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Freedom of Religion Tag

Late last night, after I had gone to sleep, two things happened to ensure that I would not be able to take this morning off. First, Sidney Powell released her "Kraken" (more on that later), and second, the United States Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision handed down a huge religious liberty win against Andrew "Killer" Cuomo's lockdown restrictions on religious groups.

Over the last few months, Americans have watched in disgust as Democrat leaders banned people from attending church or opening their businesses, while allowing massive protests and riots. Now the funeral for Congressman John Lewis has shown, beyond any doubt, that there are two sets of rules, one for the liberal, political elite class, and another for everyone else.

Last night, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal justices to deny injunctive relief to a church in Nevada which claimed that lockdown rules discriminated against religious groups, allowing much more lenient reopening for secular businesses such as casinos. This case was similar to the case from California, which we wrote about in late May, SCOTUS: Roberts Joins Liberals To Reject Injunction in California Religious Discrimination Lockdown:

The U.S. Supreme Court issued two important religious liberty decisions today. Both were 7-2 decisions with Sotomayor and Ginsburg in dissent. The first and most high profile was Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, involving regulations allowing entities with religious or morality objections to the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. The lower courts ruled the regulations unlawful, but the Supreme Court reversed.

There are at least two cases in which we may get rulings soon from the U.S. Supreme Court on issues of religious liberty in the age of lockdown. Both cases allege that religious groups are being treated more harshly than secular businesses and groups. This type of disparate treatment has been at issue in many lower court cases, but now cases from California and Illinois have emergency motions for injunctive relief submitted to the Supreme Court, with responses due May 28.

As I was making plans with my husband for Memorial Day weekend, my husband asked me how long it had been since I had gone to Mass. We had just started the season of Lent when the California's Governor Gavin Newsom mandated a coronavirus-caused lockdown of the state. Little did I realize how much I was giving up for Lent this year and that it would include Easter service.

We have followed several court cases involving bans on drive-in church services, including on in Louisville, Kentucky, and another in Greenville, Mississippi. We addressed likely litigation in the age of pandemic at our April 26, 2020, live event, Constitutional Rights in the Age of Government Overreach. To the extent there is a pattern emerging, it is that the state cannot bar religious services where CDC social distancing and related precautions are followed, if the state also allows drive-up and drive-through practices for secular institutions like fast food and liquor stores.

Some local and state governments have tried to ban religious services, including drive-in Easter services, even though conducted in accordance with CDC 'social distancing' guidelines. It's government power grabs for the sake of power grabs. We highlighted this past weekend how a federal judge barred Kentucky from such anti-religious action, Federal Court Prohibits Louisville Mayor from Banning Easter Sunday Drive-in Church Service:

Under the Obama regime, the VA underwent major restrictive changes in terms of religion and Christmas, with various VA's around the country instituting a range of bans.  Bibles, high school Christmas carolers, gifts in wrapping paper with the words "Merry Christmas" or "God Bless You," Christmas trees and decorations, and even Christmas cards for hospitalized veterans were all banned.  It was an appalling overreach that is now, at long last, being corrected under the Trump administration. Vice President Mike Pence has announced changes in VA rules, and religious items, including those related to Christmas, are again allowed in our nation's VA hospitals.
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