Author Topic: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches  (Read 5653 times)

Charles Austin

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2020, 06:51:35 PM »
Pastor Weedon writes (re individual families making decision)L
If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Donít tell them: ďNo, it is not.Ē I think it is as simple as that.
I comment:
I think it was already noted upstream that it is not "simple" when one accepts risks for oneself that are likely to endanger others. We do not have the right to put them at risk just because we are willing to take a potentially dangerous action.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

JEdwards

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2020, 07:06:58 PM »
Pertinent thoughts from Pope Francis, in an op ed piece for the NYT:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2020/11/26/opinion/pope-francis-covid.amp.html

Weedon

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2020, 07:33:11 PM »
Pastor Austin, those same ďothersĒ are obviously assuming the exact same risks by being present. Some think the Divine Service is worth the risk; the medicine of immortality is more important than the threat of death.
William Weedon, Assistant Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel IL
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pearson

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2020, 07:51:34 PM »

A. Some free citizens still act like immature children.


Some officials of the political state routinely act like immature children.  The difference is, in twenty-first century America, the government is simply free citizens with coercive police power.  You want a cadre of immature children in possession of coercive police power making the rules?


B. The airline pilot doesn't take a vote of the passengers about what to do when a problem develops.


Under normal circumstances, the people who boarded that plane had a choice about boarding that plane.  Under normal circumstances, no one possessing coercive police power deprives them of that choice.  Making that choice, under normal circumstances, entails paying a substantial amount of money to entrust that the pilot, not the passengers, will fly the plane.  It's pretty simple, really.     


C. Sometimes parents treat all the children alike, even though only one really needs the rules, so as to not appear to show favoritism. Should dying parents split all their assets equally among their children; or help the ones in need more than those who are doing very well on their own?


As soon as we begin thinking of the political state as "our parent," the horrors begin.

Your analogies falter, Pr. Stoffregen.  As Pr. Speckhard suggested earlier, you occasionally see a clump of trees, but you entirely miss the forest.

Tom Pearson

Julio

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2020, 08:12:31 PM »
I find myself quite conflicted about the Supreme Court ruling. On the one hand, I believe that the free exercise of religion is one of the bedrocks of our nation, and from one point of view, a ruling that affirms this as an absolute right is good and salutary. On the other hand, in a public health crisis it seems there are reasonable restrictions that might be made that in some way inhibit what a church would ordinarily do. This is nothing new; a while back our congregational historian wrote about an incident in 1918 when the rector of our church was arrested because he had failed to follow the flu pandemic restrictions for a funeral he conducted.

So the nub of the issue seems to be what is "reasonable" for safety. I think the complaints about "why is an acupuncture office essential but a church isn't" is really a red herring, and it is unfortunate that the pandemic experts chose the word "essential" (just as many of us wish they hand't used "social distancing"). The real issue is whether churches are being treated differently from "comparable businesses." Not many businesses are really comparable to churches. In an acupuncture office, for instance (just because I'm familiar with this option), you don't have large groups of people sitting in an enclosed space for long periods of time. Same with a retail store. The simple fact is that a church service, as "essential" as we think it is, has many risk factors that most other businesses don't have.

The closest parallel I can think of is a venue like a movie theater. And actually, just looking at California restrictions, the provisions for churches and movie theaters are pretty much the same for the "--outdoor only, with modifications (like masks and spacing). Live theater is completely closed, interestingly--so more restrictive than worship.

I have little patience for the hysteria of people who are trying to claim that "politicians" (especially, of course, Democrats) are trying to "persecute" churches by restrictions that are more onerous than tattoo parlors or liquor stores. Apples and oranges in terms of risk. The "politicians" are listening to the public health people. Do they get it right all the time? No; who does? But crying "anti-Christian persecution" doesn't really help any of us as we navigate an unprecedented situation.

I do tend to agree, though, with those who criticize the "one size fits all" regulations. A building that seats 100 is not comparable to a building that seats 1000, and a rule that says "25% or 25 people, whichever is smaller" is really not well considered.

As an aside, when we were worshiping in person in our fellowship hall, the rule was 25% and then it was 40% for a while when we were in the orange tier. The fellowship hall was built in the 1940s, and there had never been a reason for the public safety people to set an occupancy limit (which happens with any new construction, but usually not otherwise, at least here). So we just ballparked it. When the limit was raised to 40%, we decided that we really couldn't go that high and still be safe, given the configuration of the room. So we basically said, "OK, 25%, but if a few extra people show up, we'll make it work." And an attitude like that is precisely the kind of problem the public health people are dealing with: give some leeway, and somebody will take advantage of it--not maliciously, but just in trying to do what's right but without thoroughly thinking through the implications. (Fortunately, only one Sunday during the four months of in-person did we come anywhere near a problematic number of attendees. The rector that Sunday said "Maybe we need to go to two services"; I said "Let's wait a couple of weeks; I suspect this was a one time issue" which turned out to be right.)
It would seem that attending church services has not been the spreader event that many fear. 

Yes there have been spreader events ... but have any of these been among our confessions/traditions?  We here are primarily Lutheran traditions, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox ... my apologies if I missed anyone.

Have there been any spreader events blamed on worship services among the confession/traditions represented. Some congregations never ceased gathering together (Hebrews 10:25), having taken prudent precautions, have experienced no Coronavirus outbreaks.  There are a number of congregations that may have forgone the chalice for a period ... and/or have fewer communing with the chalice ... yet no super spreader events.

The congregation I attended this summer was conducting mini half hour communion services following the local edict limiting to 50 in a 500 seat sanctuary early this summer ... the day following one of these services after a day car travel pastor fell ill with was later diagnosed as Coronavirus.  No family member who spent 12 hours in the same vehicle as he ever contracted the virus ... no one in the masked, physically distanced mini communion service attendees ever contracted the virus.

I totally respect those who are uncomfortable with the in person services conducted with an abundance of caution ... with proper physical distancing and other precautions ... why canít my choice to attend these carefully conducted services be respected as well?  It seems that some who claim to be tolerant are simply tolerant of opinions and actions mirroring their own thoughts and actions.😶🤭

Finally,  some seem to fear what MIGHT happen ... so much that they refuse to accept what is happening each and every Sunday ... In person Word and Sacrament Ministry is occurring ... with none of the disastrous results tragically imagined by some.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 04:20:09 PM by Richard Johnson »

peter_speckhard

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2020, 08:19:02 PM »
When the various powers that be utterly failed to condemn the mass protests, they forfeit the right to condemn worship services. All they really showed is that socio-political power is their religion, and their religion must have free reign even in a pandemic. Itís just everyone elseís that can be compromised, what with the health emergency and all.

Richard Johnson

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2020, 09:11:15 PM »
When the various powers that be utterly failed to condemn the mass protests, they forfeit the right to condemn worship services. All they really showed is that socio-political power is their religion, and their religion must have free reign even in a pandemic. Itís just everyone elseís that can be compromised, what with the health emergency and all.

The new shutdown order in Los Angeles specifically excludes religious services and protests--apparently taking the cue from the recent Supreme Court decision but extrapolating to say "If freedom of religion warrants an exclusion from the regulation, so does freedom of speech."
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles Austin

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2020, 09:25:32 PM »
Pastor a Weedon writes:
Pastor Austin, those same ďothersĒ are obviously assuming the exact same risks by being present. Some think the Divine Service is worth the risk; the medicine of immortality is more important than the threat of death.

I comment:
Iím not referring to the others at church, but those the worshippers meet at the store, in school or wherever they go after they become infected at church. There is clear proof that church services with people close and singing are spreader events. And those who want freedom of religion at church services must also support freedom of speech at street protests.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 09:35:17 PM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

Weedon

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2020, 09:31:59 PM »
Invert it: what about those who become infected at the store or at school? Do you not see a prejudice against church in thinking itís a worse potential source of infection than places folks still go???
William Weedon, Assistant Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel IL
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J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2020, 10:32:46 PM »
When the various powers that be utterly failed to condemn the mass protests, they forfeit the right to condemn worship services. All they really showed is that socio-political power is their religion, and their religion must have free reign even in a pandemic. Itís just everyone elseís that can be compromised, what with the health emergency and all.

The new shutdown order in Los Angeles specifically excludes religious services and protests--apparently taking the cue from the recent Supreme Court decision but extrapolating to say "If freedom of religion warrants an exclusion from the regulation, so does freedom of speech."

I noted that with heartfelt thanksgiving....and likewise the header that these orders are "temporary".

All of the Department of Health edicts in Pennsylvania have been issues sans expiration/reevaluation dates...although as part of the legacy of William Penn's "holy experiment" religious service have been exempt from capacity limits and stay at home orders from day one; a point overlooked by many hierarchs.
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Charles Austin

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2020, 10:37:50 PM »
There are risks everywhere, Pastor Weedon. Where I live, Beloved Spouse and I might be trampled by a moose as we walk through a park. But that risk is very small.
I'm talking about the additional "church" risks of closed spaces, imperfect spacing, singing and breathing close together, inadequate ventilation and in attendance for an hour or more.
That's different from going in and out of a store in a few minutes, or moving around the supermarket for an hour, or getting donuts at the Kwik-Stop gas station. The risks there are few.
So, yes, churches are usually a worse risk than other places people go. Sporting events are big risks also, as are movies, indoor concerts, choir rehearsals, and big sale stampeders on Black Friday.
BTW in one of those humorously perverse findings, it was determined that street protests in Minneapolis were not big spreaders-of-disease because of movement, shorter contact between people, outdoor air, and some (even if minimal) attention to distancing and masking.
P.S. An anonymous one here, via unwanted private message, says he/she/they do not believe this. Look it up. Itís true. And please stop the behind the scenes trolling.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 05:13:50 AM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Interesting things on the new administration and religion in the 1/24 newspapers. Douthat column, e.g. Posted link here, but it was deleted.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #56 on: November 29, 2020, 12:42:15 AM »
If adults always did what was best for them, we wouldn't need most laws. They wouldn't use illegal drugs. They wouldn't get drunk...

I used to have friends who felt that way.   ;)


I worked for a while in an alcoholic rehab hospital. There were many adults who needed the rules and discipline of AA or NA to remain straight and sober. If the perfect Adam and Eve living in a world with no sin, were unable to do what was best for them, what hope is there for us who are sinful people living in a sinful world? The irony is that they believed that eating the forbidden fruit would be good for them. I've heard smokers say that they believe the nicotine is good for them. It helps calm them down. Drinkers believe that drink or two or more helps them relax or go to sleep or face their fears, etc. People find reasons to convince themselves that the acts they are doing are good.
"The church Ö had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Weedon

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #57 on: November 29, 2020, 06:59:04 AM »
Again to the assumptions: our church actually addressed some ventilation issues early on: we are adequately spaced apart in a largish building, and service lasts about 45 minutes. I would think the risks are greater in the local post office where we all go to pick up our mail. Yet we still do that. You seem convinced sans evidence that churches are worse.
William Weedon, Assistant Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel IL
Catechist on LPR Podcast: The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
A Daily, Verse-by-Verse Bible Study with the Church, Past and Present
www.thewordendures.org

+Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #58 on: November 29, 2020, 07:33:49 AM »
We have five cases of Covid-19 in our congregation. All were contracted away from church since those who are/got sick were not attending. The cases are work and family related.

We never stopped our services at Emmanuel. We did take measures to ensure safety. I'm glad the New York congregations can meet. I also pray their leadership and people act responsibly as they exercise their freedom.

I think the largest reported church spreader event was the choir practice in the north west. This was before most were wearing masks. We saw personally the benefits of masks from a wedding we attended in Indiana. Those who took off the masks tended to get the virus. The transmission likely happened at the reception rather than the wedding service.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 08:17:16 AM by Rev. Edward Engelbrecht »
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #59 on: November 29, 2020, 08:00:43 AM »
Look it up. Itís true.
I doubt the people who disagree are looking it up in the same places.