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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: D. Engebretson on November 27, 2020, 11:38:34 AM

Title: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 27, 2020, 11:38:34 AM
Knowing the diversity of our forum, I know that this topic will probably be as divisive as it was on the court and in our country.  In a 5-4 vote late Wednesday, the Court voted in favor of requests by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish congregations for an injunction to block the restrictions from being enforced that limit numbers gathering indoors. As one might predict it was quickly noted that Justice Amy Coney Barrett cast a deciding vote in favor of the religious groups. Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts dissented along with the court's three liberal justices, so it wasn't a unanimous vote along 'conservative' lines.

As noted in U.S. News and World Reports:
The case stemmed from an Oct. 6 decision by Cuomo, a Democrat, to shut down non-essential businesses in targeted areas where infections have spiked, including some neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

New York has categorized areas where coronavirus infections are increasing in severity as yellow, orange or red. Under Cuomo's restrictions, houses of worship in red zones could remain open at 25% capacity up to a maximum of 10 people.

In a call with reporters on Thursday, Cuomo said the high court's ruling would have no impact on the state's virus control efforts because the red zone status for the area in question had expired last week.

"It's irrelevant from any practical impact because the zone that they were talking about has already been moot," the governor said. "I think this was really just an opportunity for the court to express its philosophy and politics."

He also pointed out that the decision, which now goes to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is not final and did not appear to affect New York state's rules for mass gatherings.

The houses of worship argued the limits imposed by the state violated religious freedoms protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, and that their facilities were singled out for more stringent restrictions than essential businesses, such as food stores.

The Orthodox congregations Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills and Agudath Israel of Madison, as well as nationwide Orthodox Jewish group Agudath Israel of America, requested the injunction.

A federal judge in Brooklyn rejected separate requests made by the religious groups on Oct. 9. The New York City-based 2nd Circuit declined emergency requests filed by both sets of challengers on Nov. 9.

In two previous cases this year, the court, in 5-4 votes, turned away similar requests by churches in Nevada and California. Those votes occurred before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and saw her and the other three liberal members of the court joined by Roberts in the majority.

https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2020-11-26/us-supreme-court-backs-religious-groups-over-new-york-virus-curbs  (https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2020-11-26/us-supreme-court-backs-religious-groups-over-new-york-virus-curbs)

This decision will be noted especially as a bellwether of how the court will now consistently lean right, according to those who felt RBG would have held the more liberal direction if she had remained alive.

This also brings up the question of how the state will classify churches and houses of worship.  In the pandemic the word "essential" has become a key issue.  It has been pointed out how churches in some states received more stringent restrictions than even bars. Now, I suspect, there will be a cry that the emphasis will turn the opposite direction, and the court will favor religion, and that will be seen as a violation of the Establishment Clause.  I may be wrong, but that is my prediction.  I think, that if the run-off elections in Georgia favor the Democrats and the Senate tips their way, we will see a return to discussions about enlarging or "packing" the Supreme Court to either reestablish a 'balance' or guarantee its favoring of liberal causes.   
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: James S. Rustad on November 27, 2020, 12:27:40 PM
The mootness portion of Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo is especially interesting.  The court decided that the case was not moot because the restrictions could be reimposed at anytime.

Earlier, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, the court decided the case was moot because the city had amended the law and the state had amended its laws in such a way as to prevent the city from reimposing the objectionable restrictions in its law.

So, what is the difference?  Is it simply that in one case a higher level of government prohibited the lower level from reimposing a restriction while nothing similar was present in the second case?  Or is it reflective of the change in makeup of the court?  I don't think we'll know for a few years.

Once past the mootness issue, how should church services be treated?  Which businesses or other events should they be compared to when determining the allowed level of regulation?  From the order:
Quote from: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20a87_4g15.pdf
In a red zone, while a synagogue or church may not admit more than 10 persons, businesses categorized as “essential” may admit as many people as they wish. And the list of “essential” businesses includes things such as acupuncture facilities, camp grounds, garages, as well as many whose services are not limited to those that can be regarded as essential, such as all plants manufacturing chemicals and microelectronics and all transportation facilities. See New York State, Empire State Development, Guidance for Determining Whether a Business Enterprise is Subject to a Workforce Reduction Under Recent Executive Orders, https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026. The disparate treatment is even more striking in an orange zone. While attendance at houses of worship is limited to 25 persons, even non-essential businesses may decide for themselves how many persons to admit.


Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Randy Bosch on November 27, 2020, 12:37:48 PM
The mootness portion of Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo is especially interesting.  The court decided that the case was not moot because the restrictions could be reimposed at anytime.

Earlier, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, the court decided the case was moot because the city had amended the law and the state had amended its laws in such a way as to prevent the city from reimposing the objectionable restrictions in its law.

So, what is the difference?  Is it simply that in one case a higher level of government prohibited the lower level from reimposing a restriction while nothing similar was present in the second case?  Or is it reflective of the change in makeup of the court?  I don't think we'll know for a few years.

Once past the mootness issue, how should church services be treated?  Which businesses or other events should they be compared to when determining the allowed level of regulation?  From the order:
Quote from: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/20a87_4g15.pdf
In a red zone, while a synagogue or church may not admit more than 10 persons, businesses categorized as “essential” may admit as many people as they wish. And the list of “essential” businesses includes things such as acupuncture facilities, camp grounds, garages, as well as many whose services are not limited to those that can be regarded as essential, such as all plants manufacturing chemicals and microelectronics and all transportation facilities. See New York State, Empire State Development, Guidance for Determining Whether a Business Enterprise is Subject to a Workforce Reduction Under Recent Executive Orders, https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026. The disparate treatment is even more striking in an orange zone. While attendance at houses of worship is limited to 25 persons, even non-essential businesses may decide for themselves how many persons to admit.

I haven't read the State's "Guidance" categorizing "essential" businesses to identify the definitions.
However, perhaps the issue is less that of religious gatherings than it is the manner in which "guidelines" are promulgated, the basis for stating what is "essential" or note, and how occupant levels can differ - and how they relate to the actual potential for spread of viruses.

Just a hypothesis, that there is a high level of imprecise and arbitrary thought and action, perhaps equal to or exceeding cultural/political biases of those who were tasked with developing the "guidance".

Maybe someone will be inspired/bored enough to study it and parse out the yellow flashing lights.

Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: David Garner on November 27, 2020, 02:16:46 PM
I don’t think any honest person could characterize this decision as favoring religion, so those who choose to characterize it as such may be summarily dismissed. If anything, it is simply an instruction from the Court that secular convenience and religious liberty interests be fed from the same spoon.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 27, 2020, 02:25:22 PM
And just because churches are allowed to have gatherings of people greater than what is normally considered safe, doesn’t mean that it is always responsible for us to actually do that.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: JEdwards on November 27, 2020, 02:58:49 PM
I read all the opinions. While the Justices engaged in some sharp exchanges, I thought they all reflected careful reasoning and good-faith attempts to reconcile important values related to religious freedom, public health, and political accountability. Roberts noted that it can be difficult to select an appropriate secular comparator when deciding whether religious organizations are being treated equally, arguing that calls like this should be made by politically accountable officials. Gorsuch pointed out some really extreme disparities in the treatment of religious and secular entities. The per curiam opinion referenced hostile public comments made by Governor Cuomo regarding Orthodox Jewish communities, while Sotomayor pointed out, fairly enough, that the Court did not consider President Trump’s public comments about a “Muslim ban” to be relevant in considering whether his executive order on immigration violated the First Amendment.

I think the Court got it right in the end. I wish the other two branches of our government showed comparable rigor in their debating and policy-making.

Peace,
Jon
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 27, 2020, 03:57:51 PM
What is considered "normally safe" has differed since the pandemic began, even from medical and community health experts.  When one establishes percentages and numerical limits it seems, at times, to be somewhat arbitrary, such as allowing bars and restaurants to be open, but closing them at 10 p.m.  The majority of churches and synagogues, I am convinced, have been abiding by basic CDC guidelines of safe distancing and mask wearing, providing hand-sanitizer and other protocols.  Churches, by and far, have been quite responsible. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 27, 2020, 04:03:29 PM
And just because churches are allowed to have gatherings of people greater than what is normally considered safe, doesn’t mean that it is always responsible for us to actually do that.
Except that's not what was being allowed/ordered in New York.  As I understand it, New York was limiting religious gatherings to a maximum head count, not a percentage of occupancy like other enterprises.  That was the point of the lawsuit and Gorsuch's opinion.  They were not being given preferential treatment.  Quite the opposite.  And that runs afoul of their First Amendment protections.  Certainly if everything is shut down, then they no reason to complain.  The distinctions which the governor decreed may be justifiable if done by a legislature, I'm not sure about that yet.  But for this case, Gorsuch seems to be saying it's an arbitrary exercise of executive discretion which violates the First Amendment.

That lower courts, or the chief justice, didn't come to this conclusion is not because it's not true, but procedural.  That's how I take the chiefs dissent, not on the merits.  Contrary to the bile he's once again getting from the right.

In Pennsylvania, churches are under the same restrictions as any public indoor gathering:  a percentage of capacity.  (When we are not "red" and all public gatherings are limited to a minimal head count not percentage.)  I see nothing wrong with that, because it applies equally to any large gathering.  Nothing special because we are a church.  My congregation has required masks indoors, irrespective of any state mandate, when we finally resumed worship in the fall, outdoors initially and subsequently when moved inside in November--it wasn't necessarily mandated for a while.  Indoors we are not singing corporately.  YMMV

Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: MaddogLutheran on November 27, 2020, 04:13:06 PM
The per curiam opinion referenced hostile public comments made by Governor Cuomo regarding Orthodox Jewish communities, while Sotomayor pointed out, fairly enough, that the Court did not consider President Trump’s public comments about a “Muslim ban” to be relevant in considering whether his executive order on immigration violated the First Amendment.

The problem with Sotomayor's reference to Trump's public statements on the so-called "Muslim travel ban" is that the policy, as instituted, is not a Muslim travel ban.  Aside from that inconvenient fact, aliens do not posses First Amendment rights, and the long history of immigration regulation specifically allows for the such selectivity.  Whereas Cuomo and DeBaslio's enforcement really does follow their public utterances, against people who do posses First Amendment rights.  But the wise Latina has had a long-standing issue with the truth and the law.

That being said, I don't agree with the behavior of Orthodox Jews I've seen flouting the rules that do apply to all of us equally.  There may be justification for concentrating enforcement against them, because they don't seem interested in following the less stringent limitations the Archdiocese of New York is willing to accept.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Randy Bosch on November 27, 2020, 04:41:39 PM
That being said, I don't agree with the behavior of Orthodox Jews I've seen flouting the rules that do apply to all of us equally.  There may be justification for concentrating enforcement against them, because they don't seem interested in following the less stringent limitations the Archdiocese of New York is willing to accept.

A caveat.  Because an individual or group is willing to accept limitations on their rights does not mean that the limitations are in compliance with existing law or with the Constitution.  Perhaps that is part of the Court's referral back to the lower court?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 27, 2020, 05:05:13 PM
I suspect that the court may indeed allow churches all kinds of exceptions from the “gathering“ rules.
My point is that even though we might be allowed to have large gatherings, that does that mean it is right to have them. Especially if it means we could be doing great damage to our neighbors.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Jeremy_Loesch on November 27, 2020, 06:53:00 PM
And congregations will continue to use sound judgment in determining how they conduct themselves according to the guidelines of the various places they find themselves.

Jeremy
 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Julio on November 27, 2020, 09:04:24 PM
Except that's not what was being allowed/ordered in New York.  As I understand it, New York was limiting religious gatherings to a maximum head count, not a percentage of occupancy like other enterprises.  That was the point of the lawsuit and Gorsuch's opinion.  They were not being given preferential treatment.  Quite the opposite.  And that runs afoul of their First Amendment protections.  Certainly if everything is shut down, then they no reason to complain.  The distinctions which the governor decreed may be justifiable if done by a legislature, I'm not sure about that yet.  But for this case, Gorsuch seems to be saying it's an arbitrary exercise of executive discretion which violates the First Amendment.
One wonders why a maximum head count seems to be far more commonly applied to religious gatherings. In Nevada casinos are by percentage of capacity ... a report ... probably from California indicates that strip clubs are to a percentage of capacity .. yet churches gatherings are limited to a flat specific number ... totally disregarding sanctuary capacity. 

A limit of 50 in the country sanctuary I once worshipped in way have been proper ... or a bit high ... a limit of 50 in the current sanctuary I am privileged to worship would be a complete travesty of justice as capacity is better than 500. 

Perhaps the antagonistic attitude towards religion by some decision makers is God’s righteous chastisement on Christians for failing to be the salt and leaven in the world today that our Lord wishes us to be.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 28, 2020, 09:26:11 AM
Governor Cuomo, predictably opposed to the Supreme Court's recent decision, not only labeled it "irrelevant" (given the change in the zones under lockdown), but made this additional statement regarding the implication of the decision:
“They wanted to make a statement that it's a different court. That's the statement they're making, I understand that. And that’s to be expected," Cuomo said during a Thanksgiving Day call, alluding to the impact of the recent addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the bench without calling her by name.

“We know who we appointed to the court. We know their ideology. It’s irrelevant from a practical impact because the zone that they were talking about has already been moved. It expired last week. I think this was really just an opportunity for the court to express its philosophy and politics,” he said.

https://test.christianpost.com/news/ny-gov-andrew-cuomo-slams-supreme-court-ruling-on-churches.html (https://test.christianpost.com/news/ny-gov-andrew-cuomo-slams-supreme-court-ruling-on-churches.html)

Unfortunately this expresses, again, the highly partisan atmosphere in which politics now exists.  Any decision not respected by those identified as more progressive or liberal will now be automatically labeled not as a reasoned judicial decision, but as a ideological statement.  Of course, this is Cuomo speaking for himself, but I suspect others concur with his thinking.  Again, if the runoff Senate elections in Georgia favor Democrats, I predict that Supreme Court realignment to be one of the earliest projects undertaken by the new majority to control all branches in DC.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2020, 10:15:56 AM
I will listen to and discuss your criticism of Governor Cuomo, when you come equally hard down upon your guy, the president, who plays golf every day, holds massive rallies, (and is planning more),  completely ignores the virus rampaging through the country, and continually spouts lies concerning the election.
Until you deal with that, I don’t want to hear one word from you about Governor Cuomo, who at least responded to criticism and modified his plans.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: David Garner on November 28, 2020, 10:36:59 AM
Governor Cuomo, predictably opposed to the Supreme Court's recent decision, not only labeled it "irrelevant" (given the change in the zones under lockdown), but made this additional statement regarding the implication of the decision:
“They wanted to make a statement that it's a different court. That's the statement they're making, I understand that. And that’s to be expected," Cuomo said during a Thanksgiving Day call, alluding to the impact of the recent addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett on the bench without calling her by name.

“We know who we appointed to the court. We know their ideology. It’s irrelevant from a practical impact because the zone that they were talking about has already been moved. It expired last week. I think this was really just an opportunity for the court to express its philosophy and politics,” he said.

https://test.christianpost.com/news/ny-gov-andrew-cuomo-slams-supreme-court-ruling-on-churches.html (https://test.christianpost.com/news/ny-gov-andrew-cuomo-slams-supreme-court-ruling-on-churches.html)

Unfortunately this expresses, again, the highly partisan atmosphere in which politics now exists.  Any decision not respected by those identified as more progressive or liberal will now be automatically labeled not as a reasoned judicial decision, but as a ideological statement.  Of course, this is Cuomo speaking for himself, but I suspect others concur with his thinking.  Again, if the runoff Senate elections in Georgia favor Democrats, I predict that Supreme Court realignment to be one of the earliest projects undertaken by the new majority to control all branches in DC.

Ironically, the standard used by the Per Curiam opinion and the concurrences, and opposed by Roberts and the other dissenters, has been articulated before as a reason for the Court to act on disputes that are moot for the moment. That standard is “capable of repetition, yet evading review.” 

Why ironically? It was most famously articulated in Roe v. Wade.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Julio on November 28, 2020, 11:18:11 AM
I will listen to and discuss your criticism of Governor Cuomo, when you come equally hard down upon your guy, the president, who plays golf every day, holds massive rallies, (and is planning more),  completely ignores the virus rampaging through the country, and continually spouts lies concerning the election.
Until you deal with that, I don’t want to hear one word from you about Governor Cuomo, who at least responded to criticism and modified his plans.
Criticism in the eyes of some is hypocrisy in the eyes of others.

Meanwhile the false accusations that President Trump ‘plays golf everyday’ is simply partisan talk.

President Trump golfing rounds neither hinder the work of our first responders nor are responsible for any additional China virus cases.

Dealing with factual inaccuracies concerning President Trumps private life is of utmost importance to many.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 28, 2020, 11:23:14 AM
Trump, of course, is not above reproach, and many pixels have been spent demonstrating his supposed faults and failures.  I'm not sure what is to be gained by offering more, especially since his days in the White House are numbered and his influence will soon be past.

Also, Cuomo, who will remain in office after Trump is gone, seems relevant to this thread since he was impacted directly by the Supreme Court decision and addressed it specifically in a critical manner.  It also seems relevant because it appears that he addresses what may also be on the mind of other Democrats, namely, that the court has become ideologically shifted. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 28, 2020, 11:26:45 AM
I will listen to and discuss your criticism of Governor Cuomo, when you come equally hard down upon your guy, the president, who plays golf every day, holds massive rallies, (and is planning more),  completely ignores the virus rampaging through the country, and continually spouts lies concerning the election.
Until you deal with that, I don’t want to hear one word from you about Governor Cuomo, who at least responded to criticism and modified his plans.
Interestingly, this is exactly the approach you could not tolerate when people responded to your criticisms of Trump by pointing out the failings of the alternatives to Trump. More importantly, nobody cares want you want to hear from them. If you don't want anyone's criticisms of a governor's unconstitutional overreach, don't read a thread devoted to the SCOTUS majority's ruling about it. Nobody is forcing you to log in and read what they post. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2020, 12:42:35 PM
If you're on a campaign to drive people away from ALPB Forum, Peter, I'd like to know what makes someone worthy of being one of your targets. Apparently I have the red-circle symbol of a big retailer on my back.
I await your directions to those who call Brian and myself heterodox, heretics or worse, and whose instant, knee-jerk response to most of our posts is "How awful! How could a Lutheran pastor say such terrible things!?" This is often delivered, of course, behind a shield of anonymity.
To quote you "Nobody is forcing (them) to log in and read what (we) post."
P.S.  So it's somehow important that I respond to criticisms of Democrats long ago or actions taken in years past, but no one has to answer for Republicans running the country today with lies and actions more unconstitutional than temporary measures attempting to control the pandemic.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2020, 12:53:00 PM
One of the first things that Trump did when he took office was to dismantle some of the machinery that Obama set up to deal with a health crisis, including care for a stockpile of ventilators and other emergency equipment. And he was devastatingly slow to use his full power to order US manufacturers to provide what was needed.
BTW Cuomo is not solely to blame for having virus patients in nursing homes. Regulations in many states, including Minnesota, require nursing homes to take in some needy patients and forbid them from refusing to accept them just because they have a certain disease.
This blindness to Trump's failings concerning the virus, not to mention his lies about it, continues to disturb us. And I wonder why he has never made even a symbolic visit to those seriously ill. He had some recovered people to the White House as a sign that the disease wasn't so bad, but....
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 28, 2020, 01:16:17 PM
Conversation about Trump and the virus is hindered when the only option given is an outright blanket condemnation of the president and an ongoing litany of his supposed failures.  To give credit to Trump for anything seems to be quickly countered with a reminder of accusations of lies and other sins. I don't think further condemnation is needed from Republicans.  There is plenty from the other side to compensate.

As I noted before, Trump is not without his faults and failures. But then again, so are all presidents.  Whether Trump is deemed by future historians as the worst of the bunch, time will tell.  Opinion is divided on the benefits of what he has done, yet there appears to be no room for any real discussion of that. 

Democrats now are very close to having the reins of power handed back.  I would think there would be more rejoicing.  If Georgia goes their way, the possibilities are wide open, including a reconfiguration of the Supreme Court. I'm quite certain that with the stroke of many pens Biden will undo as many executive orders of his predecessor as he can.  He has four years to right all the wrongs, and then Harris has four more to build on that.  Why is there not more celebrating?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 28, 2020, 01:26:35 PM
If you're on a campaign to drive people away from ALPB Forum, Peter, I'd like to know what makes someone worthy of being one of your targets. Apparently I have the red-circle symbol of a big retailer on my back.
I await your directions to those who call Brian and myself heterodox, heretics or worse, and whose instant, knee-jerk response to most of our posts is "How awful! How could a Lutheran pastor say such terrible things!?" This is often delivered, of course, behind a shield of anonymity.
To quote you "Nobody is forcing (them) to log in and read what (we) post."
P.S.  So it's somehow important that I respond to criticisms of Democrats long ago or actions taken in years past, but no one has to answer for Republicans running the country today with lies and actions more unconstitutional than temporary measures attempting to control the pandemic.
If I were on a campaign to drive people from the forum, I would write things like, “ I will listen to and discuss x when y,” or, “Until you deal with that, I don’t want to hear one from you about x”  which is something only a genuine ass would write in the context of a thread devoted to the topic of x. If you don’t want to talk about the SCOTUS ruling regarding Cuomo’s unconstitutional actions re: freedom of religion, then don’t. Other people do. And they owe you precisely nothing by way of opinions on other topics.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2020, 02:19:53 PM
OK, Peter, and I owe "them" nothing in response to snipes at Obama or either of the Clintons, who, BTW are no longer in office and exert little influence over anything. Trump is still in office and still does and - if he gets his way and if the members of the sect shout loudly enough and if the sane Republicans cave in - will exert total control over the Republican party when he leaves office. Let us pray that people like Sasse and Romney and the 20 or so other Senators said to privately "despise" Trump keep speaking up or find the voices they lost in thrall to the leader of the sect.
    I do rejoice that Biden was elected, but the rejoicing was dampened by the crap thrown at the election by the President and his minions, crap now proven in the courts to be totally without merit.
   The rejoicing is tempered by sadness that we must now move into the administration ahead with the echoes of nutty allegations, dissembling and corruption having tainted the White House. I think President-Elect Biden should order a total fumigation before letting his family move in. Might be something in the air.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 28, 2020, 02:33:11 PM
OK, Peter, and I owe "them" nothing in response to snipes at Obama or either of the Clintons, who, BTW are no longer in office and exert little influence over anything. Trump is still in office and still does and - if he gets his way and if the members of the sect shout loudly enough and if the sane Republicans cave in - will exert total control over the Republican party when he leaves office. Let us pray that people like Sasse and Romney and the 20 or so other Senators said to privately "despise" Trump keep speaking up or find the voices they lost in thrall to the leader of the sect.
    I do rejoice that Biden was elected, but the rejoicing was dampened by the crap thrown at the election by the President and his minions, crap now proven in the courts to be totally without merit.
   The rejoicing is tempered by sadness that we must now move into the administration ahead with the echoes of nutty allegations, dissembling and corruption having tainted the White House. I think President-Elect Biden should order a total fumigation before letting his family move in. Might be something in the air.
Precisely. You owe them nothing, so don’t give them anything. Don’t post on the topic. Don’t post that you aren’t going to respond. Don’t post to pony out your refusal to post. Don’t post some little dig and then add, “But we digress.” Just stop interacting with people you don’t like on topics that bug you.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2020, 02:37:43 PM
Peter:
Just stop interacting with people you don’t like on topics that bug you.

Me:
Then how are you and the others here ever going to learn anything? And how am I going to have any fun?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 28, 2020, 02:39:57 PM
Peter:
Just stop interacting with people you don’t like on topics that bug you.


Perhaps when you stop interacting with Charles over his posts that bug you.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 28, 2020, 03:11:23 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.)
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 28, 2020, 03:38:31 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.)
You make several excellent points here. Just as churches and other religious institutions are not exempt from general health and safety codes, so we need to be sensitive to and cooperative with rules and regulations designed to promote public health during this health crisis. My one caveat, and one that I think you share, is that churches not be singled out for special restrictions.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: John_Hannah on November 28, 2020, 03:41:06 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.)

Very well stated, as usual for you. It is not simple. Nor are we being persecuted. Ask my congregation's Coptic tenants. They have not been allowed back because we cannot conduct the cleaning necessary between services. They do know what real persecution is, only too well.     :)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Weedon on November 28, 2020, 03:47:01 PM
Richard,

I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me it comes down to this: please let the adults and responsible family members make their own decisions and stop imposing your decisions upon them. If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” I think it is as simple as that.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 28, 2020, 04:13:40 PM
Public safety can justify pretty draconian executive orders. We have to assume nobody is trying to get sick or spread disease, and further assume that government is always trying to concentrate authority in itself. Recommendations are far safer than mandates when all the facets of public health are taken into account.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: John_Hannah on November 28, 2020, 04:23:00 PM
Richard,

I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me it comes down to this: please let the adults and responsible family members make their own decisions and stop imposing your decisions upon them. If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” I think it is as simple as that.

WILL,

The problem with this virus is that the danger applies not only to the one making the decision whether or not to wear one but also to those he meets.

Not all those advocating masks and distancing are communists.    :)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 28, 2020, 04:29:31 PM
I understand your concern. Does "just let the adults and responsible family members make decisions" apply only to religious services? Or would you ask that the public health officials not prescribe any restrictions on anybody?

And if it is all about freedom to make responsible decisions, are there any public health and safety restrictions that are acceptable? Seat belts? Fire exits? Speed limits? Restaurant kitchen safety? At what point does the larger society (by which I mean the public health and safety advisors, in conjunction with government officials) have a legitimate responsibility to ensure that the broader public is protected? Where is the line?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: JEdwards on November 28, 2020, 04:34:46 PM
Richard,

I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me it comes down to this: please let the adults and responsible family members make their own decisions and stop imposing your decisions upon them. If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” I think it is as simple as that.
In general, this is a sound way to make decisions for a free society.  It gets a little murkier with infectious disease, though, where my decisions have the potential to impose risk on total strangers.  To take a non-COVID example, consider measles vaccination.  The measles vaccine is safe and highly effective, but it is not perfect.  Every few years, there is a measles outbreak somewhere in the US.  Invariably, the outbreak can be traced to one or more unvaccinated individuals, but occasionally, some fully-vaccinated children get sick as well, because the virus is highly transmissible, and the vaccine is not 100% effective.  If I had chosen not to vaccinate my kids against measles, most of the risk would have fallen on my own children, but I would also have needlessly imposed some risk on others in our community. 

Peace,
Jon

Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2020, 04:37:10 PM
Richard’s post further upstream is wise and on target. Too many are too eager to cry “religious persecution,” as if “they“ were out to oppose our preaching the Gospel. In truth we aren’t that important.  But it makes us feel cool to think we are.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 28, 2020, 04:54:04 PM
Richard,

I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me it comes down to this: please let the adults and responsible family members make their own decisions and stop imposing your decisions upon them. If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” I think it is as simple as that.
In general, this is a sound way to make decisions for a free society.  It gets a little murkier with infectious disease, though, where my decisions have the potential to impose risk on total strangers.  To take a non-COVID example, consider measles vaccination.  The measles vaccine is safe and highly effective, but it is not perfect.  Every few years, there is a measles outbreak somewhere in the US.  Invariably, the outbreak can be traced to one or more unvaccinated individuals, but occasionally, some fully-vaccinated children get sick as well, because the virus is highly transmissible, and the vaccine is not 100% effective.  If I had chosen not to vaccinate my kids against measles, most of the risk would have fallen on my own children, but I would also have needlessly imposed some risk on others in our community. 

Peace,
Jon
So the question becomes whether it is better to live with the occasional outbreak of measles in a free society or live 100% measles-free in a society where the government can inject things into your children against your will. Don't get me wrong, all my children are vaccinated. I simply think we too often solve problems at the expense of the big picture and then wonder why the big picture is so messed up. I believe it is in some writing regarding Screwtape Letters (but I could be wrong) where C.S. Lewis points to the fact as extremely tyrannical if not Satanic that some law in England forbade a man from cutting down his own tree on his own property. Lewis would be all in favor of leaving the tree there; that wasn't the point. The point is that when the collective imposes its will on the individual, every individual in the collective loses something without even knowing it. The defenders of liberty in principle will always appear to be the uncaring ones who can't see the obvious benefit of this or that (usually emergency) solution to this or that problem.

If the state took two or three billion dollars of Elon Musk's money and gave it to poverty-stricken people, it would seem like far more people would be better off. Musk would barely even notice. But suddenly 300+million people would be living in a country that didn't recognize private property or equal protection under the law. The people arguing against such a redistribution would not be opposed to poverty relief or pro-billionaire. They would be protecting an important principle that benefits all people.     

There can be problematic cases, especially as it relates to addiction, in which the strong can prey upon the freedom of the weak in such a way that it becomes problematic to figure out what should be legal. And contagion/public safety certainly presents conflicting principles. I simply think special circumstances require us to err on the side of principle rather than practical solutions because we are somewhat "bribed" in our deliberations by the promise of a solution to a pressing problem.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 28, 2020, 05:17:43 PM
Richard,

I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me it comes down to this: please let the adults and responsible family members make their own decisions and stop imposing your decisions upon them. If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” I think it is as simple as that.
In general, this is a sound way to make decisions for a free society.  It gets a little murkier with infectious disease, though, where my decisions have the potential to impose risk on total strangers.  To take a non-COVID example, consider measles vaccination.  The measles vaccine is safe and highly effective, but it is not perfect.  Every few years, there is a measles outbreak somewhere in the US.  Invariably, the outbreak can be traced to one or more unvaccinated individuals, but occasionally, some fully-vaccinated children get sick as well, because the virus is highly transmissible, and the vaccine is not 100% effective.  If I had chosen not to vaccinate my kids against measles, most of the risk would have fallen on my own children, but I would also have needlessly imposed some risk on others in our community. 

Peace,
Jon
There is another aspect to measles that in some ways mirrors this Covid-19. As a childhood disease, measles is relatively mild and generally not life threatening. For adults who might not have gotten it as a child and not vaccinated it can be a very different story. Especially for pregnant women who if they get it can have profound and tragic consequences for their unborn child. This served as a plot point and motive for murder in an Agatha Christie novel, The Mirror Cracked from Side to Side. Measles is not only for the protection of the child being vaccinated but also adults to whom they could spread the disease, it is ferociously transmittable, especially pregnant women. So our precautions taken against Covid is not only to protect ourselves, but also our community.


As in most such decisions, there needs to be a cost/benefit reckoning. To abridge personal rights, whether it be religious rights, the right to freely travel, or the right to not wear a face covering, there absolutely needs to be a compelling governmental interest, and it must be more than simply to make governmental action easier or that some governmental official thinks it could be a good idea. And the importance of the compelling governmental interest must be at least as serious as the abridgement of rights.


Perhaps there is a parallel here with the decision to discontinue life support for a dying patient. Generally, we are in favor of life, and in doing extra to support and improve life. Yet there comes a point where the harmful effects of continued treatment and the possibility of meaningful benefit is so small, that continued life supporting measures may reasonably be discontinued. It is usually not the case that if some measures could save "One Life" society must take those measures irrespective of its cost to other people. The question becomes, how much will these measures do to save and promote life compared to how much damage these measures would do to others.


Sometimes I need to sacrifice some freedom, if it can be demonstrated that the benefit for others outweighs the injury to my freedom and that there isn't a less restrictive means to accomplish that end. Google Sherbert Test.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 28, 2020, 05:49:42 PM
Any decree that inhibits individual rights for the sake of public safety should, in order to be accepted, inhibit the rights (not the responsible chosen course of action, but the right to act) of the one making the proclamation as much or more than it does the rights of those expected to obey. Nobody who flies a private jet should ever be allowed to dictate what others can do regarding carbon emissions, for example.

Several mayors and governors have apologized this year for flagrantly violating their own edicts. I've been paying attention to such apologies. Note what it is they apologize for. They apologize for a lapse in judgment, for sending the wrong message or setting a bad example. But to my knowledge they never have apologized for knowingly endangering the lives of themselves or their loved ones, much less the general public. Gavin Newsome doesn't think he risked his old friend's life by going to that dinner. He thinks he made a bad impression and a political mistake. He wouldn't have gone if he really thought it was dangerous. The Denver mayor didn't apologize for the possibility that he might be responsible for the death of his family in Mississippi when he went there for Thanksgiving after telling everyone else to stay home. It isn't at all about what they really think, it is all about what they need other people to believe so as to keep order.

Imagine a governor flying a private jet while completely drunk and nearly crashing it. Wouldn't the apology be for the danger he posed to the public? If he apologized for setting a bad example or violating some air traffic regulation, people would say he just didn't get the true magnitude of his crime. What he did flying that plane was potentially lethal, not just a mistake about a rule. But when it comes to public officials gathering together during Covid, they don't apologize for potentially lethal crimes or manifest reckless endangerment. They apologize for understandable lapses in judgment and doing things that look bad. That's because the ones making the rules don't really believe they are putting anyone in genuine, mortal danger by doing these things. But they demand that we act like we believe we are putting people in mortal danger by gathering somewhere. It is really degrading.     
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 28, 2020, 05:50:21 PM
Richard,

I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me it comes down to this: please let the adults and responsible family members make their own decisions and stop imposing your decisions upon them. If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” I think it is as simple as that.


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. They wouldn't speed, etc. As Lutherans, we should know that humans cannot overcome sin. Our wills our bound to sin. Laws are a way God has give to help curb the evil our sin may inflict on others and self.


As much as parents may theorize that they will let their children make their own decisions, there always seems to come a point where a parent has to "lay down the law," because the child is unwilling or unable to make well-informed decisions for their own good.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 28, 2020, 05:56:29 PM
Richard,

I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me it comes down to this: please let the adults and responsible family members make their own decisions and stop imposing your decisions upon them. If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” I think it is as simple as that.


If adults always did what was best for them, we wouldn't need most laws. They wouldn't use illegal drugs. They would get drunk. They wouldn't speed, etc. As Lutherans, we should know that humans cannot overcome sin. Our wills our bound to sin. Laws are a way God has give to help curb the evil our sin may inflict on others and self.


As much as parents may theorize that they will let their children make their own decisions, there always seems to come a point where a parent has to "lay down the law," because the child is unwilling or unable to make well-informed decisions for their own good.
A) free citizens are not children. B) individuals have a better track record than dictators of doing what is best. C) Parents treat their children differently because they know the child and the specific needs. Government is incapable of that degree of nuance. By your logic, the federally mandated bedtime, list of allowable snacks, and minutes spent brushing one's teeth would not be at all objectionable. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 28, 2020, 05:57:04 PM
Any decree that inhibits individual rights for the sake of public safety should, in order to be accepted, inhibit the rights (not the responsible chosen course of action, but the right to act) of the one making the proclamation as much or more than it does the rights of those expected to obey. Nobody who flies a private jet should ever be allowed to dictate what others can do regarding carbon emissions, for example.

Several mayors and governors have apologized this year for flagrantly violating their own edicts. I've been paying attention to such apologies. Note what it is they apologize for. They apologize for a lapse in judgment, for sending the wrong message or setting a bad example. But to my knowledge they never have apologized for knowingly endangering the lives of themselves or their loved ones, much less the general public. Gavin Newsome doesn't think he risked his old friend's life by going to that dinner. He thinks he made a bad impression and a political mistake. He wouldn't have gone if he really thought it was dangerous. The Denver mayor didn't apologize for the possibility that he might be responsible for the death of his family in Mississippi when he went there for Thanksgiving after telling everyone else to stay home. It isn't at all about what they really think, it is all about what they need other people to believe so as to keep order.

Imagine a governor flying a private jet while completely drunk and nearly crashing it. Wouldn't the apology be for the danger he posed to the public? If he apologized for setting a bad example or violating some air traffic regulation, people would say he just didn't get the true magnitude of his crime. What he did flying that plane was potentially lethal, not just a mistake about a rule. But when it comes to public officials gathering together during Covid, they don't apologize for potentially lethal crimes or manifest reckless endangerment. They apologize for understandable lapses in judgment and doing things that look bad. That's because the ones making the rules don't really believe they are putting anyone in genuine, mortal danger by doing these things. But they demand that we act like we believe we are putting people in mortal danger by gathering somewhere. It is really degrading.   


Repentance is not part of our American Civil Religion (and neither is Jesus). We do not expect our political leaders to confess sins, say, "I'm sorry," seek forgiveness. They only seem to admit a mistake, "an error in judgment," when they've been caught and it's better for them to address the lapse in judgment rather than risk more embarrassment.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 28, 2020, 06:05:50 PM
Richard,

I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me it comes down to this: please let the adults and responsible family members make their own decisions and stop imposing your decisions upon them. If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” I think it is as simple as that.


If adults always did what was best for them, we wouldn't need most laws. They wouldn't use illegal drugs. They would get drunk. They wouldn't speed, etc. As Lutherans, we should know that humans cannot overcome sin. Our wills our bound to sin. Laws are a way God has give to help curb the evil our sin may inflict on others and self.


As much as parents may theorize that they will let their children make their own decisions, there always seems to come a point where a parent has to "lay down the law," because the child is unwilling or unable to make well-informed decisions for their own good.
A) free citizens are not children. B) individuals have a better track record than dictators of doing what is best. C) Parents treat their children differently because they know the child and the specific needs. Government is incapable of that degree of nuance. By your logic, the federally mandated bedtime, list of allowable snacks, and minutes spent brushing one's teeth would not be at all objectionable.


A. Some free citizens still act like immature children. Recently, I made a comment that the young adult in the household was the most adult person in the family. Another family member agreed with me. It's also not the first time I've made that observation. All free citizens are bound to sin. Laws and punishments can curb evil behaviors that they may want to do.


B. Experts have a better track record of doing what's best than uninformed people. The airline pilot doesn't take a vote of the passengers about what to do when a problem develops.


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?


There has been a type of federally mandatory bedtime, when everyone had to have their lights turned off during the war. Or, in some olden days, when the city generator was turned off and there was no electricity. When the city we lived in passed an ordinance to pave the streets and put in sidewalks, we were mandated to pay for it. Our choice was to pay, or move out in the country where we could choose to put in a paved road and sidewalks (and have to pay for the whole thing ourselves).
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 28, 2020, 06:10:30 PM
If adults always did what was best for them, we wouldn't need most laws. They wouldn't use illegal drugs. They would get drunk...

I used to have friends who felt that way.   ;)
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2020, 06:45:57 PM
Peter writes:
That's because the ones making the rules don't really believe they are putting anyone in genuine, mortal danger by doing these things. But they demand that we act like we believe we are putting people in mortal danger by gathering somewhere. It is really degrading.
I comment:
Because you read something into their minds doesn’t make it so, Peter. And we are indeed “putting people in mortal danger” by gathering in certain ways. Whether “they,” that is, the politicians actually believe it or not when they pass the laws doesn’t matter. Whether "they" are consistent in acting on it doesn't matter. You got problems with how they act? Vote them out when you get the chance.

Peter writes:
individuals have a better track record than dictators of doing what is best.
I comment:
Leave dictators out of it. We don’t have a dictator in our country, yet. And individuals certainly do not have a good record of doing what is best.
Furthermore and most importantly, under discussion today are temporary, emergency actions intended to slow or stop the spread of the virus. Certain business were ordered to shut down, probably a violation of something “constitutional.” We are ordered to do certain things, like limit crowds in churches, temporarily for reasons of public good. I am as wary of the government as most (I'm an aging 60s radical, remember?), but I do not see this as a permanent situation or as an “attack” on the freedom of religion.
Matter of fact, I see the resistance to wearing masks, the resistance to shutdowns in some states, the mockery of the threat, the appeals to “freedom” in opposing restrictions, the idea that “we should make our own decisions” on these things as highly unpatriotic and – in most cases – incredibly selfish and evidence that we are more concerned about “our” freedoms than the health of our neighbor. The matter is also clouded by the atrocious, abominable effort of our top leadership to put a “political” label on the restrictions and to – as He Who Is in the Oval Office said many times – place “the economy” over the health of our people.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin 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. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” 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.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: JEdwards 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
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Weedon on November 28, 2020, 07:33:11 PM
Pastor Austin, those same “others” 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.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: pearson 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
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Julio 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 can’t 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.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard 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. It’s just everyone else’s that can be compromised, what with the health emergency and all.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Richard Johnson 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. It’s just everyone else’s 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."
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 28, 2020, 09:25:32 PM
Pastor a Weedon writes:
Pastor Austin, those same “others” 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:
I’m 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.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Weedon 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 it’s a worse potential source of infection than places folks still go???
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley 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. It’s just everyone else’s 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.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin 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. It’s true. And please stop the behind the scenes trolling.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen 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.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Weedon 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.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht 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.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 29, 2020, 08:00:43 AM
Look it up. It’s true.
I doubt the people who disagree are looking it up in the same places.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Julio on November 29, 2020, 08:26:45 AM
I comment:
I’m 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.
The misunderstanding now comes to light  ... the congregation I am currently attending is not an infected church ... there have been absolutely none, zero, zip, nada Coronavirus cases attributed to a Divine Service in our Sanctuary.  I believe one of the elders is a dentist ... and as such he insures that the sanctuary is a virus free as your dentist office.

Yes, the pastor contracted the virus and was sidelined for almost two months ... with neurological complications from the virus ... yet in the Thanksgiving Sermon he thanked God for the virus! He attributes the virus to his local gym/fitness center and no one at church ... not even his wife and children became infected in spite of the fact that he became symptomatic less that 24 hours following an couple of mini communion services. Thanks be to God!

Those of us attending Divine Services certainly support the peaceful freedom of speech at street protests!  Those we are concerned about are those who would condemn us for worshipping our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ while at the same time supporting freedom of speech at street protests while failing to condemn the sinful violence, destruction and looting that many of our cities have experienced.

Most are in far closer contact With utter strangers at the supermarket than attending a Divine Service.  There has yet to be a confirmed case of china virus as the result of attending St John’s Gaspump Lutheran church where I attend.

For those more at risk, I support your decision to take precautions worthy of your standing in life ... please respect the rest of us as we do the same!
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2020, 09:21:21 AM
“ I believe one of the elders is a dentist ... and as such he insures that the sanctuary is a virus free as your dentist office.”
I muse:
So absolutely everyone is masked? Like the receptionist in my dentist office, with a an operating-room quality mask? Then, everyone who comes within any distance of you is wearing surgical garb, a mask, face shield and surgical gloves? Everything you touch, door knobs, pews, hymnals, bulletins, communion glasses, is sanitized just before you may need to touch it? And every person in the office, who comes into the waiting room, even to deliver a package, has their temperature checked and is expected to wear a mask and gloves if they are touching anything?
Maybe this congregation has taken some precautions. But it is in no way as virus free as my dentist office where I was this past week.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: RevG on November 29, 2020, 10:25:15 AM
The important thing to me with this decision isn’t religious freedom so much as it forces a consistent application of the 1st Amendment.  There’s the freedom of religion clause and there’s also the right to peacefully assemble clause.  The latter has been inconsistently applied by governors like Cuomo.  That is a very dangerous precedent.  You can’t ban a religious group from a park while also giving your blessing to the George Floyd protests.  This is what DeBlasio did here in New York.  You can cite many instances of this inconsistent policy from political leaders in the last year.  That is a dangerous road to trod.  What I hope this ruling does is make our leaders more thoughtful or cautious about the decisions that they make.  I don’t think this has much to do with persecution of any sort as it has to do with ignorance.  I just don’t think many political leaders, their advisors, think about religion and worship in the way that we do simply because it’s not part of their way of life; it’s not in their framework.  This disconnect is revealed by these decisions and also reveals what they value and believe in.

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2020, 10:57:18 AM
Rev. Gemin writes:
I just don’t think many political leaders, their advisors, think about religion and worship in the way that we do simply because it’s not part of their way of life; it’s not in their framework.
I comment:
Why do you say this and how do you know it? Biden goes to church almost every week. There has been much news over the years about prayer groups (even some "secret" and cabalistic ones) and church attendance in Washington. I'd need some real data to say that politically leadership on a wholesale basis, is not involved in church or religious faith. 
The much bigger danger, in my not so humble opinion, is that political leaders who are not religious in any way will pretend to be on special occasions or to satisfy what they see as a segment of their support. Then they will refer to the Bible (usually incorrectly) or make a show of attending church or slather some praise on a cadre of religious leaders not because of their faith or for serious support of those religious leaders but because of their need for votes. Now you might ask: Who would do a thing like that? There are answers to that question.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 29, 2020, 12:04:29 PM
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.   ;)

You simply don't realize how intellectually dishonest you are when you quote one's post but make changes first, rendering it not a quote. Bottom line, you're lying.

I realize that what I quoted was a typo, and I was having some fun. Hence the wink. That's no reason for you to lie about it, Brian.   ::)
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: James S. Rustad on November 29, 2020, 12:23:19 PM
Look it up. It’s true.

Your challenge would be much easier to take up if you provided a link to the information you want us to consider.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: John_Hannah on November 29, 2020, 01:20:42 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

Authentic! He is an authentic pastor indeed. Just think. What if he had been the pope when Luther came along?   ;D

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2020, 01:40:35 PM
Great words from Pope Francis!
One of my favorite sentences:
"Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate."
And this one:
"The pandemic has exposed the paradox that while we are more connected, we are also more divided. Feverish consumerism breaks the bonds of belonging. It causes us to focus on our self-preservation and makes us anxious. Our fears are exacerbated and exploited by a certain kind of populist politics that seeks power over society."
And this one:
"Look at us now: We put on face masks to protect ourselves and others from a virus we can’t see. But what about all those other unseen viruses we need to protect ourselves from? How will we deal with the hidden pandemics of this world, the pandemics of hunger and violence and climate change?"
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 29, 2020, 01:47:05 PM
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.   ;)

You simply don't realize how intellectually dishonest you are when you quote one's post but make changes first, rendering it not a quote. Bottom line, you're lying.

I realize that what I quoted was a typo, and I was having some fun. Hence the wink. That's no reason for you to lie about it, Brian.   ::)


Since I changed the text in the original quote, I felt I should also do it in the quoted text.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: RevG on November 29, 2020, 02:24:28 PM
Rev. Gemin writes:
I just don’t think many political leaders, their advisors, think about religion and worship in the way that we do simply because it’s not part of their way of life; it’s not in their framework.
I comment:
Why do you say this and how do you know it? Biden goes to church almost every week. There has been much news over the years about prayer groups (even some "secret" and cabalistic ones) and church attendance in Washington. I'd need some real data to say that politically leadership on a wholesale basis, is not involved in church or religious faith. 
The much bigger danger, in my not so humble opinion, is that political leaders who are not religious in any way will pretend to be on special occasions or to satisfy what they see as a segment of their support. Then they will refer to the Bible (usually incorrectly) or make a show of attending church or slather some praise on a cadre of religious leaders not because of their faith or for serious support of those religious leaders but because of their need for votes. Now you might ask: Who would do a thing like that? There are answers to that question.

I say this because in large part we pastors are a subset of subset of practicing Christians in America. I think we are more inclined to read such mandates and their inconsistencies as an attack on our faith because it matters so much to us.  For politicians I’m inclined to think that what takes up so much of our life is but one among many competing interests. For example, Andrew Cuomo would probably say he values his faith, but after getting divorced he lived with a woman out of wedlock for many years.  Joe Biden, who you note is reported to go to mass every week, is pro-choice and has recently been revealed to be deeply corrupt among many things. Other examples abound, the general and deep corruption of Washington seems to reveal as much as well.

But, hey, I may be wrong and life goes on, my friend.

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: JEdwards on November 29, 2020, 02:26:06 PM
Richard,

I may be wrong in this, but it seems to me it comes down to this: please let the adults and responsible family members make their own decisions and stop imposing your decisions upon them. If they believe it is important to be willing to risk this for that, let them risk it. Don’t tell them: “No, it is not.” I think it is as simple as that.
In general, this is a sound way to make decisions for a free society.  It gets a little murkier with infectious disease, though, where my decisions have the potential to impose risk on total strangers.  To take a non-COVID example, consider measles vaccination.  The measles vaccine is safe and highly effective, but it is not perfect.  Every few years, there is a measles outbreak somewhere in the US.  Invariably, the outbreak can be traced to one or more unvaccinated individuals, but occasionally, some fully-vaccinated children get sick as well, because the virus is highly transmissible, and the vaccine is not 100% effective.  If I had chosen not to vaccinate my kids against measles, most of the risk would have fallen on my own children, but I would also have needlessly imposed some risk on others in our community. 

Peace,
Jon
So the question becomes whether it is better to live with the occasional outbreak of measles in a free society or live 100% measles-free in a society where the government can inject things into your children against your will. Don't get me wrong, all my children are vaccinated. I simply think we too often solve problems at the expense of the big picture and then wonder why the big picture is so messed up. I believe it is in some writing regarding Screwtape Letters (but I could be wrong) where C.S. Lewis points to the fact as extremely tyrannical if not Satanic that some law in England forbade a man from cutting down his own tree on his own property. Lewis would be all in favor of leaving the tree there; that wasn't the point. The point is that when the collective imposes its will on the individual, every individual in the collective loses something without even knowing it. The defenders of liberty in principle will always appear to be the uncaring ones who can't see the obvious benefit of this or that (usually emergency) solution to this or that problem.

If the state took two or three billion dollars of Elon Musk's money and gave it to poverty-stricken people, it would seem like far more people would be better off. Musk would barely even notice. But suddenly 300+million people would be living in a country that didn't recognize private property or equal protection under the law. The people arguing against such a redistribution would not be opposed to poverty relief or pro-billionaire. They would be protecting an important principle that benefits all people.     

There can be problematic cases, especially as it relates to addiction, in which the strong can prey upon the freedom of the weak in such a way that it becomes problematic to figure out what should be legal. And contagion/public safety certainly presents conflicting principles. I simply think special circumstances require us to err on the side of principle rather than practical solutions because we are somewhat "bribed" in our deliberations by the promise of a solution to a pressing problem.
If you’ll accept a friendly amendment, it would not be “the government” injecting anyone; it would be the government mandating vaccination with a product likely produced by the private sector, administered by the provider of your choice. But I agree that you have identified the trade-off, which is yet another variant of the age-old tension between liberty and security. My point is just that in questions related to infectious disease, personal risk tolerance is not the only relevant value, since my decisions may impose risk on others. Deciding that giving the government power to mandate vaccinations is a worse evil than occasional measles outbreaks is a defensible position, but it’s a different argument than saying that my kids are the only ones affected by my decision.

I share your disgust with leaders who ignore the restrictions they mandate for others. But, as you frequently pointed out in discussing President Trump, the merits of a policy don’t depend on the sincerity, motivation, or personal rectitude of the policy’s proponents. The merits of public health restrictions should be assessed with the best data available. Whether Andrew Cuomo or Gavin Newsom is a hypocrite or an opportunist is irrelevant.

Peace,
Jon
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: John_Hannah on November 29, 2020, 02:37:18 PM
It is at least nearly unanimous among public heath professionals that masks, distancing, and vaccinations protect us all. Very few medical doctors dispute that. I don't know why anyone would want to resist that based upon libertarian ideals and fear of government intrusion. It seems that the same argument is made by those who are pro-choice on abortion. It is not good and not prudent.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 29, 2020, 03:04:29 PM
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.   ;)

You simply don't realize how intellectually dishonest you are when you quote one's post but make changes first, rendering it not a quote. Bottom line, you're lying.

I realize that what I quoted was a typo, and I was having some fun. Hence the wink. That's no reason for you to lie about it, Brian.   ::)

Since I changed the text in the original quote, I felt I should also do it in the quoted text.

No, if you're going to quote someone you don't change the content of what you're quoting. That renders it a lie. Furthermore, it changes the meaning of what you're quoting.

But you know all that.  You do it a lot but usually not by blatantly changing a quote.  >:(
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: James S. Rustad on November 29, 2020, 03:20:31 PM
Look it up. It’s true.

Your challenge would be much easier to take up if you provided a link to the information you want us to consider.

Please provide a link where I can "Look it up."  I'd really like to see the evidence for your beliefs.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2020, 05:50:55 PM
https://abcnews.go.com/US/minnesota-sees-rise-covid-19-cases-tied-protests/story?id=71393938

That story reports on testing in protest sites. It has this paragraph:
The results are "very encouraging," the health official told ABC News. The official attributed the low infection rate to "the fact that many or most protesters were wearing masks, the events were outside, people were often able to maintain a 6-foot distance, and any exposures were of relatively shorter duration, not several hours to the same people in the same place."

Conclusion: The protests were not necessarily spreader events. They were different in style from certain political rallies, which kept people close together in one place for a long time, usually unprotected.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: James S. Rustad on November 29, 2020, 06:37:52 PM
https://abcnews.go.com/US/minnesota-sees-rise-covid-19-cases-tied-protests/story?id=71393938

That story reports on testing in protest sites. It has this paragraph:
The results are "very encouraging," the health official told ABC News. The official attributed the low infection rate to "the fact that many or most protesters were wearing masks, the events were outside, people were often able to maintain a 6-foot distance, and any exposures were of relatively shorter duration, not several hours to the same people in the same place."

Conclusion: The protests were not necessarily spreader events. They were different in style from certain political rallies, which kept people close together in one place for a long time, usually unprotected.

Thanks for the link about the Minnesota protests.  I guess those are another example of "Minnesota nice" given that protests in other states haven't followed the same precautions.

How about a link to evidence that properly run church services (with social distancing, masks, etc.) "are usually a worse risk than other places people go."  Note that articles about services not following the CDC recommendations don't count - those will have different results just like protests not following those recommendations have different results from the Minnesota protests.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: FrPeters on November 29, 2020, 07:28:11 PM
Quote
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.

Isn't this exactly the kind of false presumption which looks at the Church differently than other venues?  The church is a closed space in only one sense -- it has a roof and walls.  It is not closed in that the volume and square footage of an average church building is greater than an average school classroom or cafeteria, doctor's office, non-big box retailer, and restaurant.  Imperfect spacing happens everywhere but in every congregation I know the effort is made to over comply.  Singing and breathing close together happen within the individual family and generally not across people who are not of the same household and besides the science on this is mixed.  Inadequate ventilation is hardly a problem in buildings built with government mandated introduction of fresh air to HVAC systems and the heating season means the units are running (just as they were to cool the large cavernous spaces of a typical church earlier this year). 

For some reason, sometimes even from those within the Church, there is a presumption that Wal-Mart knows how to keep us safer than the Church.  Why does that false assumption still persist????

In my congregation no one has gotten COVID from worship or any other activity but we have had kids who got it from a teacher in school or retail workers who got it from co-workers or shoppers or health care workers who got it from patients or people who got it from idiotic relatives who were careless and foolish and reckless.  I am only going by the contact tracing relayed back to us.  In fact, a couple of weeks ago we had a couple who tested positive Sunday night after being in Church on Sunday morning but had no symptoms -- yet no one they were around on Sunday was infected BECAUSE of the distancing of the seating (and masks) and the adequate ventilation, among other things.  Not one person had symptoms or tested positive because of them.. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2020, 08:46:11 PM
Pastor Peters writes:
For some reason, sometimes even from those within the Church, there is a presumption that Wal-Mart knows how to keep us safer than the Church.  Why does that false assumption still persist?

I comment:
Maybe because Wal-Mart, with hundreds of stores, millions of workers and customers and vulnerable to beaucoup lawsuits if they screw it up, have spent a good bit of money making sure that their workers and customers are safe.
Meanwhile, our little (or big) churches haven't had to worry about anything safety-wise except fire codes(which we do reluctantly because those red "Exit" signs clutter the piety of the sanctuary), and are known for violating safe food-handling rules at pot-lucks, Easter Breakfasts and fund-raising spaghetti suppers.
Safe in a place? I'll take Wal-Mart over a church any day.
P.S. My family ran a restaurant and my father wouldn't help with meals at church because he contended the kitchen and serving area could not be made safe and the church ladies serving were careless in handling food. And this was decades ago.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: FrPeters on November 29, 2020, 10:51:05 PM
Anecdotal evidence from generations ago about pot lucks has little in common with the rigorous work churches do so that they may remain open.  Unless the people in Minnesota are reckless and careless, I would presume more of a typical Lutheran congregation than apparently you do.  For what its worth, both of my sons work for the Wal-Mart corp in management and they both admit that Wal-Mart, despite its millions, cannot enforce social distancing, one way traffic down aisles or even mask wearing.  That pretty much mirrors what I see when, once in a blue moon, I visit any big chain store.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 29, 2020, 10:59:36 PM
How on earth is a pot luck any less sanitary than cooking for one’s own family at home? There is some sort of bizarre phobia about contagion involved with the idea that we need to so obsessive about having an antiseptic environment.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on November 29, 2020, 11:18:14 PM
There is some sort of bizarre phobia about contagion involved with the idea that we need to so obsessive about having an antiseptic environment.

My former congregation became obsessed with the notion that they could "keep everyone safe" as Pennsylvania reopened.

The Lord's Supper was the first casualty.  There was no way to administer it "at this time" and "keep everyone safe".

After nearly nine months of Sacramental starvation in late December there will at last be a service at which folks "who choose to do so" may take one of those prefilled coffee-creamer style "Remembrance" thingys with their bulletin and then partake at the proper time at the direction of the supply pastor.

Strangely, I can't conceive of a manger in a stable being an antiseptic environment.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 29, 2020, 11:19:30 PM
I guess I’m not trying to convince anybody of anything here, because that would be impossible.
Believe what you choose to believe. Take what precautions you think are necessary. Take no precautions if you don’t think any are necessary.
Because the most important thing in all of life at this time is having our churches “open,” not public health, not risking the health of our neighbors, not even the potential death of our neighbors, but the most important thing is having our churches “open.“
Because to accept enforced restrictions would mean completely forever and ever giving up “religious freedom.“
Because it would be impossible to practice our faith without having our churches wide open.
Because how could our people possibly maintain their faith if we clergy were not standing in front of them in person every Sunday telling them what to do.
Because our churches do not seem to be super-spreaders; we’re only mini-spreaders, possibly only affecting two, maybe three people; not a big deal.
We cannot let the Godless institutions of our secular society tell us what to do. That’s what our faith requires and our freedom is all about, right?
I am now in favor of everyone doing whatever they want to do.

P.S to Peter:
It’s not about contagion; it’s about food safety, not contaminating food by improper handling or unclean facilities and causing foodborne illness. Providing food for 20, 30, 50, or 100 people is quite different from cooking for your own family.
I repeat what I just said. I am now in favor of everyone doing whatever they want to do.

P.S. to J.Thomas Shelley
There are safe ways to distribute holy communion. We are not happy with some of them, and we don’t want to take the trouble to do some of them.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: James S. Rustad on November 30, 2020, 08:05:00 AM
I guess I’m not trying to convince anybody of anything here, because that would be impossible.
Believe what you choose to believe. Take what precautions you think are necessary. Take no precautions if you don’t think any are necessary.
Because the most important thing in all of life at this time is having our churches “open,” not public health, not risking the health of our neighbors, not even the potential death of our neighbors, but the most important thing is having our churches “open.“
Because to accept enforced restrictions would mean completely forever and ever giving up “religious freedom.“
Because it would be impossible to practice our faith without having our churches wide open.
Because how could our people possibly maintain their faith if we clergy were not standing in front of them in person every Sunday telling them what to do.
Because our churches do not seem to be super-spreaders; we’re only mini-spreaders, possibly only affecting two, maybe three people; not a big deal.
We cannot let the Godless institutions of our secular society tell us what to do. That’s what our faith requires and our freedom is all about, right?
I am now in favor of everyone doing whatever they want to do.

P.S to Peter:
It’s not about contagion; it’s about food safety, not contaminating food by improper handling or unclean facilities and causing foodborne illness. Providing food for 20, 30, 50, or 100 people is quite different from cooking for your own family.
I repeat what I just said. I am now in favor of everyone doing whatever they want to do.

P.S. to J.Thomas Shelley
There are safe ways to distribute holy communion. We are not happy with some of them, and we don’t want to take the trouble to do some of them.

I don't recall anyone here advocating for "having our churches wide open".  Please point me to such posts as I would agree that they advocate foolish behavior.

I do recall people advocating for having our churches open while taking appropriate precautions.  It would seem that if businesses like movie theaters are allowed to be open (as they are in Wisconsin and at least some other states) that it would be as safe to open a church.  If you have evidence to the contrary, please point it out.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: David Garner on November 30, 2020, 09:37:30 AM
I find it beyond fascinating that the Supreme Court saying churches must be treated equally has somehow been received by some folks as "churches don't have to take any precautions or take the virus seriously."

The only effect of the Supreme Court's decision is that churches are now required to take the virus only as seriously as other similar establishments.  No more, no less.  Yet it seems too many believe that the effect of treating churches equally is to grant them special treatment, instead of what is real, which is they are not allowed to be arbitrarily treated as if they are higher risks than other similar gatherings.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 30, 2020, 09:59:50 AM
I find it beyond fascinating that the Supreme Court saying churches must be treated equally has somehow been received by some folks as "churches don't have to take any precautions or take the virus seriously."

The only effect of the Supreme Court's decision is that churches are now required to take the virus only as seriously as other similar establishments.  No more, no less.  Yet it seems too many believe that the effect of treating churches equally is to grant them special treatment, instead of what is real, which is they are not allowed to be arbitrarily treated as if they are higher risks than other similar gatherings.
It makes much more sense to issue guidelines, but if they have to be rules related to contagion they should be unrelated to the purpose of the gathering. That is, the government should recognize its own incompetence to determine people's values. If you the rule that people come no closer to each other than six feet for more than a minute, then they can do whatever they want as long as they only come closer than six feet for less than a minute. That is the sort of rule that could apply to everyone. But when they differentiate according to your purpose for getting together, playing favorites, so to speak, they invite trouble needlessly.   
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: James S. Rustad on November 30, 2020, 10:04:25 AM
And here is an example of an order closing schools being reinstated by a circuit court because church schools were treated equally with public and other private schools:

Quote from: https://reason.com/volokh/2020/11/29/sixth-circuit-reinstates-governors-closure-of-kentucky-schools/
Sixth Circuit Reinstates Governor's Closure of Kentucky Schools
A district court had held the closure likely violated the Free Exercise Clause; no, says, the Sixth Circuit.

Treat religious organizations equally with non-religious organizations and restrictions are OK.  Treat them differently (as in NY) and restrictions are not OK.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 30, 2020, 10:18:06 AM
And here is an example of an order closing schools being reinstated by a circuit court because church schools were treated equally with public and other private schools:

Quote from: https://reason.com/volokh/2020/11/29/sixth-circuit-reinstates-governors-closure-of-kentucky-schools/
Sixth Circuit Reinstates Governor's Closure of Kentucky Schools
A district court had held the closure likely violated the Free Exercise Clause; no, says, the Sixth Circuit.

Treat religious organizations equally with non-religious organizations and restrictions are OK.  Treat them differently (as in NY) and restrictions are not OK.
But again, what if the school could so arrange the desks in the gymnasium or cafeteria that classes could continue? Why not issue the restrictions, equally and to all, and let people figure out how to abide by them and whether that means closing, rearranging, changing hours, or whatever? Then there is no chance of bias. But the minute the law says you can do x if this is your reason for doing it, but not if that is your reason for doing it, you're opening up a huge can of worms.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 30, 2020, 10:44:59 AM
And here is an example of an order closing schools being reinstated by a circuit court because church schools were treated equally with public and other private schools:

Quote from: https://reason.com/volokh/2020/11/29/sixth-circuit-reinstates-governors-closure-of-kentucky-schools/
Sixth Circuit Reinstates Governor's Closure of Kentucky Schools
A district court had held the closure likely violated the Free Exercise Clause; no, says, the Sixth Circuit.

Treat religious organizations equally with non-religious organizations and restrictions are OK.  Treat them differently (as in NY) and restrictions are not OK.
But again, what if the school could so arrange the desks in the gymnasium or cafeteria that classes could continue? Why not issue the restrictions, equally and to all, and let people figure out how to abide by them and whether that means closing, rearranging, changing hours, or whatever? Then there is no chance of bias. But the minute the law says you can do x if this is your reason for doing it, but not if that is your reason for doing it, you're opening up a huge can of worms.

And as was noted previously, the labeling of some businesses and services as "essential" as opposed to others, was unfortunate.  A church is not "essential" to a sizeable portion of the population.  It certainly isn't seen as "essential" to the government.  But the idea of essential has changed as people adapt to new ways of shopping and securing certain services.  Is Walmart essential?  Not to some to have everything shipped directly to their house. 

I like Peter's idea of setting standards and requiring everyone to find a way to adapt.  That is precisely what most churches have done that are allowed to be open.  For months now since the state lifted the stay-at-home order in WI, we have taken all proper and necessary precautions as per CDC guidelines.  Holy Communion has been served to those who attend for nearly half a year now. A nurse well-versed in these guidelines helped me develop the protocols.  I take the extra precaution of wearing a KN-95 mask.  The government does not require me to do so.  People are distanced just as well as any line I've stood in at the local department stores or grocery stores.  And those silly pexiglass shields don't offer any real protection anyway.  In most cases they erect a small barrier that is so narrow it still leaves the clerk open when exchanging money and handing back the receipt.

Protection on the 'outside world' is always spotty and full of some risk.  One man came to church yesterday after being gone since mid-March. Prior to the pandemic he had been hospitalized with a serious lung infection and knew he shouldn't venture too far from home.  But there he was in line to receive the blessed Sacrament, masked and socially distanced.  I expressed surprise in seeing him, knowing his situation, and he said, in so many words, that this is going to go on forever.  He just needed to come back. 

As I have ministered directly to people in the midst of this pandemic I have seen the need for people to have real time contact with the means of grace.  As we enter into this sacred season of Advent the best theological word I can use, at this point, is incarnational.  God took on human flesh and dwelt among us.  He was immersed in the real time messiness of this world.  He lived with daily risk.  I believe that some Christians understand this incarnational concept as they wrestle with worship.  Those who came to me early on for private communion certainly did.  They didn't care that it was on a cardboard table only a few feet into the building.  They partook of the body and blood of Christ.  Even a man I recently buried ventured out for this sacrament.  He was in his upper 80s with COPD.  But as I gave him the elements he looked at me and said "Thank you."  I think this crisis has caused us to really go back and see the value of this incarnational reality of our faith. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: David Garner on November 30, 2020, 12:41:26 PM
The key as I see it, Pastor Engebretson, is that "essential" versus "non-essential" does not undo the First Amendment and the Free Exercise Clause.  That is, whether some folks find religion to be "non-essential" is not an argument in favor of discriminating against religious groups by classifying them as "non-essential."  This is the same fundamental argument made in the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, where Justice Kennedy said "just as 'no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion,' it is not, as the Court has repeatedly held, the role of the State or its officials to prescribe what shall be offensive."  Change "offensive" to "essential" as regards religion (or politics, or nationalism, or other matters of opinion) and the same result is mandated.  Which is why it is so very disheartening to see Justice Roberts side with those who would claim the ability to make such judgments on behalf of all simply because we are in a health emergency.

I also agree with you and Pastor Speckhard that adults must be allowed to make decisions for themselves at some level, and for their own children.  The government can encourage, and in some cases mandate, risk-avoidance.  But at some level, the risk is mine to take.  Where to draw that line is important, because (for example) I can impose my high risk tolerance on elderly parents who rely upon me to care for them, etc.  So I'm not arguing in favor of no lines being drawn.  But I would join you both in arguing against a nanny state approach, especially when it comes to matters under Constitutional protection (such as the exercise of religion).  Government does not exist to constrain the populace.  It does, to some extent, exist to protect us, but that includes protecting all our interests, not just those interests government deems valuable.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 30, 2020, 01:48:27 PM
The key as I see it, Pastor Engebretson, is that "essential" versus "non-essential" does not undo the First Amendment and the Free Exercise Clause.  That is, whether some folks find religion to be "non-essential" is not an argument in favor of discriminating against religious groups by classifying them as "non-essential."  This is the same fundamental argument made in the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, where Justice Kennedy said "just as 'no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion,' it is not, as the Court has repeatedly held, the role of the State or its officials to prescribe what shall be offensive."  Change "offensive" to "essential" as regards religion (or politics, or nationalism, or other matters of opinion) and the same result is mandated.  Which is why it is so very disheartening to see Justice Roberts side with those who would claim the ability to make such judgments on behalf of all simply because we are in a health emergency.

I also agree with you and Pastor Speckhard that adults must be allowed to make decisions for themselves at some level, and for their own children.  The government can encourage, and in some cases mandate, risk-avoidance.  But at some level, the risk is mine to take.  Where to draw that line is important, because (for example) I can impose my high risk tolerance on elderly parents who rely upon me to care for them, etc.  So I'm not arguing in favor of no lines being drawn.  But I would join you both in arguing against a nanny state approach, especially when it comes to matters under Constitutional protection (such as the exercise of religion).  Government does not exist to constrain the populace.  It does, to some extent, exist to protect us, but that includes protecting all our interests, not just those interests government deems valuable.

Well said. Thank you.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: RevG on November 30, 2020, 02:53:17 PM
https://abcnews.go.com/US/minnesota-sees-rise-covid-19-cases-tied-protests/story?id=71393938

That story reports on testing in protest sites. It has this paragraph:
The results are "very encouraging," the health official told ABC News. The official attributed the low infection rate to "the fact that many or most protesters were wearing masks, the events were outside, people were often able to maintain a 6-foot distance, and any exposures were of relatively shorter duration, not several hours to the same people in the same place."

Conclusion: The protests were not necessarily spreader events. They were different in style from certain political rallies, which kept people close together in one place for a long time, usually unprotected.

Charles,

The problem with this reference/finding is that this came well after various political leaders gave their blessings to the protests throughout May and June.  This revealed an ideological bias on their part which is deeply problematic concerning the application of the 1st Amendment. What we witnessed was that according to them certain beliefs, certain ideological concerns, matter more than others. To later come back and say “Well, they weren’t necessarily spreader events” is deeply problematic.  What’s more, I have read other findings that said there was a spike in July due to the protests.  These simply weren’t reported on in the legacy media.  So who do we believe?

Peace,
Scott+
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 30, 2020, 03:20:59 PM
https://abcnews.go.com/US/minnesota-sees-rise-covid-19-cases-tied-protests/story?id=71393938

That story reports on testing in protest sites. It has this paragraph:
The results are "very encouraging," the health official told ABC News. The official attributed the low infection rate to "the fact that many or most protesters were wearing masks, the events were outside, people were often able to maintain a 6-foot distance, and any exposures were of relatively shorter duration, not several hours to the same people in the same place."

Conclusion: The protests were not necessarily spreader events. They were different in style from certain political rallies, which kept people close together in one place for a long time, usually unprotected.

Charles,

The problem with this reference/finding is that this came well after various political leaders gave their blessings to the protests throughout May and June.  This revealed an ideological bias on their part which is deeply problematic concerning the application of the 1st Amendment. What we witnessed was that according to them certain beliefs, certain ideological concerns, matter more than others. To later come back and say “Well, they weren’t necessarily spreader events” is deeply problematic.  What’s more, I have read other findings that said there was a spike in July due to the protests.  These simply weren’t reported on in the legacy media.  So who do we believe?

Peace,
Scott+
That, and some of the medical experts whose opinions we were all supposed to accept as Gospel openly admitted that the protests presented Covid-related problems but justified them on the grounds that systemic racism was also a public health crisis. Sort of tipped their hand that certain socio-political views were too important to be impeded by pandemic considerations. But only certain views.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 30, 2020, 03:42:09 PM

To insist that one's rights be respected is not the same as requesting special privileges. To insist that our religious rights of free exercise of religion be respected isn't asking for special status, but that our rights as recognized in the First Amendment of the Constitution be respected the same as other rights granted to every citizen.


As others have pointed out, the question is not whether any restrictions can be placed on churches due to the current public health emergency that is Covid-19 but whether churches can be subject to stricter regulations than other similar assemblies. To insist that churches not be more restricted than comparable institutions is not a request for special privileges or for no restrictions.


In the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution one of the purposes for adopting the Constitution was to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." Our liberties, as enumerated in the Constitution, Amendments, and laws are not simply granted at the whim of the the government and subject to removal at whim by the stroke of a Presidential pen or Congressional action. The government exists for the benefit of the people, not the people for the benefit or convenience of the government. One of the principles behind our governmental structure is the protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Just because those who are making regulations don't find religious services personally important or may find some elements actually personally offensive, does not mean that rights to continue those services are unimportant and can be casually set aside.


So, what should happen when the regulatory state brushes up against free exercise of religion? Neither side should automatically prevail. One way to look at it is that what we have is the rights of the religious and the rights of everyone who seeks to avoid what the proposed regulations intend to prevent are in conflict. That conflict needs to be adjudicated.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 30, 2020, 03:42:51 PM
One of the fundamental questions that needs to be settled when adjudicating religious rights (or any specific rights) and the rights of others when they conflict is “What happens when a law or regulation of general applicability burdens the rights of some people?” American Law and American Courts have a mixed history in this.

One answer to this question was given in the Supreme Court decision in Employment Division v. Smith (1990). The case involved two American Indiana members of the Native American Church who were fired for having used peyote in their religious rituals and were subsequently denied unemployment compensation since their firing was because they broke a law. This was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court. The decision read in part, “It is a permissible reading of the [free exercise clause]...to say that if prohibiting the exercise of religion is not the object of the [law] but merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, the First Amendment has not been offended.”

As a direct result of this and several similar rulings, in 1993, Congress enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) by a near unanimous vote. The Act noted that even when a law or regulation does not intentionally or specifically burden a person’s free exercise of religion, it may have the effect of doing so and in that case the law or regulation would be subject to strict scrutiny under the Sherbert Test for that burdening. The government would need to demonstrate that the law or regulation was pursuant to a compelling governmental interest and be the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.

The Sherbert test was established in a previous Supreme Court decision Sherbert v. Verner, 1963. this was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment required the government to demonstrate both a compelling interest and that the law in question was narrowly tailored before it denied unemployment compensation to someone who was fired because her job requirements substantially conflicted with her religion.

This conflict seems likely to be revisited before the Supreme Court this year in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In this case the rules for foster agencies promulgated by the City of Philadelphia which had the effect of baring Catholic Social Services from contracting with the city to provide foster services because they refused to service same sex couples. Several court watchers have noted that it is at least possible if not likely that in its deliberations the Employment Division v. Smith decision will likely be revisited.

This all affects the decision of how and whether Covid-19 restrictions may be applied to church functions like in person worship services.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 30, 2020, 03:43:27 PM
With the background of Employment Division v. Smith and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, how could we judge whether Covid-19 restriction on in person worship should be allowed?

The first question that should be asked is whether these regulations are regulations of general applicability or specifically directed at worship. Crucial to that is whether churches are being treated in way that is comparable to that of other similar situations? If churches are being singled out for more restrictive regulation, then that becomes a different and more obvious question of violation of the First Amendment. The same could be said of any other group or situation (for example protests and demonstrations, concerts or movies, or any other situation where groups of people would naturally gather) singled out for more restrictive regulation. If they have a right to do what is being restricted, that burdening of rights should be questioned.

If the regulations truly are of general applicability, that does not necessarily settle the issue either way. Under the doctrine of Employment Division v. Smith if it is of general applicability it is permissible. Under the doctrine of the earlier decision of Sherbert v. Verner and the RFRA such restrictions need to undergo further scrutiny. According to the Sherbert test, those restrictions must also show that they are in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and are the least restrictive way to achieve that interest.

Now in the case of Covid-19 restrictions, government certainly has a compelling interest to curb the spread of a potentially deadly pandemic disease. That leaves the practical question of whether or not the proposed restrictions are the least burdensome that will meet the need. Some of that would again be apparent when restrictions placed on churches are compared to restrictions on other activities, situations, and venues.

Even under the Sherbert Test, restrictions on whether or how worship services may be conducted may be permissible and not a violation of the First Amendment. It needs a degree of reasonableness from all parties to figure this out.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 30, 2020, 04:20:10 PM
Burdensome to whom? It is an interesting angle. When restaurants, bars, movie palaces, theaters, sports arenas, and shopping malls shut down, it is most burdensome to the economy and to the tens of thousands of people who work in those places. Those who make regulations and decisions have to have this in mind as they decide what should be done.
On the other hand, if churches must restrict the numbers of people attending their services for a period of time, who is burdened?
The guy defended by so many people here keeps stressing “ the economy, the economy, the economy” and says “we got to get things opened up.” And in his mind and the mind of the people around him doing his bidding, churches don’t do a darn thing for the economy.
I wonder how the fact that he has played golf on 20% of the days he has been in office helped the economy.
Forbes magazine has estimated that the presidents golfing trips cost the taxpayer $142 million.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: David Garner on November 30, 2020, 04:22:38 PM
Burdensome to whom? It is an interesting angle. When restaurants, bars, movie palaces, theaters, sports arenas, and shopping malls shut down, it is most burdensome to the economy and to the tens of thousands of people who work in those places. Those who make regulations and decisions have to have this in mind as they decide what should be done.
On the other hand, if churches must restrict the numbers of people attending their services for a period of time, who is burdened?
The guy defended by so many people here keeps stressing “ the economy, the economy, the economy” and says “we got to get things opened up.” And in his mind and the mind of the people around him doing his bidding, churches don’t do a darn thing for the economy.
I wonder how the fact that he has played golf on 20% of the days he has been in office helped the economy.

If it isn't a burden for people not to attend church, what have you done with your whole life exactly?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 30, 2020, 04:24:26 PM
Spiritual burdens don’t matter to those currently calling the shots from the oval office.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on November 30, 2020, 05:00:57 PM
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.   ;)

You simply don't realize how intellectually dishonest you are when you quote one's post but make changes first, rendering it not a quote. Bottom line, you're lying.

I realize that what I quoted was a typo, and I was having some fun. Hence the wink. That's no reason for you to lie about it, Brian.   ::)

Since I changed the text in the original quote, I felt I should also do it in the quoted text.

No, if you're going to quote someone you don't change the content of what you're quoting. That renders it a lie. Furthermore, it changes the meaning of what you're quoting.

But you know all that.  You do it a lot but usually not by blatantly changing a quote.  >:(


I did not change anything that anyone else quoted. I changed my own statement. The meaning of my statement needed to be changed. Basically, copyright laws say that anything I create belongs to me. If I want to change something I posted, I can do that. If I decide that someone else cannot copy what I've posted, that's within my rights. (Unless I've registered my post with the copyright office, I'm not able to sue for damages should someone copy my work without permission.)
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on November 30, 2020, 05:17:20 PM
Spiritual burdens don’t matter to those currently calling the shots from the oval office.

I distinctly recall the late March press conference when the occupant of the oval office expressed a hope that this nation could be reopened in time for Western Easter.

A few days later those hopes were dashed when "15 days to flatten the curve" was replaced by "30 days to stop the spread."


















Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 30, 2020, 05:28:06 PM
J. Thomas Shelley writes:
I distinctly recall the late March press conference when the occupant of the oval office expressed a hope that this nation could be reopened in time for Western Easter.

I comment:
And you weren't surprised that he knew when Easter was, and - if he actually referred to Western Easter - that he knew there could be a difference between Western and Eastern celebrations?
I think he was actually referring to the Easter shopping season, maybe the traveling that would bring paying customers to his resorts.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on November 30, 2020, 05:49:29 PM
J. Thomas Shelley writes:
I distinctly recall the late March press conference when the occupant of the oval office expressed a hope that this nation could be reopened in time for Western Easter.

I comment:
And you weren't surprised that he knew when Easter was, and - if he actually referred to Western Easter - that he knew there could be a difference between Western and Eastern celebrations?
I think he was actually referring to the Easter shopping season, maybe the traveling that would bring paying customers to his resorts.

I should have placed "Western" within brackets.  The President simply said "Easter"
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on November 30, 2020, 05:53:21 PM
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.   ;)

You simply don't realize how intellectually dishonest you are when you quote one's post but make changes first, rendering it not a quote. Bottom line, you're lying.

I realize that what I quoted was a typo, and I was having some fun. Hence the wink. That's no reason for you to lie about it, Brian.   ::)

Since I changed the text in the original quote, I felt I should also do it in the quoted text.

No, if you're going to quote someone you don't change the content of what you're quoting. That renders it a lie. Furthermore, it changes the meaning of what you're quoting.

But you know all that.  You do it a lot but usually not by blatantly changing a quote.  >:(

I did not change anything that anyone else quoted. I changed my own statement. The meaning of my statement needed to be changed. Basically, copyright laws say that anything I create belongs to me. If I want to change something I posted, I can do that. If I decide that someone else cannot copy what I've posted, that's within my rights. (Unless I've registered my post with the copyright office, I'm not able to sue for damages should someone copy my work without permission.)

ROFL! ;D ;D You make it up as you go, and it's complete baloney! Unfortunately, it perpetuates your intellectual dishonesty.

Yes, Brian, you changed my quote, completely changing the meaning of my post. In doing so, you are lying.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 30, 2020, 05:53:49 PM
Yeah. I thought so.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 30, 2020, 05:58:48 PM
Yeah. I thought so.
You must have consulted a palmist to know that.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: James S. Rustad on November 30, 2020, 06:15:32 PM
Burdensome to whom? It is an interesting angle. When restaurants, bars, movie palaces, theaters, sports arenas, and shopping malls shut down, it is most burdensome to the economy and to the tens of thousands of people who work in those places. Those who make regulations and decisions have to have this in mind as they decide what should be done.
On the other hand, if churches must restrict the numbers of people attending their services for a period of time, who is burdened?
The guy defended by so many people here keeps stressing “ the economy, the economy, the economy” and says “we got to get things opened up.” And in his mind and the mind of the people around him doing his bidding, churches don’t do a darn thing for the economy.
I wonder how the fact that he has played golf on 20% of the days he has been in office helped the economy.
Forbes magazine has estimated that the presidents golfing trips cost the taxpayer $142 million.

Please stop injecting your TDS into discussions that have nothing to do with Trump.  He lost and will soon be gone.  Quit complaining about him.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 30, 2020, 06:36:00 PM
The issue is the kind of restrictions that have been applied and to what ultimate end. That is definitely about him.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 30, 2020, 06:45:06 PM
Burdensome to whom? It is an interesting angle. When restaurants, bars, movie palaces, theaters, sports arenas, and shopping malls shut down, it is most burdensome to the economy and to the tens of thousands of people who work in those places. Those who make regulations and decisions have to have this in mind as they decide what should be done.
On the other hand, if churches must restrict the numbers of people attending their services for a period of time, who is burdened?
The guy defended by so many people here keeps stressing “ the economy, the economy, the economy” and says “we got to get things opened up.” And in his mind and the mind of the people around him doing his bidding, churches don’t do a darn thing for the economy.
I wonder how the fact that he has played golf on 20% of the days he has been in office helped the economy.
Forbes magazine has estimated that the presidents golfing trips cost the taxpayer $142 million.
It is interesting to find out that when imposing restrictions on worship services and possibly closing churches Gov. Cuomo and Gavin and various Mayors simply were following what Trump said.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: James S. Rustad on November 30, 2020, 06:48:53 PM
The issue is the kind of restrictions that have been applied and to what ultimate end. That is definitely about him.

Please point to the portion of the constitution that authorizes the President to impose restrictions, such as a mask order.  The states have the authority to decide what restrictions need to be imposed.  The President does not.  Even Joe Biden agrees that the President simply does not have that authority.  Quit making everything be about Trump.

Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: D. Engebretson on November 30, 2020, 07:20:25 PM
Once Biden takes the reigns of power, I wonder how long we have to wait before we stop blaming Trump and simply hold the new occupant responsible? Or will Trump always be the one to blame for what is wrong with government? Is there a reason why we can't hold the Democratic congress responsible for some things, such as being at least partly responsible for holding up a COVID aid package?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 30, 2020, 09:27:08 PM
Burdensome to whom? It is an interesting angle. When restaurants, bars, movie palaces, theaters, sports arenas, and shopping malls shut down, it is most burdensome to the economy and to the tens of thousands of people who work in those places. Those who make regulations and decisions have to have this in mind as they decide what should be done.
On the other hand, if churches must restrict the numbers of people attending their services for a period of time, who is burdened?
The guy defended by so many people here keeps stressing “ the economy, the economy, the economy” and says “we got to get things opened up.” And in his mind and the mind of the people around him doing his bidding, churches don’t do a darn thing for the economy.
I wonder how the fact that he has played golf on 20% of the days he has been in office helped the economy.
Forbes magazine has estimated that the presidents golfing trips cost the taxpayer $142 million.
Earlier this year it was burdensome to me when we did not hold in person worship for several months and my ability to personally take care of shutins was curtailed and I conducted worship in an empty church in front of a camera. My people would also tell you that it was a burden. It is still a burden to conduct worship and church activities in accordance with "recommended" practices. We do so out of respect for those in authority and because they seem reasonable precautions in these times. But don't tell me they aren't a burden. They seem necessary and we take them willingly, but still a burden. Can you say that your religious life hasn't been burdened by Covid restrictions?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 30, 2020, 09:48:21 PM
Pastor Fienen, please pay attention. I’m not talking about a burden upon us, obviously the restrictions are a painful burden upon us. I am pointing out that in the minds of the ones at the top of our authority chain and making decisions, the burden on the economy is a gazillion times greater and more important to them than any burden upon you and I and our little churches. In the name of Aunt Gertie’s Goat, if he thought putting restrictions on the churches would help the economy, he wouldn’t hesitate for a second to do that.
At that point it is good that he does not have the authority to order things nationally. We are much better off with the governors who understand the situation in our states, except of course, for those who are made members of the Trump cult.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 30, 2020, 09:52:38 PM
Pastor Fienen, please pay attention. I’m not talking about a burden upon us, obviously the restrictions are a painful burden upon us. I am pointing out that in the minds of the ones at the top of our authority chain and making decisions, the burden on the economy is a gazillion times greater and more important to them than any burden upon you and I and our little churches. In the name of Aunt Gertie’s Goat, if he thought putting restrictions on the churches would help the economy, he wouldn’t hesitate for a second to do that.
At that point it is good that he does not have the authority to order things nationally. We are much better off with the governors who understand the situation in our states, except of course, for those who are made members of the Trump cult.
You are the only one in this forum displaying symptoms of cult behavior in your obsession with Trump. The people who support him support him as a politician whose policies they prefer. You treat him as an embodiment of evil who haunts your dreams and waking hours.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on November 30, 2020, 10:01:26 PM
You don’t think his “great lie” tactics of the past three weeks are damaging to our democracy. His actual efforts to get Republican leaders in the states to nullify the voting if it is against him?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on November 30, 2020, 10:07:58 PM
You don’t think his “great lie” tactics of the past three weeks are damaging to our democracy. His actual efforts to get Republican leaders in the states to nullify the voting if it is against him?
I actually think your side is engaged in the great lie tactic by insisting the election is over and reacting with venom to anyone who simply wants to let it play out. Currently enough ballots are disputed in enough states to have swayed the election. More potential harm is done to people’s faith in elections by shushing anyone with questions than is done by carefully investigating with full transparency.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Richard Johnson on November 30, 2020, 10:22:27 PM

It is interesting to find out that when imposing restrictions on worship services and possibly closing churches Gov. Cuomo and Gavin and various Mayors simply were following what Trump said.

That's Gov. Newsom. Unless you are on a first-name basis with him.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 30, 2020, 11:25:23 PM

It is interesting to find out that when imposing restrictions on worship services and possibly closing churches Gov. Cuomo and Gavin and various Mayors simply were following what Trump said.

That's Gov. Newsom. Unless you are on a first-name basis with him.
Sorry, operating from memory, always dangerous to do.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on November 30, 2020, 11:30:07 PM
Pastor Fienen, please pay attention. I’m not talking about a burden upon us, obviously the restrictions are a painful burden upon us. I am pointing out that in the minds of the ones at the top of our authority chain and making decisions, the burden on the economy is a gazillion times greater and more important to them than any burden upon you and I and our little churches. In the name of Aunt Gertie’s Goat, if he thought putting restrictions on the churches would help the economy, he wouldn’t hesitate for a second to do that.
At that point it is good that he does not have the authority to order things nationally. We are much better off with the governors who understand the situation in our states, except of course, for those who are made members of the Trump cult.
Sorry, I thought that you were possibly responding to what I posted where I mentioned people's free exercise of religion being burdened. Obviously you were,talking about something else. I you won't use the quote function, could you at least give a hint about what a post is in reference to?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2020, 01:55:01 AM
You don’t think his “great lie” tactics of the past three weeks are damaging to our democracy. His actual efforts to get Republican leaders in the states to nullify the voting if it is against him?
I actually think your side is engaged in the great lie tactic by insisting the election is over and reacting with venom to anyone who simply wants to let it play out. Currently enough ballots are disputed in enough states to have swayed the election. More potential harm is done to people’s faith in elections by shushing anyone with questions than is done by carefully investigating with full transparency.


From what I've heard, only you and President Trump seems to think that there are enough disputed ballots to have swayed the election. The people actually responsible for counting ballots and assuring the public of a fair election state that this was the most secure election ever. There is no dispute about the outcome.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: David Garner on December 01, 2020, 07:46:07 AM
Spiritual burdens don’t matter to those currently calling the shots from the oval office.

I thought you were refusing to look backwards?

But thanks for running a highlighter over the fact that this is all just partisan nonsense.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Norman Teigen on December 01, 2020, 09:18:17 AM
There are conspiracies out there.    One is that the election. was rigged and that Donald Trump  had many more votes than Joe Biden.  Dark forces were at work.  No evidence of fraud proves that this is true because the conspirators are clever at what they do .   Another is that Elvis is not dead.  Where is his Social Security check?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 09:26:41 AM
So let me ask your this-- IF it were to happen to that when the dust settles it turns out Trump is reelected, will you all go along with it without question, accept his second term as your president, and call anyone who doubts the process that somehow ended up with him winning a conspiracy nut?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Norman Teigen on December 01, 2020, 09:31:10 AM
Do you believe that Elvis is dead?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 01, 2020, 09:44:36 AM
Do you believe that Elvis is dead?
What does belief about the ontological status of Elvis have to do with this election? It's merely a way to ridicule those you disagree with without offering anything of substance.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: David Garner on December 01, 2020, 10:01:04 AM
So let me ask your this-- IF it were to happen to that when the dust settles it turns out Trump is reelected, will you all go along with it without question, accept his second term as your president, and call anyone who doubts the process that somehow ended up with him winning a conspiracy nut?

Do you believe that Elvis is dead?

It appears that party affiliation more than substance is what defines a "conspiracy nut" according to Mr. Teigen.  If you don't agree with him, you're a nut.  If you do, then you get to call people who don't nuts.

That's reason enough not to take him seriously.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 10:09:57 AM
Do you believe that Elvis is dead?
Yes. So what? The same people who told us on election night that they could now say that the Democrats would pick up between 5-15 seats in the House have now gradually had to admit that in reality the Democrats lost 12-13 seats in the House. What they were so absolutely confident about turned out to be almost the opposite of the truth. There is no point in putting stock in news accounts until they are verified. So why not wait until everything settles down before making a declaration? If it turns out that illegally cast ballots get disqualified, it will likely also turn out that several states will flip. We will find out. There is no reason to have a dogmatic opinion in advance of the fact. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: DeHall1 on December 01, 2020, 10:18:32 AM
Do you believe that Elvis is dead?

In 2002, Elvis was living in the Shady Rest Retirement Home in East Texas, known to the staff as Sebastian Haff.

Interesting fact -- JFK (who was patched up after the assassination attempt, dyed black, and later abandoned by Lyndon Johnson) lived there as well.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 01, 2020, 10:35:20 AM
Do you believe that Elvis is dead?
Agent Jay: You do know that Evis is dead, right?


Agent Kay: No, Elvis is not dead, he just went home.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 10:44:20 AM
Peter:
Currently enough ballots are disputed in enough states to have swayed the election.

Me:
I say hogwash, and I would ask you to name them and count them, but that would be being obsessed with certain things. No one anywhere, any place, in any situation, has found any evidence of fraud or of miscounting that would change the result. That is an objective fact.
(But then, so is an earth of multi-billion years birth and a humanity shaped by evolution.)
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Randy Bosch on December 01, 2020, 10:54:24 AM
...evidence of fraud or of miscounting that would change the result... 

That is the qualifying statement that has a high liklehood of being correct.

The rest of your screed is simply to demonize those of difference opinions than your own.
Your quest for objective truth would also note that of all of the 1000's of not-peaceful rioters in 633 cities who vandalized, burgled, robbed, beat, killed, burned, this year (so far), almost all who were arrested at the scene (a small number compared to the total involved) were released without charges or intent of further investigation or prosecution.
This is how they were rendered "peaceful", being vindicated of any crime by the grace and mercy of government.
There is no evidence of governmental fraud or misprocessing that would change the result
Therefore, there were no riots.

But, this is a thread about Recent Su"r"preme Court Decision Concerning Churches, so feel free to ignore any comments regarding that fact.

Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 11:24:29 AM
Peter:
Currently enough ballots are disputed in enough states to have swayed the election.

Me:
I say hogwash, and I would ask you to name them and count them, but that would be being obsessed with certain things. No one anywhere, any place, in any situation, has found any evidence of fraud or of miscounting that would change the result. That is an objective fact.
(But then, so is an earth of multi-billion years birth and a humanity shaped by evolution.)
Assuming you discount any account of fraud or miscounting as hogwash, I guess you could say in a mere tautological sense that all such hogwash is hogwash. That such ballots are in dispute is not hogwash, though, it is the simple fact; someone is disputing them. As to whether their claims have merit, I'm not sure how you personally would know either way. But you seem awfully opposed to settling the dispute through normal legal channels.

Some suspicious things at least call for some plausible explanation. For example, the ballots drops in Pennsylvania that went well over 99% for Biden and provided several times the margin of victory. How does that happen? What demographic of people voted 99.6% for Biden? Early voters? African-Americans? When 570,000 votes come in for Biden with just over 3,000 for Trump in the same drops, the prima facie explanation is fraud unless someone explains how such numbers can possibly make sense. There is no demographic of voter, not even taking into account several layers of intersectionality, that voted in such numbers in such a lopsided way. There may be some explanation, but I've yet to hear it, and it is insulting to be told that any questioning of such ballot drops is conspiracy theory hogwash. I'm sure if they did a recount and suddenly they found a cache of ballots that hadn't been counted before, and those ballots went 85,000 to 500 in favor in Trump, giving him the state, you'd think, "Wait a minute. How can that be? I'd like to look into that."
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Norman Teigen on December 01, 2020, 12:09:03 PM
I tried to inject some humor into the discussion with the Elvis joke.  Seriously, the issue of denial is serious and there is a lesson from history to consider.  Jochen Bittner wrote in the Times about 1918 Germany and the alarmism from the term "Dolchstosslegende" or stab-in-the-back.  "It's core claim was that Imperial Germany never lost World War I.  Defeat, its proponents said, was declared but now warranted.  It was a conspiracy, a con, a capitulation--a grave betrayal that forever stained the nation."  Nobody is saying that President Trump is like Hitler "but the Dolchstosslegende provides a warning. " It's laughable that Trump makes his claims but it is no joke.    "Instead the campaign i.e. the Trump claims, should be seen as what it is:  an attempt to elevate 'They stole it' to the level of legend, perhaps seeding for the future social polarization and division on a scale America has never seen."
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 12:11:37 PM
Peter, you speculate on things of which you cannot possibly have knowledge. But that's OK.
You write:
As to whether their claims have merit, I'm not sure how you personally would know either way. But you seem awfully opposed to settling the dispute through normal legal channels.

I comment:
No, I do not "personally" know. But I do know that every court case has been tossed, sometimes with a scathing rebuke from the judge, on occasion a conservative, Republican-appointed judge. So the "normal legal channels" have been surfed, the surfers either dunked or drowned, their muddled heads bonked on a reef. I am certainly not opposed to these "normal legal channels", but you seem to be opposed to accepting their decisions.
And meanwhile the President and Guiliani continue to - without evidence - to howl about the "stolen" election. This is not "normal legal channels," this is lying and an attempt to nullify the election.
A recent column, not immediately at hand, noted that after World War I, German generals and leaders insisted that they had not "lost" the war, that the truce was unfairly forced upon them and that they actually won the war. This was used to build up opposition to the victors in the war and to convince the Germans that their valid "victory" had been denied them.
This is why I remain concerned about the Man in the White House, who has now raised $170 million since the election in "campaign" funds or "election defense funds", and the rumblings about him running again.
I shall try to find the Newsweek article dissecting his weirdly crazed phone call with the Fox News person. And these were not "spins," they are actual words he has spoken and those words compared with objective, factual truth.
P.S. As I write this, Mr.Teigen has cited the article about dolchstosslegende.

Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2020, 12:34:51 PM
Do you believe that Elvis is dead?
Yes. So what? The same people who told us on election night that they could now say that the Democrats would pick up between 5-15 seats in the House have now gradually had to admit that in reality the Democrats lost 12-13 seats in the House. What they were so absolutely confident about turned out to be almost the opposite of the truth. There is no point in putting stock in news accounts until they are verified. So why not wait until everything settles down before making a declaration? If it turns out that illegally cast ballots get disqualified, it will likely also turn out that several states will flip. We will find out. There is no reason to have a dogmatic opinion in advance of the fact.


When will you consider things "settled down"? When one lawsuit (or 30) are thrown out, the President and his team just file another one. I recall being told by opponents, "Just saying the same thing over and over and over again doesn't make it true."
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2020, 12:41:28 PM
Peter:
Currently enough ballots are disputed in enough states to have swayed the election.

Me:
I say hogwash, and I would ask you to name them and count them, but that would be being obsessed with certain things. No one anywhere, any place, in any situation, has found any evidence of fraud or of miscounting that would change the result. That is an objective fact.
(But then, so is an earth of multi-billion years birth and a humanity shaped by evolution.)
Assuming you discount any account of fraud or miscounting as hogwash, I guess you could say in a mere tautological sense that all such hogwash is hogwash. That such ballots are in dispute is not hogwash, though, it is the simple fact; someone is disputing them. As to whether their claims have merit, I'm not sure how you personally would know either way. But you seem awfully opposed to settling the dispute through normal legal channels.

Some suspicious things at least call for some plausible explanation. For example, the ballots drops in Pennsylvania that went well over 99% for Biden and provided several times the margin of victory. How does that happen? What demographic of people voted 99.6% for Biden? Early voters? African-Americans? When 570,000 votes come in for Biden with just over 3,000 for Trump in the same drops, the prima facie explanation is fraud unless someone explains how such numbers can possibly make sense. There is no demographic of voter, not even taking into account several layers of intersectionality, that voted in such numbers in such a lopsided way. There may be some explanation, but I've yet to hear it, and it is insulting to be told that any questioning of such ballot drops is conspiracy theory hogwash. I'm sure if they did a recount and suddenly they found a cache of ballots that hadn't been counted before, and those ballots went 85,000 to 500 in favor in Trump, giving him the state, you'd think, "Wait a minute. How can that be? I'd like to look into that."


Or maybe your source of information is faulty. Sites I looked at said that 99% of the votes in Philadelphia had been counted; not that 99% were for Biden. Can you post where you got your statistics?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Randy Bosch on December 01, 2020, 12:42:46 PM
Peter, you speculate on things of which you cannot possibly have knowledge. But that's OK.
You write:
As to whether their claims have merit, I'm not sure how you personally would know either way. But you seem awfully opposed to settling the dispute through normal legal channels.

I comment:
No, I do not "personally" know. But I do know that every court case has been tossed, sometimes with a scathing rebuke from the judge, on occasion a conservative, Republican-appointed judge. So the "normal legal channels" have been surfed, the surfers either dunked or drowned, their muddled heads bonked on a reef. I am certainly not opposed to these "normal legal channels", but you seem to be opposed to accepting their decisions.
And meanwhile the President and Guiliani continue to - without evidence - to howl about the "stolen" election. This is not "normal legal channels," this is lying and an attempt to nullify the election.
A recent column, not immediately at hand, noted that after World War I, German generals and leaders insisted that they had not "lost" the war, that the truce was unfairly forced upon them and that they actually won the war. This was used to build up opposition to the victors in the war and to convince the Germans that their valid "victory" had been denied them.
This is why I remain concerned about the Man in the White House, who has now raised $170 million since the election in "campaign" funds or "election defense funds", and the rumblings about him running again.
I shall try to find the Newsweek article dissecting his weirdly crazed phone call with the Fox News person. And these were not "spins," they are actual words he has spoken and those words compared with objective, factual truth.
P.S. As I write this, Mr.Teigen has cited the article about dolchstosslegende.

Nobody "won" WWI except on paper.  All the involved European powers were totally exhausted and to continue (excepting the intervention of the USArmy) would have totally destroyed the culture and economies of the countries involved (and actually did for Russia who had earlier sued for peace with a then-"victorious" German Imperial Army).
Those in Europe who thought they "won" then exacted ruinous penalties on Germany and Austro-Hungary, though many lives were saved -- except for lighting the fuse for the next debacle.

I don't think anyone "wins" a war.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Randy Bosch on December 01, 2020, 12:46:00 PM
Do you believe that Elvis is dead?
Yes. So what? The same people who told us on election night that they could now say that the Democrats would pick up between 5-15 seats in the House have now gradually had to admit that in reality the Democrats lost 12-13 seats in the House. What they were so absolutely confident about turned out to be almost the opposite of the truth. There is no point in putting stock in news accounts until they are verified. So why not wait until everything settles down before making a declaration? If it turns out that illegally cast ballots get disqualified, it will likely also turn out that several states will flip. We will find out. There is no reason to have a dogmatic opinion in advance of the fact.


When will you consider things "settled down"? When one lawsuit (or 30) are thrown out, the President and his team just file another one. I recall being told by opponents, "Just saying the same thing over and over and over again doesn't make it true."

The endless "Russia, Russia, Russia" investigations, lawsuits, and talking heads prove your point.

Alternatively, on the COVID front, even CNN now touts newly disclosed leaks of tons of information proving that China hid the origins and spread of the virus, disproving your point.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Randy Bosch on December 01, 2020, 01:04:55 PM
I tried to inject some humor into the discussion with the Elvis joke.  Seriously, the issue of denial is serious and there is a lesson from history to consider.  Jochen Bittner wrote in the Times about 1918 Germany and the alarmism from the term "Dolchstosslegende" or stab-in-the-back.  "It's core claim was that Imperial Germany never lost World War I.  Defeat, its proponents said, was declared but now warranted.  It was a conspiracy, a con, a capitulation--a grave betrayal that forever stained the nation."  Nobody is saying that President Trump is like Hitler "but the Dolchstosslegende provides a warning. " It's laughable that Trump makes his claims but it is no joke.    "Instead the campaign i.e. the Trump claims, should be seen as what it is:  an attempt to elevate 'They stole it' to the level of legend, perhaps seeding for the future social polarization and division on a scale America has never seen."

You highlighted the front end of Jochen Bittner's article (I read it), but did not reference the second half, where he similarly excoriated the Clinton campaign of 2016 and the last 4 years.  Clinton conceded and did not fight in court (at least we have not been informed of legal challenges by the media), but continued until a few months ago to refer to Trump as an "illegitimate President", and the attempts to overturn that "grave betrayal" continue to this day.

Read the whole article, and you will find that this 21st Century Dolchstosslegende is bi-partisan.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 01:09:27 PM
Peter:
Currently enough ballots are disputed in enough states to have swayed the election.

Me:
I say hogwash, and I would ask you to name them and count them, but that would be being obsessed with certain things. No one anywhere, any place, in any situation, has found any evidence of fraud or of miscounting that would change the result. That is an objective fact.
(But then, so is an earth of multi-billion years birth and a humanity shaped by evolution.)

Assuming you discount any account of fraud or miscounting as hogwash, I guess you could say in a mere tautological sense that all such hogwash is hogwash. That such ballots are in dispute is not hogwash, though, it is the simple fact; someone is disputing them. As to whether their claims have merit, I'm not sure how you personally would know either way. But you seem awfully opposed to settling the dispute through normal legal channels.

Some suspicious things at least call for some plausible explanation. For example, the ballots drops in Pennsylvania that went well over 99% for Biden and provided several times the margin of victory. How does that happen? What demographic of people voted 99.6% for Biden? Early voters? African-Americans? When 570,000 votes come in for Biden with just over 3,000 for Trump in the same drops, the prima facie explanation is fraud unless someone explains how such numbers can possibly make sense. There is no demographic of voter, not even taking into account several layers of intersectionality, that voted in such numbers in such a lopsided way. There may be some explanation, but I've yet to hear it, and it is insulting to be told that any questioning of such ballot drops is conspiracy theory hogwash. I'm sure if they did a recount and suddenly they found a cache of ballots that hadn't been counted before, and those ballots went 85,000 to 500 in favor in Trump, giving him the state, you'd think, "Wait a minute. How can that be? I'd like to look into that."


Or maybe your source of information is faulty. Sites I looked at said that 99% of the votes in Philadelphia had been counted; not that 99% were for Biden. Can you post where you got your statistics?

This article is a few days old, and is only one of the places the same story appears. I was mistaken that the data dumps in question were 99.4% for Biden, not 99.6% as I said upstream. Perils of going from memory. Still, the point remains-- until there is some plausible explanation for how any set of validly cast ballots, no matter what the demographic, could be that lopsided, fraud remains the most reasonable explanation. I could see (maybe) some precinct of 200 people going 199-1 in favor of one candidate. That would be extremely hard to believe but not completely unbelievable. But I can't see how that same ratio could possibly play out over hundreds of thousands of voters. There simply is no county, no racial demographic, no combination of early-voting, suburban, African-American women vting bloc that has those kinds of numbers with those kinds of percentages. So the question becomes, where was that data coming from? How did they isolate that many validly cast ballots for one candidate into one or two data dumps? Even if there are matching paper ballots with signatures and everything, how did they get them into batches of 99.4% for Biden? I'm willing to concede there could be an explanation that makes more sense than fraud, but nobody is sharing it.

 https://spectator.org/pennsylvania-bombshell-biden-99-4-vs-trump-0-6/
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 02:51:01 PM
If this “information” has any validity, one wonders how it is that you and the spectator seem to be interested in it but none of the Trump lawyers brought it forth in any of their court cases. Or if they did there were still reasons why nearly 40 of those cases have been now dismissed and laughed at.
And just now, Bill Barr, who would twist the constitution into a pretzel to back up  Trump, And who, Trump suggested, could have taken  extraordinary measures that would’ve mis-used the Justice Department and the FBI to investigate alleged fraud, admits that there is no evidence of any voter fraud on any level that would change the results of the election.
I suspect that by tomorrow morning he will have been fired.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 03:07:34 PM
If this “information” has any validity, one wonders how it is that you and the spectator seem to be interested in it but none of the Trump lawyers brought it forth in any of their court cases. Or if they did there were still reasons why nearly 40 of those cases have been now dismissed and laughed at.
And just now, Bill Barr, who would twist the constitution into a pretzel to back up  Trump, And who, Trump suggested, could have taken  extraordinary measures that would’ve mis-used the Justice Department and the FBI to investigate alleged fraud, admits that there is no evidence of any voter fraud on any level that would change the results of the election.
I suspect that by tomorrow morning he will have been fired.
Actually, lots of people are talking about it. You have no explanation. Frankly, an ELCA or LCMS convention couldn’t get a 99.4% vote affirming the doctrine of the Trinity. You seem to think that because the NYT isn’t treating it as a problem, therefore it isn’t a problem. And maybe there is some perfectly reasonable explanation for how there managed to be some pile of hundreds of thousands of votes that went 99.4% for Biden. But you haven’t given me one. So just going by the science, as they say, I’m saying fraud is the Occam’s Razor best explanation.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 03:27:57 PM
Then why, Peter, were the court cases brought by Trump supporters all thrown out? Were the  lawyers just too inept to draw attention to something like that? And you do know that the Pennsylvania secretary of state has debunked what was presented by the folks at the hearing called only by Rudy Giuliani, The former New York mayor has gone further off the rails than the president. So it appears that there may be some “other explanation” for those votes. But in any case, none of what was alleged at that so-called hearing was ever proven or verified.
I simply do not understand the refusal to admit but the election was not compromise in any way. There is no doubt that there were mis-cast or missed counted or even some votes cast illegally. But there is no evidence of any significant result changing voter fraud.
The only reason people keep talking about it is to set the public up for the lies and sleazy tactics yet to come.
Republicans! Come home. Come back and take control of your party. Don’t let this guy and the members of his cult  possess it any longer.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 04:25:56 PM
Then why, Peter, were the court cases brought by Trump supporters all thrown out? Were the  lawyers just too inept to draw attention to something like that? And you do know that the Pennsylvania secretary of state has debunked what was presented by the folks at the hearing called only by Rudy Giuliani, The former New York mayor has gone further off the rails than the president. So it appears that there may be some “other explanation” for those votes. But in any case, none of what was alleged at that so-called hearing was ever proven or verified.
I simply do not understand the refusal to admit but the election was not compromise in any way. There is no doubt that there were mis-cast or missed counted or even some votes cast illegally. But there is no evidence of any significant result changing voter fraud.
The only reason people keep talking about it is to set the public up for the lies and sleazy tactics yet to come.
Republicans! Come home. Come back and take control of your party. Don’t let this guy and the members of his cult  possess it any longer.
What is it proof of? As long as Dems resist voter ID laws, as long as they approve mailing out ballots unsolicited to everyone on an outdated voter registration list, as long as they refuse even to allow signature match (which even Obama claimed was the only way mail in ballots could be accepted) there is no way to prove fraud. The data dump that went 99.4% to Biden isn’t in and of itself proof of anything other than you will believe anything. In Philly, they destroyed all the envelopes before a request for signature matches could be made. Then they said there was no proof the signature didn’t match. In Atlanta they said a water main break required them to stop counting and sent everyone home. Then they finished counting without observers, and there is no evidence anywhere of any water main break having happened. Is that proof? No. But it is awfully fishy. The implausible turnout in Milwaukee, etc. If you or anyone would actually explain those things in a way that was even kind of plausible it would go a long way toward making a potential Biden presidency valid in many people’s eyes. But you don’t. You just say, “There is no proof,” as though that puts the matter of extreme fishiness to rest.

Again, if you can explain things in a way that makes sense, great. That’s what happened with the one claim of vote tampering in Michigan. Someone looked at the claim seriously and showed the problem with it. And that was fine. I accept that. But if I smell something and say, “What’s that smell?” I don’t accept assurances that there is no smell as an explanation for why I’m smelling. Frankly, I think you smell it too, which is why you’re so desperate to have everyone drop the subject.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Norman Teigen on December 01, 2020, 04:42:36 PM
"Clinton" nowhere appears in the Jochen Bittner piece about Dolchstossegende.  You have fabricated the reference. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 04:45:26 PM
"Clinton" nowhere appears in the Jochen Bittner piece about Dolchstossegende.  You have fabricated the reference.
This is the sort of attitude I’m talking about. Are you sure he fabricated the reference?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: James S. Rustad on December 01, 2020, 04:49:20 PM
Assuming you discount any account of fraud or miscounting as hogwash, I guess you could say in a mere tautological sense that all such hogwash is hogwash. That such ballots are in dispute is not hogwash, though, it is the simple fact; someone is disputing them. As to whether their claims have merit, I'm not sure how you personally would know either way. But you seem awfully opposed to settling the dispute through normal legal channels.

Some suspicious things at least call for some plausible explanation. For example, the ballots drops in Pennsylvania that went well over 99% for Biden and provided several times the margin of victory. How does that happen? What demographic of people voted 99.6% for Biden? Early voters? African-Americans? When 570,000 votes come in for Biden with just over 3,000 for Trump in the same drops, the prima facie explanation is fraud unless someone explains how such numbers can possibly make sense. There is no demographic of voter, not even taking into account several layers of intersectionality, that voted in such numbers in such a lopsided way. There may be some explanation, but I've yet to hear it, and it is insulting to be told that any questioning of such ballot drops is conspiracy theory hogwash. I'm sure if they did a recount and suddenly they found a cache of ballots that hadn't been counted before, and those ballots went 85,000 to 500 in favor in Trump, giving him the state, you'd think, "Wait a minute. How can that be? I'd like to look into that."

Or maybe your source of information is faulty. Sites I looked at said that 99% of the votes in Philadelphia had been counted; not that 99% were for Biden. Can you post where you got your statistics?

Please respond to what Peter said, not what you think he said.  He never stated that 99% of votes in Philadelphia were for Biden.  He said that certain "ballot drops" in Pennsylvania were well over 99% for Biden.  A "ballot drop" is a batch of ballots, in this case in the state of Pennsylvania, not all of the ballots for the city of Pennsylvania.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2020, 04:57:13 PM
Do you believe that Elvis is dead?
Yes. So what? The same people who told us on election night that they could now say that the Democrats would pick up between 5-15 seats in the House have now gradually had to admit that in reality the Democrats lost 12-13 seats in the House. What they were so absolutely confident about turned out to be almost the opposite of the truth. There is no point in putting stock in news accounts until they are verified. So why not wait until everything settles down before making a declaration? If it turns out that illegally cast ballots get disqualified, it will likely also turn out that several states will flip. We will find out. There is no reason to have a dogmatic opinion in advance of the fact.


When will you consider things "settled down"? When one lawsuit (or 30) are thrown out, the President and his team just file another one. I recall being told by opponents, "Just saying the same thing over and over and over again doesn't make it true."

The endless "Russia, Russia, Russia" investigations, lawsuits, and talking heads prove your point.


The investigation proved that Russia interfered. What some were saying did prove to be true. What wasn't prove was collusion with the Russian by Trump's people.

Quote
Alternatively, on the COVID front, even CNN now touts newly disclosed leaks of tons of information proving that China hid the origins and spread of the virus, disproving your point.


Just because something is said over and over again doesn't mean it's false either; but when it's prove false, like election fraud, and one still keeps repeating, "Fraud, fraud, fraud," what would you call that?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on December 01, 2020, 04:59:36 PM
Assuming you discount any account of fraud or miscounting as hogwash, I guess you could say in a mere tautological sense that all such hogwash is hogwash. That such ballots are in dispute is not hogwash, though, it is the simple fact; someone is disputing them. As to whether their claims have merit, I'm not sure how you personally would know either way. But you seem awfully opposed to settling the dispute through normal legal channels.

Some suspicious things at least call for some plausible explanation. For example, the ballots drops in Pennsylvania that went well over 99% for Biden and provided several times the margin of victory. How does that happen? What demographic of people voted 99.6% for Biden? Early voters? African-Americans? When 570,000 votes come in for Biden with just over 3,000 for Trump in the same drops, the prima facie explanation is fraud unless someone explains how such numbers can possibly make sense. There is no demographic of voter, not even taking into account several layers of intersectionality, that voted in such numbers in such a lopsided way. There may be some explanation, but I've yet to hear it, and it is insulting to be told that any questioning of such ballot drops is conspiracy theory hogwash. I'm sure if they did a recount and suddenly they found a cache of ballots that hadn't been counted before, and those ballots went 85,000 to 500 in favor in Trump, giving him the state, you'd think, "Wait a minute. How can that be? I'd like to look into that."

Or maybe your source of information is faulty. Sites I looked at said that 99% of the votes in Philadelphia had been counted; not that 99% were for Biden. Can you post where you got your statistics?

Please respond to what Peter said, not what you think he said.  He never stated that 99% of votes in Philadelphia were for Biden.  He said that certain "ballot drops" in Pennsylvania were well over 99% for Biden.  A "ballot drop" is a batch of ballots, in this case in the state of Pennsylvania, not all of the ballots for the city of Pennsylvania.


I know what he said. I looked for evidence of it online. I didn't find it. I reported what I did find. I asked for his sources. I still have seen them. It wouldn't be the first time that someone, not likely Peter here, misread some statistic, and reported as fact the misreading (I've been guilty of that,) and the misreading gets spread as the facts.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 05:12:20 PM
Assuming you discount any account of fraud or miscounting as hogwash, I guess you could say in a mere tautological sense that all such hogwash is hogwash. That such ballots are in dispute is not hogwash, though, it is the simple fact; someone is disputing them. As to whether their claims have merit, I'm not sure how you personally would know either way. But you seem awfully opposed to settling the dispute through normal legal channels.

Some suspicious things at least call for some plausible explanation. For example, the ballots drops in Pennsylvania that went well over 99% for Biden and provided several times the margin of victory. How does that happen? What demographic of people voted 99.6% for Biden? Early voters? African-Americans? When 570,000 votes come in for Biden with just over 3,000 for Trump in the same drops, the prima facie explanation is fraud unless someone explains how such numbers can possibly make sense. There is no demographic of voter, not even taking into account several layers of intersectionality, that voted in such numbers in such a lopsided way. There may be some explanation, but I've yet to hear it, and it is insulting to be told that any questioning of such ballot drops is conspiracy theory hogwash. I'm sure if they did a recount and suddenly they found a cache of ballots that hadn't been counted before, and those ballots went 85,000 to 500 in favor in Trump, giving him the state, you'd think, "Wait a minute. How can that be? I'd like to look into that."

Or maybe your source of information is faulty. Sites I looked at said that 99% of the votes in Philadelphia had been counted; not that 99% were for Biden. Can you post where you got your statistics?

Please respond to what Peter said, not what you think he said.  He never stated that 99% of votes in Philadelphia were for Biden.  He said that certain "ballot drops" in Pennsylvania were well over 99% for Biden.  A "ballot drop" is a batch of ballots, in this case in the state of Pennsylvania, not all of the ballots for the city of Pennsylvania.


I know what he said. I looked for evidence of it online. I didn't find it. I reported what I did find. I asked for his sources. I still have seen them. It wouldn't be the first time that someone, not likely Peter here, misread some statistic, and reported as fact the misreading (I've been guilty of that,) and the misreading gets spread as the facts.
I posted a link to  one of my sources, among many that have examined the same data, in this forum. You obviously didn’t read it. Then you claimed it wasn’t posted.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 01, 2020, 05:20:47 PM
The endless "Russia, Russia, Russia" investigations, lawsuits, and talking heads prove your point.


The investigation proved that Russia interfered. What some were saying did prove to be true. What wasn't prove was collusion with the Russian by Trump's people.
Did the allegation that Russia attempted to interfere with the election need a special prosecutor, several congressional investigations, a couple of years of going through the evidence, with periodic breathless that any day now the investigation would reveal the smoking gun? Investigation into the Russian attempts at interference could have been adequately undertaken at a much lower with much less anticipation and hype as to the results. It was the alleged connection to Trump and assurance of imminent discover of proof of his duplicitous election win that hyped the investigation and allow Trump's opponents to cloud much of his term in office. Also, it seems apparent from the investigation that while the Russians interfered, it was not enough to materially affect the outcome of the election. This obsession over Russian interference in 2016 seems as warrented as Trump's obsession over fraud in the 2020. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 05:22:54 PM
Peter, I read the link you provided to the spectator. Talk about something being “unsourced.” It was a puff piece on the Giuliani antics in Pennsylvania. There are holes in that story you could drive a truck through. And if any of it, repeat any of it, were true why did it not make its way into any of the nearly 40 court cases filed? And the “Spectator”? Really?
You take what you see to be anomalies in voting, and construe from there widespread fraud and conspiracy. That is just not sane thinking.
And isn’t it interesting when the United States Attorney General is caught red-handed telling the truth?  ;)
Remember that Barr would readily warp the constitution in order to support Trump. He suggested it numerous times.  And today he claims that the election was valid and uncompromised. Does that say anything to you?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 05:38:38 PM
With regard to the president’s most recent spoutings, it is time to make the comparison between him and Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, and for somebody to stand up and say “have you no shame, no sense of decency?”
While his words weren’t directed at a particular individual, do we see how they slander virtually every polling worker and local official, including Republicans, in the country? I ask again, what sort of massive cooperation and secrecy would have taken to accomplish what he claims someone attempted to accomplish?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 05:39:24 PM
Peter, I read the link you provided to the spectator. Talk about something being “unsourced.” It was a puff piece on the Giuliani antics in Pennsylvania. There are holes in that story you could drive a truck through. And if any of it, repeat any of it, were true why did it not make its way into any of the nearly 40 court cases filed? And the “Spectator”? Really?
You take what you see to be anomalies in voting, and construe from there widespread fraud and conspiracy. That is just not sane thinking.
And isn’t it interesting when the United States Attorney General is caught red-handed telling the truth?  ;)
Remember that Barr would readily warp the constitution in order to support Trump. He suggested it numerous times.  And today he claims that the election was valid and uncompromised. Does that say anything to you?
Again, pure ad hominem. The Spectator? Really? That is all you, and generally all you have. What is your explanation? You don’t have one. If someone can say the Spectator’s numbers are wrong and show what the real numbers are, fine. That would be engaging the substance, which you never do. To believe that there was no fraud at all requires believing a lot of really bizarre anomalies and statistical outliers all happened. If you’re concerned about people’s faith in elections, why not a) welcome examination of those outliers and b) welcome any and all efforts at election reform that work toward greater security, like voter ID laws and signature matches?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 05:54:05 PM
We are going around in circles here. I believe that allegations of fraud need to have proof. Without proof the allegations are simply allegations, perhaps even insane pipe dreams. You contend that the allegations are so obvious that they must be true
I ask again, why did no one conduct any investigations that came up with any proof?
I guess those trying to prove fraud are really stupid and don’t know how or where to look.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 01, 2020, 05:57:32 PM
Some of the problem with Trumps refusal to fully and completely concede is that his refusal is interfering with his opponents ability to fully and completely gloat. How can they fully gloat until Trump concedes the election and fully accepts his complete defeat and humiliating loss? Yes, by most accounts there is not a chance that Trump will somehow pull out a win, and his opponents have not a moments doubts that is the case. But until he acknowledges that he has been crushed how can they savor their triumph. For the mental health of his opponents he needs to acknowledge his disgrace.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 05:59:44 PM
P. S. And by the way, my reference to “the spectator“ is no more ad hominem than any of the hundreds of times people here refer with scorn to The New York Times.
And Pastor Fienen, personally, I’m not necessarily trying to “savor” anything, Although I am obviously very happy that Biden won. But isn’t it sad that our country has to go through this? I have said before that our joy in his win is tempered by that. You impart a nastiness to us, Pastor Fienen, that does not exist. And your refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of the matter continues to be disturbing.
Personally, I feel no need to "humiliate" Trump. He doesn't know what that means, anyway. Should the courts find him guilty of tax fraud, illegal business dealings, and/or treasonous cooperation with foreign governments, and should he be hauled off to federal prison, he would not feel humiliated. He is incapable of that feeling because he lacks what it takes to feel it.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 06:28:24 PM
We are going around in circles here. I believe that allegations of fraud need to have proof. Without proof the allegations are simply allegations, perhaps even insane pipe dreams. You contend that the allegations are so obvious that they must be true
I ask again, why did no one conduct any investigations that came up with any proof?
I guess those trying to prove fraud are really stupid and don’t know how or where to look.
Do signed affidavits from people who claim to have witnessed fraud count as clear proof? Of course not. They are allegations. They have some evidence to support them. They can't have proof until that evidence is investigated and weighed. You don't begin with proof, you begin with an allegation, then gather evidence. At this point my only contention is that there is enough prima facie evidence of fraud to take the allegation seriously. Maybe a bunch of incredibly unlikely things happened, like Biden running well behind Clinton in every urban area besides Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta, but way ahead of her in just those four places. Or Trump winning all the proven bellwether counties nationwide but losing the election. Or a series of data dumps somehow netting 570,000 votes for Biden and 3,200 for Trump. Or postal workers under oath testifying that they were directed to back date ballot envelopes all perjuring themselves. All of that could have happened. But I'm sceptical and made more sceptical by the reactions to my scepticism. A serious reaction would be to come up with alternate, more plausible explanations than fraud, and at least treating whatever small number of incontrovertible instances of fraud, such as people voting in two states, as serious offenses. Instead, we get, "You're an idiot for even suspecting that, and even if there was a bit of it, who really cares?"

It could very well be that there is no proof strong enough to convince a court. And maybe O.J. really was innocent. But the reason nobody thinks O.J. was innocent is because he won in terms of the demand for absolute proof that he had to have done it, but he lost the p.r. battle in terms of explaining what the heck actually happened if he didn't do it. Biden may be sworn in, but as long as he and his supporters refuse to give a plausible explanation to the questions being raised,   
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Norman Teigen on December 01, 2020, 06:37:05 PM
Yes. It was a fabrication.  There was nothing about the Clinton candidacy or the fact that Donald Trump won the 2016 election in the article.  No one questions that Donald Trump won the  2016 election.  It was a Randy Bosch fabrication to say that I had misread the article. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 06:38:31 PM
Peter, I have to believe that now you’re simply trolling, and I’m not at all hungry for the bait.
It’s over. The election is valid. There was no fraud. That is proven by any standard of proof that counts.
Meanwhile, the crazed rantings from the White House and his warped attorneys like Giuliani and Powell go on. Why?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: peter_speckhard on December 01, 2020, 06:46:35 PM
Peter, I have to believe that now you’re simply trolling, and I’m not at all hungry for the bait.
It’s over. The election is valid. There was no fraud. That is proven by any standard of proof that counts.
Meanwhile, the crazed rantings from the White House and his warped attorneys like Giuliani and Powell go on. Why?
From the warped and crazed former mayor of NYC: “With all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance of a Department of Justice investigation. We have gathered ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined. We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth," said Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. "Nonetheless, we will continue our pursuit of the truth through the judicial system and state legislatures, and continue toward the Constitution’s mandate and ensuring that every legal vote is counted and every illegal vote is not. Again, with the greatest respect to the Attorney General, his opinion appears to be without any knowledge or investigation of the substantial irregularities and evidence of systemic fraud.”

Why would he say that? Who knows? Maybe it is true. Maybe not. Maybe the people involved think they have something they don't have. But in any case, there can't have been any fraud because we know for a fact that there was no fraud and that alone is reason enough to believe there couldn't have been any fraud, and anyone who says otherwise is loony. 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Dan Fienen on December 01, 2020, 06:54:31 PM
P. S. And by the way, my reference to “the spectator“ is no more ad hominem than any of the hundreds of times people here refer with scorn to The New York Times.
And Pastor Fienen, personally, I’m not necessarily trying to “savor” anything, Although I am obviously very happy that Biden won. But isn’t it sad that our country has to go through this? I have said before that our joy in his win is tempered by that. You impart a nastiness to us, Pastor Fienen, that does not exist. And your refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of the matter continues to be disturbing.
Personally, I feel no need to "humiliate" Trump. He doesn't know what that means, anyway. Should the courts find him guilty of tax fraud, illegal business dealings, and/or treasonous cooperation with foreign governments, and should he be hauled off to federal prison, he would not feel humiliated. He is incapable of that feeling because he lacks what it takes to feel it.
I'm glad that you feel no need to humiliate Trump although your restraint is tempered by your disdain for lack of emotional self awareness.  But not everything posted here is only about you personally. Can you speak for every Democrat or Trump opponent?
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Randy Bosch on December 01, 2020, 07:13:08 PM
Yes. It was a fabrication.  There was nothing about the Clinton candidacy or the fact that Donald Trump won the 2016 election in the article.  No one questions that Donald Trump won the  2016 election.  It was a Randy Bosch fabrication to say that I had misread the article. 

I did not write that you had misread the article.  I stated that you either chose to not share your opinion on the second half of the article or hadn't read the whole thing - either way is fine, but there was more to be learned than your focused take on it. I did not quote from the article.

I definitely did not fabricate, but have a rather progressive opinion about the article's import given current events. 
If you think that is "fabrication", it is as if you and I read entirely different articles by Bittner.

You and I are entitled to different opinions, even so vastly different that many time zones separate them, but not to ad hominem attacks - whether or not I agreed with your opinion.  Should you disagree with my opinion, your bus won't come any faster and I welcome reading your opinions even if I disagree with them.  I will not engage in character assassination in lieu of civil discussion.

However, even though this thread is entitled "Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches", I want to take this opportunity to pray that you and yours have a blessed Advent season and a blessed Christmas, with a special hope that Minnesota COVID conditions guidance updates allow you to worship with fellow Christians in your church.

Blessings.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 07:46:11 PM
Pastor Fienen writes (my emphasis added):
I'm glad that you feel no need to humiliate Trump although your restraint is tempered by your disdain for lack of emotional self awareness.  But not everything posted here is only about you personally. Can you speak for every Democrat or Trump opponent?

I comment:
No, I can't; and why should I have to? You are grasping for straws. If you find Democrats who are gloating or going all "savory" over the Biden victory, with an effort to humiliate Trump, you count, criticize, correct and condemn them.
I will say, as I have said before, that in my opinion the man currently in the White House is either 1) an errant and ignorant fool, whose lack of emotional and mental health puts our country in danger, or 2) a savvy, conniving, do-any-thing-to-get-what-you-want power grabber like a 1st Century B.C.E. Roman emperor, a Borgia pope, or any corrupt modern demagogue who brought their country facism, Nazism, Communism or other forms of ruin while enriching himself, his family and his friends. (I choose option 1, with a flavoring of option 2.) 
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on December 01, 2020, 08:53:45 PM
I look at the title of this thread, read the recent posts, and wonder.

From Moderator Johnson:

Your Turn / Re: Now that the 2020 Election is over....
« on: November 24, 2020, 03:53:33 PM »
I think we've had more than enough. Thread locked.

Indeed.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Charles Austin on December 01, 2020, 09:06:10 PM
So long as Trump and the members of the cult keep prowling the land and contending that they won, the election is not over; even though in the understanding of sane people "the election" is over, but the aftermath of "the election" thunder-booms us daily. So long as Guiliani and Powell and their Controller keep at it, the aftermath is not over.
Title: Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
Post by: Richard Johnson on December 01, 2020, 10:16:06 PM
I look at the title of this thread, read the recent posts, and wonder.

From Moderator Johnson:

Your Turn / Re: Now that the 2020 Election is over....
« on: November 24, 2020, 03:53:33 PM »
I think we've had more than enough. Thread locked.

Indeed.

Yeah, it's been about four pages now since anyone actually talked about the topic of this thread. Time to close it. Too bad, some of the early conversation was actually interesting.