Five to Four


As many of you have probably heard or read by now, the U.S. Supreme Court just gave Religion a vote of confidence. Of course, for many of us, this comes as no surprise since we knew Ms. Amy Coney Barrett was going to be an influencing factor in church/state decisions.

However, what was surprising – and gratifying – is that Chief Justice John Roberts took a much more egalitarian approach to the issue. A good sign, hopefully, of things to come … although we should never get too confident.

The entire matter is addressed in this article.

Beyond the fact the decision favored the churches in this case, I found the overall reasoning lacking in so many ways. It was Justice Neil Gorsuch’s comments, in particular, that really stood out to me.

He noted that other businesses, such as bicycle repair shops, did not have similar restrictions and went on to say:  … “according to the Governor [of New York], it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine or shop for a new bike.”

Does anyone else see the fallacy in this reasoning? How many people does it take to pick up a bottle of wine … or shop for a new bike? How many people might be in one of these businesses at any given time? 3? 4? Especially during the pandemic shutdown. From my perspective, it’s hard to imagine a liquor store or a bike shop ever having 25+ people on the premises at any one time – which is the lower end of the restricted number for church gatherings.

And this comment by the Rabbi involved in the case is also mind-boggling: “This landmark decision will ensure that religious practices and religious institutions will be protected from government edicts that do not treat religion with the respect demanded by the Constitution.”

DEMANDED BY THE CONSTITUTION??!!?

Finally, IMO, this remark by Chief Justice Roberts summed things up — and should have been the most compelling of all:

It is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic.”

Yet five justices of the Supreme Court did just that.