Is now the time for a rebellion? That was an odd thought that popped into my head on this beautiful Sunday morning in my little burg on the coast of Galveston Bay. I had had a good meditation and reading of the Bible, then glanced at the news, where I saw the latest assault on the First Amendment. My wife and I decided to take a walk to hopefully burn off the frustration that resulted from reading about that decision but even a three mile walk around the hood didn’t alleviate the frustration. Instead, it, the frustration churned until it became a roiling anger.
There is so much wrong with the court’s decision that is now law of the land. Actually, it’s the second time in two months that John Roberts has joined the liberals in limiting religious freedom. This one is especially egregious, with the state of Nevada arguing that churches are no different than zoos.
Nevada’s lawyers had defended the limit on in-person religious services, saying churches were being treated no differently than museums, zoos, and some schools.
The spineless Chief Justice John Roberts didn’t issue a majority decision, so we have no idea how he was able to twist his interpretation of the First Amendment into a pretzel defending his vote. Sort of how he said Obamacare was a tax when President Obama himself said it wasn’t.
Fortunately, the four dissenters did issue a rebuttal. Here are some snippets:
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a dissent that Nevada was discriminating against religious groups in favor of casinos, which under Governor Steve Sisolak’s reopening plans do not face the same 50-person limit on indoor gatherings.
“That Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise, but this Court’s willingness to allow such discrimination is disappointing,” Alito wrote, adding that Sisolak’s plans allow thousands of people to gather in casinos.
“That Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise, but this Court’s willingness to allow such discrimination is disappointing,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a dissent joined by Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.
“We have a duty to defend the Constitution, and even a public health emergency does not absolve us of that responsibility,” Alito said. “The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. It says nothing about freedom to play craps or blackjack, to feed tokens into a slot machine or to engage in any other game of chance.”
Kavanaugh also wrote his own dissent, as did Justice Neil Gorsuch, who said today’s world “with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges.”
“But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel,” Gorsuch wrote.
Alito said in the lead dissent that by allowing thousands to gather in casinos, the state cannot claim to have a compelling interest in limiting religious gatherings to 50 people — regardless of the size of the facility and the measures adopted to prevent the spread of the virus.
“The idea that allowing Calvary Chapel to admit 90 worshipers present a greater public health risk than allowing casinos to operate at 50% capacity is hard to swallow,” he wrote.
Kavanaugh said he agreed that courts should be “very deferential to the states’ line-drawing in opening businesses and allowing certain activities during the pandemic.”
“But COVID-19 is not a blank check for a state to discriminate against religious people, religious organizations and religious services,” he wrote in his own dissent. “Nevada is discriminating against religion.”
Speaking of dissent, Ted Cruz had this to say:
“John Roberts has abandoned his oath,” Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, said in a tweet. “Maybe Nevada churches should set up craps tables? Then they could open?”
There are many who have been warning that this day is coming. I have been complacent and ignored it. There have been some reasonable responses by various government entities to try and control the spread of a very dangerous virus. This is not one of them. And now that it is the law of the land, with no explanation from the majority, I fear that more government entities will take this tact.
Don’t do it. I’ve been concerned that a civil war is coming and this simply reinforces my feeling. We’ve seen the riots in Democratic controlled cities around the country. The respect for law among many on the left is gone, completely gone.
What’s more, many of our pastors have fallen into secular traps and no longer present the Good News of Christ. Instead, our many of our “mainline Christianity” pastors sit around with their thumbs up their butts, wearing Black Lives Matter shirts while waving a rainbow flag either singing kumbaya or egging on rioters to throw bricks at cops. Many of our “evangelical Christianity” pastors have replaced the cross in their churches with an American Flag.
Both of these types of pastors have ignored that our freedom to worship as we please is under fire and the First Amendment is being discarded as we speak.
I wish the churches in Nevada well. If I lived there, I would hope that my pastor opened the church, going against the Supreme Court. I would be in attendance.
As a matter of fact, I’m going to go ahead and find a church that is open here in Harris County, Texas and go.
Overreaction? Hey, I gotta start somewhere. Beats going to a smoke filled casino, although the 5 liberal Supremes would prefer we do that.