(TargetLiberty.org) – The pandemic sweeping the world is a dangerous situation, no question about it. But, equally as dangerous, is the situation developing around the country where elected officials are going far beyond “reasonable” restrictions. Some jurisdictions have seemingly moved into an outright suspension of Americans’ rights — implied and Constitutional.
First Liberty’s team of legal experts is on the front lines of this crucial fight, keeping a sharp eye on every government order—from the local level all the way to Capitol Hill—to ensure that our rights to religious freedom are not compromised. https://t.co/XIZRWXKzs9
— First Liberty Institute (@1stLiberty) April 12, 2020
Reasonable restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as reducing restaurant operations to drive-thru and delivery services only or limiting the number of patrons in a store at one time make sense. Some orders, though, are going far beyond that level.
The mayors of Louisville, KY, and Greenville, MS, both issued mandates prohibiting church services over the Easter holiday weekend. Had these been limited to in-person gatherings, they would at least have a veneer of legitimacy; however, what was at issue in these cities were drive-in services where worshippers remained in their cars.
There would have been no violation of CDC social-distancing guidelines, just like people going to retail businesses to pick-up items they have purchased. Here, the mayors treated religious organizations differently, and that’s forbidden by the First Amendment.
Matters Taken Up in Court
Fortunately, a federal judge in Kentucky agreed and put a stop to it. The fight in Mississippi, however, will have to be decided after the fact. Perhaps most chilling is the video posted by that pastor where he claims an officer told him his rights “had been suspended.”
Americans always need to balance compassion and the well-being of others with protecting their rights as free citizens. They eventually must defend those rights when the government crosses the line into oppression.
Perhaps Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
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