6:5 is entirely irrelevant to the interpretation of the First Amendment.


  26. - DownSouth - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:36 am:

    I knew the Jackson County in the article was not IL, however I find the irony in what is happening currently in Jackson County IL as this is happening just too much to ignore. Also the fact that Jackson County is home to Rep Bryant who has been so very vocal about the church issue - wonder what her statement in relationship to this current outbreak would be?


  27. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    === The post is about the court cases and legal interpretations, not about our personal feelings.===

    Why are people wanting to meet at a church?

    I’m guessing… worship.

    Anything else?


  28. - fs - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    == I’m confused, attendance is required? That’s a new one on me.==

    The entire concept of the first amendment, free exercise, and establisment clauses seem to be new to you as well. Yes, there are religions and denominations who place greater importance on actually being there than others. This isn’t new, except maybe to you. And either way it’s the Government cannot play referee and decide which interpretation and worship method is “correct”. It must be neutral in application, and if that application prevents someone from worshipping the way they wish too, the bar that must be cleared to say that’s Constitutional is extremely high. But, again, this whole “Constitution” thing appears to be new to you, so we’ll give you a few minutes to catch up.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    === Matthew 6:5 is entirely irrelevant to the interpretation of the First Amendment.===

    If your faith is more driven by the first amendment than the Gospels… I dunno what the Bible did before the US Constitution existed…

    So there’s that too.


  30. - Pundent - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:40 am:

    Like many things related to Covid-19, the number of churches protesting stay at home orders are in the minority. The Vatican thought the threat was serious enough that it shut down and the various archdiocese and other large governing organizations appear to be doing so willingly. It seems that the majority of leaders do not want to be in a position of putting hundreds or thousands of lives at risk particularly since many regular parishioners tend to be in at risk groups.


  31. - Jocko - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    ==Matthew 6:5 is entirely irrelevant to the interpretation of the First Amendment.==

    How about “Authorities may prevent or stop gatherings that clearly pose other immediate threats to public safety?”


  32. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    So when the outbreak happens at an employer, they’ll discuss the company where the outbreak has happened — but if that employer is a church they won’t publicly discuss it?

    It’s a public health crisis. If there’s an uptick in cases because people attended a specific church in violation of the executive orders, the name of that church should be released publicly so that folks that may have attended can know and so that folks can avoid people that they know have attended it.

    Keeping the public in a veil of ignorance to protect a church from scrutiny is inappropriate.

    The public needs to know who is responsible for this inappropriate, dangerous, cavalier, and self-serving behavior that undermines the public health for an entire region of the state.

    When one consciously violates a public order and promotes the spread of a deadly pandemic, they do not have a right to do so privately.


  33. - 17% Solution - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    == It must be neutral in application, and if that application prevents someone from worshipping the way they wish too, the bar that must be cleared to say that’s Constitutional is extremely high.==
    The EO is neutral in application as it pertains to people congregating, not to choosing one type of worship over another. So I guess you believe Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and the Logos Baptist Ministries will lose.


  34. - JoanP - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    @Streator Curmudgeon -

    Kavanaugh and Kagan are not deciding the cases.

    Each Supreme Court justice is assigned to a circuit (these are called “circuit allotments). In that capacity, she reviews applications from in cases from that circuit, primarily requests to stay lower court rulings pending further appeals and or for stays of execution.

    These are not substantive rulings.


  35. - RNUG - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:45 am:

    Anon at 10:41 was I.


  36. - Cheswick - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:45 am:

    ==Matthew 6:5 is entirely irrelevant to the interpretation of the First Amendment.==

    Until the church starts citing the Bible in its court filings.


  37. - fs - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    == The EO is neutral in application as it pertains to people congregating, not to choosing one type of worship over another. So I guess you believe Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and the Logos Baptist Ministries will lose.==

    I’m not guaranteeing either way, but it’s not a scam dunk case either way. It’s a question the Court absolutely needs to answer, and shouldn’t be laughed off like some here are want to do.


  38. - fs - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    *slam dunk


  39. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:47 am:

    === The entire concept of the first amendment, free exercise, and establisment clauses seem to be new to you as well. Yes, there are religions and denominations who place greater importance on actually being there than others.===

    lol… “ …who place greater importance on actually being there than others.”

    But it’s not required… is it? Of course it’s not.

    In a global pandemic, if a major religion came out and said… “coronavirus or not, you must attend”… boy, that would make news.

    But it didn’t. Did it. Of course it didn’t.

    === And either way it’s the Government cannot play referee and decide which interpretation and worship method is “correct”.===

    lol, this isn’t telling anyone how to worship, it’s requiring that safety in a global pandemic should first halt meeting, now limiting meeting. Did I miss where the government changed Catholic Canon Law to the Mass? I’ve been attending online… no changes in how the worship or Mass is.

    === But, again, this whole “Constitution” thing appears to be new to you, so we’ll give you a few minutes to catch up.===

    “And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him“

    - Mark 12:17

    Oh… here ya go…

    “Obey the government, for God is the One who has put it there. … So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.”

    - Romans 13:1-2


  40. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:51 am:

    There is a saying that hard cases make bad law.

    It is not wise to have group meetings, including religious meetings, while the virus stalks the land. Still I have problems with government banning religious services.

    I worked in Saudi Arabia where Christian religious services were banned. That tinges my thinking.

    My family history includes ancestors who fled France to Scotland following the St. Bartholomew’s massacre of Protestants. Again that shapes my thinking.

    If banning religious services for several months would end the pandemic, I would swallow hard and back the ban. To ban services to slow the spread but not stop it, that seems like a step too far.

    I understand that others will Act in good faith and come to different conclusions from the same facts.


  41. - TinbyDancer(FKASue) - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:58 am:

    State governments have most of the power to place people in isolation or quarantine under certain circumstances.
    The federal government has important quarantine powers. Under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services has the power to take measures to contain communicable diseases from foreign countries into the United States and between states.

    So, if you want to pack yourselves into a room and infect each other, knock yourselves out.
    Just stay away from me.


  42. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:59 am:

    - fs -

    Here’s why I’m laughing;

    The idea that a want for the practice of religion during a pandemic is predicated on this idea that “the law” must supersede the “the word” that clearly shows that requiring people to gather *is* the only way one can worship, and not doing so is infringing… even if the “good book” says I’m not required to be a house of worship.

    That’s “comical” to me, given the ages of the Bible… and the creation of the Constitution… and then factor in a global pandemic where not ONE religion said to ignore the governments of these 160 countries… “if they say don’t meet… you meet”


  43. - Pundent - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:00 am:

    =Keeping the public in a veil of ignorance to protect a church from scrutiny is inappropriate.=

    The reckless endangerment of a community is by no means a laughing matter. I would suggest that if worship is so important to these parishioners, they should all self isolate in the church. They can show their commitment to god and keep their communities safe while doing so. I’d have no problem with their right to assemble under that set of rules.


  44. - GregN - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    I don’t get the ubiquitous Walmart analogy. Isn’t the restriction closer in reality to an indoor restaurant or bar? Where people linger for a hour or more in close proximity?
    I’d think when they can reopen with safety/distance guidance the churches could too.


  45. - Red Ketcher - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:04 am:

    From the Request
    “request an emergency writ of injunction before this
    Sunday, May 31—the Christian holy day of Pentecost”

    End Run to Circumvent Normal Progression to US Sup Ct by trying a Death Penalty Stay manuever ?

    Can’t see either Justice buying it - too extraordinary - Sun May 31 is not an Execution date


  46. - Proud - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:05 am:

    Churches are like all other businesses. They have bills to pay. No services, a lot less revenue. I think this is more about the business side of the churches and less about the spiritual. Placing no judgement, just a thought.


  47. - fs - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:12 am:

    == That’s “comical” to me, given the ages of the Bible==

    Whether they are being honest in their assertion of their faith and beliefs, I will leave for them to sort out with their God. That, by the very nature of one of the most important pillars of in the foundation of this Country, is not for you or I to decide.

    Whether the Government implementing a shut down that prevents those who wish to worship, in a manner they wish to worship, is Constitutional, regardless of whether we agree with their method of worship, I will leave to the highest Court. And it’s a question that they need to answer. Fast.


  48. - Jibba - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:14 am:

    It is unreal and silly that you can’t shut down all places where infections are spread in a pandemic. Those who hold themselves above the health of others verge on criminal. For those who think there are constitutional issues here, I’ll be frank. Many recent decisions made by a narrow minority have made our lives much worse, all in a “constitutional” way. That doesn’t make it right, especially when a differently constituted court would have gone another way. That’s politics, not a sacred document.


  49. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:15 am:

    - Proud - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:05 am:

    They should have applied for PPP loans


  50. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:17 am:

    === Whether they are being honest in their assertion of their faith and beliefs, I will leave for them to sort out with their God. That, by the very nature of one of the most important pillars of in the foundation of this Country, is not for you or I to decide.===

    Respectfully, it only matters to me if the religiously foolish that see a required need to meet hurts society, be it first responders, nurses, doctors, everyone they get in contact with, while asymptomatic.

    I am confused why that was so important to say… given one’s faith is also part of this, otherwise, there would be no suit to discuss.

    === wish===

    Wish, want… those are not… required.

    They are indeed going to do something, the Court…

    “Comical” to Matthew 6:5… all the same.


  51. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:29 am:

    Churches can use Venmo just like the rest of us.


  52. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:35 am:

    fs - “… and the Government cannot tell them how to.”

    So, the Government cannot ban juveniles from snake handling? Child marriage a la Warren Jeffs?


  53. - Keyrock - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:35 am:

    For the purpose of epidemics, churches and other religious institutions are in many ways closest to music venues. There are performers, an audience, and often audience participation. Services can last from most of an hour to several hours without an intermission.

    Singing has been shown to be one of the most dangerous means of transmission of this virus. Loud talking, and groups of people in one room for long periods also cause substantially heightened risk.

    It’s possible to imagine a well-ventilated service with no singing, perhaps recorded music, a p.a. system, masks, and a very limited number of people in a room. But that, for the most part, is not what the plaintiffs in these lawsuits are requesting - they want no restrictions at all, despite the neutral application of rules designed to promote public health and safety.


  54. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:35 am:

    The problem is spreading the virus to others. Government would be derelict of its most basic responsibility if it didn’t try to protect the innocent. If fools could only get themselves sick, the EO would be moot.


  55. - 17% Solution - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:39 am:

    == and shouldn’t be laughed off like some here are want to do.==
    ?
    Which commenter is laughing this off?
    Although I did giggle to myself a bit when you called Kavanaugh a “scam drunk”


  56. - Proud Sucker - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:48 am:

    ===They should have applied for PPP loans===

    My church has applied for, and received, a PPP loan. We haven’t had a worship in our sanctuary since before Palm Sunday.


  57. - d. p. gumby - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 11:57 am:

    religious narcissism…


  58. - SSL - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    There are few things we know with certainty about this disease. One is that churches and senior centers are virus spreading hotspots. Why this can’t be understood and accepted is beyond me.


  59. - Streator Curmudgeon - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    Joan P.,

    Thanks very much for the explanation. I guess I was confused by the Fox News story saying:

    “Both Kagan and Kavanaugh alone can decide these cases, or refer them to the full court.”

    But again, it was Fox News./s


  60. - jimbo26 - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 12:14 pm:

    I had a Springfield Pastor tell me they have more people attending on-line than they had when the church was open for people to attend.


  61. - Left Leaning - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 12:29 pm:

    Matthew 18:20
    “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”


  62. - DownSouth - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 12:29 pm:

    ==I had a Springfield Pastor tell me they have more people attending on-line than they had when the church was open for people to attend.==
    That’s also what I have been told by the pastors in our small rural community. They are seeing it as an opportunity and new way to reach more people. While some of the less techy congregations with primarily older members got off to bit of a rough start, it also brought in some new young faces who simply wanted to help out friends and neighbors and had the tech skills to offer up. Now they are becoming part of that churches congregation and church family.


  63. - Froganon - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 12:30 pm:

    Agree with Candy at 10:42. Churches and members own the results of their actions. They must be publicly ID’d. They have liability for those who get sick from services or from being in contact with an attendee. Attendees should, as a matter of Christian ethics and practice, let those with whom they come in contact know they are at high risk for exposure. Live your faith and own the consequences.


  64. - Lt Guv - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 12:42 pm:

    == It must be neutral in application ==

    As it is since it applies to every denomination and faith. Next.


  65. - Reality - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 12:46 pm:

    Candy 10:42 -
    There have been three specific “centers” of infection in Jackson County; a long term care facility, a food processing plant out of county and, now, this church.
    Jackson County health department did not directly name any of these.


  66. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    == I think this is more about the business side of the churches and less about the spiritual.==

    This is more true than a lot people would like to admit. Many church lead extremely prosperous lives


  67. - Johnnie F. - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    I could easily see some in a congregation insisting that it isn’t communion unless it is from a common cup.


  68. - Fire Plug - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 1:17 pm:

    If there’s one good thing out of this pandemic it’s taught people how to worship online as a family. Many Churches aren’t ready to reopen they’d rather wait.


  69. - JoanP - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 1:54 pm:

    =they have more people attending on-line than they had when the church was open for people to attend.=

    That doesn’t surprise me. There are so many scenarios that make physical attendance hard or impossible, but virtual attendance easy.

    If you are older or sick or infirm or have to care for a family member who is, if you don’t want to risk high water or snow or a polar vortex, if you don’t have transportation - all these things can stop you going to the building, but not turning on Zoom.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if, even after churches can re-open with few or no restrictions, they’ll still have “tele-worshipping” as an option.


  70. - Glenn - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 1:54 pm:

    Separation of Church and State is just as much for the benefit of the State as it is for religion.

    Maybe even more so.

    The Founders didn’t want any institutional American State religion, such as the Church of England was, with a self-appointed King as it’s head, interfering with government rule of law.


  71. - ajjacksson - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    Henry Francis–Faith and Facts are not mutually exclusive.


  72. - Mama - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 2:08 pm:

    Matthew 18:20
    “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”

    People are gathering in Jesus’s name online. You do not have to be in a church building to worship.


  73. - @misterjayem - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 2:28 pm:

    “Not every religion worships the same way, and the Government cannot tell them how to.”

    The government can certainly tell them how NOT to.

    In Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), the United States Supreme Court held that although states have the power to accommodate otherwise illegal acts performed in pursuit of religious beliefs, they are not required to do so.

    The opinion was authored by Antonin Scalia.

    – MrJM


  74. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 3:00 pm:

    = Any question that impacts our First Amendment rights is an important one, and I am glad the court is addressing it.=

    No ones 1st Amendment right is being impacted. Worship his not being denied and the government isn’t establishing a religion. Location is not guaranteed. Their right to assemble physically is not necessary to the practice of faith.


  75. - cermak_rd - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 4:12 pm:

    Elmer Gantry’s gonna Elmer Gantry but I suspect that most of the flock is smarter than their shepherds suspect. I think even if churches start meeting it will be a self-correcting problem.


  76. - ExpletiveDeleted - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 4:44 pm:

    I do try to avoid arguing with the internet but some times…
    @JS Mill Try reading the text of the First Amendment. “Free exercise thereof” and “peaceably assemble.” The Constitution does not say if “so and so thinks it’s necessary.” It’s not all about you, or me. Your fears don’t give you the right to bargain away the freedoms of others. I don’t feel the need to go to service but I’m honest enough to admit that banning the practice is an infringement. Good day.


  77. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 4:57 pm:

    - ExpletiveDeleted -

    There is a global pandemic is going on, the churches are asking to assemble which may lead to the spreading of a virus, thus the order.

    Exercising the freedom to assemble, which could, scientifically, lead, to spreading infections… no one is required to be physically at a place of worship to pray.

    The greater good is helped by less people gathering in mass… and at Mass.

    I want to exercise my right to go against science and maybe spread a once a century virus sounds like something that could be detrimental to the greater good… for this time.


  78. - Jibba - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 5:05 pm:

    Expletive Deleted..almost every freedom we have is limited in some way. Indeed, the freedom to assemble has been repeatedly limited during times of emergency. This is no different.

    BTW, no one is telling churches they cannot assemble. It only limits some ways they can assemble. This should not be hard for grownups and the humble.


  79. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 5:10 pm:

    @expletivedeleted- Not only have I read the constitution, I taught it for years. Assembly can be online or drive in. You don’t get to define it either. Location is not in the plain text, and since it’s inception the USSC has placed limitations on the rights found in the constitution.

    =Your fears don’t give you the right to bargain away the freedoms of others.=

    I am certain that you cannot read my mind, and I did not mention anything about fears, so maybe you should save your Carnac impression for someone else.

    =I don’t feel the need to go to service but I’m honest enough to admit that banning the practice is an infringement.=

    The 4th Amendment contains protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, yet the courts have allowed random “safety chceks”, a clear infringement. The courts interpreted the law. Just like I did. This is not about honestly (interesting you impugn my integrity) but a failure of many Americans to have the grit to sacrifice for the greater good. Many of these so called patriots, members of groups with jingoistic names usually harken back to the good old days yet lack the real toughness and patriotism that helped America prevail during WWII. You sound like one of those folks.


  80. - RNUG - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 5:54 pm:

    == they have more people attending on-line than they had when the church was open for people to attend. ==

    For at least 4 or 5 years, our church has had a percentage attending online. It’s just higher now.


  81. - RNUG - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 5:58 pm:

    == Churches are like all other businesses. They have bills to pay. ==

    After the first few weeks, our church mailed out the Offering envelopes you usually pick up out of the pew, and suggested you could mail them back to the church. The church secretary (a volunteer, small church) still comes in a day or two a week to handle stuff.


  82. - RNUG - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 6:05 pm:

    I don’t see my one post that I accidently put up as Anon at 10:41.

    == attendance is required? ==

    To summarize the missing post, I noted that some faiths / sects have a stated need of a minimum number to pray. Depending, that number is usually 3, 5, 7, 10 or 40. I’ll let the theologians argue whether that has to be in person or if a Zoom meeting would suffice.


  83. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 6:13 pm:

    === attendance is required? ==

    To summarize the missing post, I noted that some faiths / sects have a stated need of a minimum number to pray. Depending, that number is usually 3, 5, 7, 10 or 40. I’ll let the theologians argue whether that has to be in person or if a Zoom meeting would suffice.=

    @RNUG- to your point, faith based organizations have been, in some ways, the most adaptable organizations across history. They had to be in order to survive the many repressions.

    Our church has provided self addressed envelopes (for those who wish to mail donations) since the late 1970’s. My great grandmother lived a very long life. In her later years she watched mass on TV.

    In this time, in person services for large numbers hurts people outside of the congregation. There is no right to spread disease. But, religious congregations who seriously want to keep worshipping have found ways to continue and help their fellow man at the same time.


  84. - Lynn S. - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 7:18 pm:

    To all who are screaming that churches need to reopen: Google “Shincheonji church of Jesus”. Then explain to me how you’re going to avoid that situation here.

    (The Shincheonji Church of Jesus is the South Korean evangelical church that insisted on holding a service attended by 9000 people at the start of the pandemic. South Korea had over 10,000 Covid-19 cases; 50% of all the Covid-19 cases traced back to this particular church.)

    And since you brought up Wal-Mart, I would kindly appreciate you answering this question: Walmart and other places are only allowed to have one person for every 200 square feet, and employees count against the occupancy limit. Will you accept the same thing for your church?


  85. - RNUG - Thursday, May 28, 20 @ 10:30 pm:

    I was reading a note from our pastor that JB has modified / withdrawn his order for churchs and that there are no restrictions on them now, just IDPH guidelines.

    I’m wondering if this was done to prevent a ruling by Kavanaugh since, with the order withdrawn, there is nothing to appeal?

    Seems to be a pattern here of people suing then, if they aren’t likely to get the exact result they want, withdrawing the action.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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