Author Topic: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches  (Read 11798 times)

RevG

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #90 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+

peter_speckhard

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #91 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.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #92 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.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #93 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.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 03:50:21 PM by Dan Fienen »
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #94 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.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Charles Austin

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #95 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.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 04:23:44 PM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

David Garner

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #96 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?
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Charles Austin

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #97 on: November 30, 2020, 04:24:26 PM »
Spiritual burdens don’t matter to those currently calling the shots from the oval office.
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #98 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.)
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #99 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."


















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Charles Austin

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #100 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.
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #101 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"
Greek Orthodox-Ecumenical Patriarchate

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Chrismated Antiochian Orthodox, eve of Mary of Egypt Sunday, A.D. 2015

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #102 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.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 05:55:51 PM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
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Charles Austin

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #103 on: November 30, 2020, 05:53:49 PM »
Yeah. I thought so.
Retired ELCA Pastor: We are not a very inter-Lutheran forum. Posters with more than 1,500 posts: ELCA-6, with 3 of those inactive/rare and 1 moderator; LCMS-25, with 4 inactive/rare and 1 moderator. Non-Lutherans, 3; maybe 4 from other Lutheran bodies. 3 formerly frequent posters have gone quiet.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #104 on: November 30, 2020, 05:58:48 PM »
Yeah. I thought so.
You must have consulted a palmist to know that.