Government Officials Use Pandemic As Excuse To Attack Christianity By R. Albert Mohler, Jr. for The Federalist
Declaring religious services to be ‘non-essential’ is beyond the rightful role of government. Instead, officials should equally apply all limits.
He really said it—and just three days before Easter. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer actually threatened that churches attempting even to meet in cars for a “drive-in” service would face police officers in the parking lot, “to record license plates of all vehicles in attendance.”
You have been warned. Even as almost all religious leaders have cooperated and the vast majority of religious assemblies have been suspended due to the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis, some government leaders, all the way from assorted governors and mayors to health department heads, have evidently decided that now is the time to march into the unthinkable—to threaten government sanctions against Christian churches and individual Christians who are not holding in-room assemblies.
They are taking names and taking numbers. At least that was the plan, until U.S. District Court Judge Justin R. Walker quickly issued a temporary restraining order the day before Easter, declaring: “On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter.”
Sadly, Mayor Fischer was not alone. Kentucky’s governor, Andy Beshear, also a Democrat, stopped short of disallowing drive-in services, but warned against them. Earlier in the pandemic, Beshear had singled out church services for cancelation.
To his credit, he did correct that overreach, issuing a generally applicable order against all public assemblies. That ban included high school basketball games, which, in effect, put a damper on Kentucky’s unofficial state religion.
There is a clear pattern here, and it should set off alarm bells from sea to shining sea. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted on April 8 that drive-in services would not be allowed. In Mendocino County, California, the public health authorities even mandated that churches streaming their services by video could include no singing. In case after case, churches that are obeying and respecting generally applicable “do not assemble” orders are facing threats that are patently unconstitutional.