Author Topic: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches  (Read 10331 times)

Weedon

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #30 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.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #31 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.

John_Hannah

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #32 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
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Richard Johnson

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #33 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?
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

JEdwards

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #34 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


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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #35 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.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #36 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.

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #37 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.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

peter_speckhard

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #38 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.     

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #39 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.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2020, 12:36:55 AM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #40 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. 

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #41 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.
"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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #42 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).
« Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 06:07:56 PM by Brian Stoffregen »
"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]

Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #43 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.   ;)
Don Kirchner

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Charles Austin

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Re: Recent Surpreme Court Decision Concerning Churches
« Reply #44 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.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.