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.

97 thoughts on “Five to Four

  1. Let’s talk about the “law of unintended consequences”.

    Philosophically, I agree with separation of church and state. However, I believe that no one has the right to risk the lives of others without express permission, and should be financially and criminally liable for doing so. We now have the technology to do that and if we used that technology, we wouldn’t have to worry about anyone attending gatherings. My suggestion is that we not ban gatherings, but levy an automatic $100,000 fine on anyone who transmits the virus and fails to participate in contact tracing.

    This decision will kill off followers of various religions, as church gatherings become superspreader events. Evangelicals will be particularly devastated, as their followers tend to be lower income and education and that’s associated with poorer diet. A new study from China identifies high HDL levels as promoting infection, and that’s associated with various metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

    The virus has both short term and long term ways to kill (blood clots, myocardia, tachycardia, liver disease, kidney disease). One of the paradoxes of Trump talking about running in four years is that there will be fewer of his followers alive to vote for him — something that he has enabled by false statements,

    Like the antimaskers, this is another effort that seems basically suicidal. You might as well legalize suicide and euthanasia if you’re going to overrule the ability of the state to manage public health.

    This virus will reduce the church-going population. The next virus may clean it out.

    Is that what you want?

    Liked by 10 people

    • Hello Vic! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      Unintended consequences is an interesting take on the current situation — and you offer some thought-provoking remarks that I’m sure some of my readers will want to address. As for me, I’m too old to look that far ahead. 😉

      Liked by 5 people

        • Well, I have a few years on you. 😉

          But seriously, I feel there comes a point in one’s life that one’s efforts don’t carry a whole lot of weight. We do what we can, but as far as bending or manipulating the future, I feel this is something the younger generation must do. Of course, what the “older folk” can and must do is make them aware of what needs to be done. And convince them of its importance.

          I’ll probably get push back on this, but it’s how I see things.

          Liked by 4 people

    • The next virus may clean it out

      This is an important point to remember. As long as the practice of meat-eating continues anywhere on Earth, new viruses will continue to make the jump to human populations, and sooner or later one of them will generate another pandemic. And the next one might be a lot deadlier. But the religionists and miscellaneous idiots infesting the population will probably keep reacting the same way.

      Liked by 9 people

      • It’s less a matter of actual consumption than proximity — breathing the same air. That trees up to human greed for land and resources that drive us into other species’ territory. I see this virus as one of several efforts by Nature to thin the human herd. And Nature will win. Before the virus, we expected the human population to top out at 8.5 billion and drop back to 8 billion by the end of the century. The virus may increase the drop.

        Liked by 5 people

        • It’s less a matter of actual consumption than proximity

          Technically true, but it’s the practice of factory-farming animals that leads to humans being in close proximity, on a large scale, with animals which are being kept in grossly filthy and unhygienic conditions. As far as I know, pretty much all the animal-to-human disease jumps of the last few decades have happened in that context, or at similarly-unclean live-animal markets like the one in Wuhan. HIV is an exception that apparently really did make the jump via humans eating wild primates.

          In any case, “nature” is just a collective term we use for a set of miscellaneous processes and phenomena, most of them ugly and dangerous, which occur in the absence of some kind of human intervention.. It isn’t an entity with the ability to make efforts to do things. Humans thrive or suffer to varying degrees depending on how wisely or stupidly they respond to these phenomena. There are enough people around the planet responding stupidly that further pandemics are inevitable in the future, even if we get this one under control. That’s my point.

          Liked by 4 people

      • And it has now been shown to jump back to animals – several lions and tigers at some zoos in New York have been infected by their handlers.
        Amazing the wonderful ways we may soon be liable for the extinction of more animals. Oh, joy!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Some great points Vic. Bravo!

      Along the lines of your “unintended consequences” and inferred setting precedence for future governing and law-enforcement, I’ve heard it also put this way: Criminal Negligence. I’ve heard a very relatable analogy given on this for anyone here with a brain…

      Not following all the COVID-19 protocols, but mostly not wearing a mask while out in public or at family gatherings, parties, theme parks, etc, and not social-distancing AT LEAST 6-8 feet apart is the same as allowing a crazy person drive a Mac-truck 150 MPH through your neighborhood (with kids playing), or on a highway, thru an airport, ANYWHERE the driver pleases because that’s your individual Constitutional right(!)? That’s your Constitutionally protected right!? B.S. to the 100th!!!

      No, no, no! Those rights and protections are ALSO for everyone else too and their safety as much as the crazed, insane, reckless driver!!!

      Liked by 9 people

      • Speaking of gatherings — my other-half’s teen-age granddaughter recently attended a friend’s birthday party … and of course since they were really good friends, they hugged.

        I think you know what comes next. The girlfriend started feeling bad over the next few days and yup! Tested positive. So now the granddaughter is quarantining and hoping for the best.

        Will they EVER learn??!?!

        Liked by 7 people

        • Well, since covid isn’t real, thank Jeebus, the granddaughter probably only has a simple cold. Thank GOD covid isn’t real and right-wing media, along with our beloved leader, tRump, have kept us all sane and safe this past year or who the eff knows what kinda viruses would be running rampant in the land!

          Liked by 7 people

        • Yep. Though my video below of Crisis COVID Nurse Chelsea Walsh is so tragic, disturbing, and hardcore REAL, I think listening to the very profound stories of these frontline workers, ALL OF THEM, perhaps it might get through their thick skulls Nan. 😞 Of course this ASSUMES that there will be adequate hospital staff—much less ICU beds or standard beds—for you to get admitted for COVID, then if so, able to be adequately treated along with all the other infected patients!!!

          Can you imagine going to the ER/Admissions with CV-19 and them turning you away!? Maybe 2-3 other hospitals saying NO? 🥺

          Liked by 4 people

  2. After this decision I’ll be picking up more than just one bottle of wine! Ugh!!!! Can’t WAIT til SCOTUS gets a case to determine which sect of Christianity is the TRUE sect of Christianity. I mean, there are PAPISTS on SCOTUS! What if the Pope demands they vote according to HIS whims!!! OMG!!! It just boggles the mind. Too bad we don’t have separation of church and state here in the US–anymore that is.

    Liked by 10 people

          • Many people believe that. I’m dubious. Roe v Wade is almost half a century old and very entrenched in US law and practice. I really doubt there would be five Supreme Court votes to overturn it, even now.

            And even if it were overturned, that would just mean that each of the fifty states would be able to pass whatever abortion laws its legislature chose. The non-shithole states would enact laws protecting abortion rights, and even the shithole ones might be a little cautious, with legislators knowing that really strict prohibitions might get them voted out (more women than men vote, at least in the US).

            Also, if Democrats win the Georgia runoffs in January, they could pass federal legislation protecting abortion rights all over the country.

            Liked by 3 people

          • I am. This is EXACTLY why Barrett was put on the Court–to overturn Roe v Wade, among other “leftist” rulings and laws like the ACA. Yep. In a few years, Roe v Wade will be overturned outright or hacked to pieces until dead one tiny ruling at a time. Maybe, just MAYBE when that happens, more folks will realize if they’d rather not live in a theocracy, they should vote. Maybe. But I seriously doubt it. “Oh, it doesn’t matter who wins elections,” they say. “It’s all EXACTLY the same no matter who wins.” It’s not the same. It really, truly is not.

            Liked by 4 people

  3. They are of their father Jehovah, and the wingnuttery of their father they will do. The preferred decision is the starting point and the legal “reasoning” is an after-the-fact justification for it. This is inevitable when the Supreme Court is packed with ideologists and religious nuts. Moscow Mitch worked hard to achieve this and his efforts are beginning to bear fruit. Trump made it possible. Elections have consequences.

    Roberts is known to be very concerned about the SC’s reputation and gravitas, which is why he tends to make concessions to objective reality on some cases, while still veering to the right on what he considers core-wingnut-value issues. Even Gorsuch voted to uphold protections for gay employees in June (and was condemned as a traitor across the wingnutosphere). But Coathanger Coney is a lab-grown theocrat.

    This ruling probably won’t have much practical effect because authorities in most of the US are too timid to enforce the rules when churches defy them, as they regularly do. I’ve heard of police in Spain and Italy coming to break up illegal masses, but in the US it’s almost unimaginable.

    Religionists will continue to be the rats and fleas of the pandemic and local authorities will take no serious action to stop them. The SC has merely given their typhoid-Mary status a legal imprimatur.

    Liked by 9 people

  4. I am amused by the phrase “respect for religion demanded by the Constitution”, and amazed by what I would call a loss of time that a Supreme Court of Justice spended on a matter of this kind.
    With my apologies beforehand if you consider the issue to be really that important.
    .-

    Liked by 5 people

    • Many don’t consider the issue that important, but many do … like the religionists.

      Here is the portion of the First Amendment that religionists hang their hat on …

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

      During this pandemic, no one is stopping anyone from the “free exercise” of their religion. What they are doing is limiting the number of people in a church setting partaking in the free exercise thereof.

      Church leaders want it all. They want the pews to be packed. Why? Because that means more people to put $$$ in the offering plate.

      Liked by 11 people

      • Thing is, even a guarantee of the right to free exercise of religion doesn’t logically extend to behavior which is harmful to other people. For example, if the Aztec or ancient Phoenician religions still existed with large numbers of adherents on US territory, would anyone argue that they should be allowed to perform human sacrifices as they did in their heyday, even though such sacrifices were absolutely central to their beliefs and practices? It’s absurd. No other Constitutional right is interpreted to include a right to inflict life-threatening danger on other people. You can own a gun, but if you shoot somebody with it, except in self-defense, you’ll be arrested. Even lesser infringements on other people’s rights are not allowed. You have the right to “peaceably assemble”, but not on my front lawn, if I don’t choose to let you. It’s absurd to claim that “free exercise of religion” includes a right to amplify a raging pandemic.

        Liked by 8 people

      • My church simply limits the number of folks that can attend at one time.. Services have been added. People are then able to socially distance in the pews. Masks are required. The congregation does not sing.

        We also have stepped up with the cleaning protocol including adding a fogger between services that kills the virus. Services are also broadcast on Facebook and youtube for those who are unable or would feel uncomfortable attending. People can contribute financially digitally. We don’t even use an offering plate because of concerns with viral transmission. Until the weather began to turn colder, we also had worship offered outside.

        I suppose there are no absolute guarantees. For a while, in-person services were shut down altogether during a stay at home order, and the pastor broadcast the liturgy on Facebook.

        But, I can’t imagine why Christian people would not want to take reasonable precautions and just crowd together in large numbers indoors for worship no matter what.

        I can’t see how this is wisdom, honoring to God, or serves the purpose of the gospel during a pandemic.

        God expects us to use our minds. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree — there ARE ways around the restrictions and many churches are using them.

          So why does this matter have to go before the Supreme Court? I have a pretty good idea why but I’d like you to share your thoughts.

          P.S. I already know the thoughts/opinions of most of my readers … please let Becky answer this.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Nan, I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense to me because no one was saying that people of faith could not meet or practice their faith at all. That would be another matter.

            As far as I know, there was just concern about larger numbers of people meeting indoors in close proximity. Most of the people in my church would have the same concern and so safety protocols have already been put in place. This just seems like common sense to me and a way that we show the love of our neighbor.

            I agree with you that there is a huge difference between a few people social distancing going in and out of a bike shop than to have hundreds of people shoulder to shoulder singing in a large indoor gathering for a prolonged period of time.

            What do you think? I truly don’t know the answer to your question.

            Like

            • The reason these churches took this matter to the Supreme Court had little to do with whether or not they could hold church gatherings.

              Religious groups (especially Evangelicals) want “Faith” to be the guiding law of the land. That’s why so many non-religious were up-in-arms about Ms. Barrett becoming part of the Supreme Court. There’s little doubt she’s going to vote on the side of religion in any and all cases that involve same.

              You may not see it because you’re a believer, but for many it is a slap in the face that these type of rulings take place. It’s like I said in my comment to koppieop — the Constitution does not stop anyone from practicing their religion. It becomes an issue when “laws” are introduced that favor religion.

              And that’s essentially what this Supreme Court ruling did. Secular individuals made a ruling that churches should limit the number of people attending religious services for health and welfare reasons (i.e., the spread of the virus). The religious community in question took the ruling as an offense against their faith (via the First Amendment) and decided to take it to the Supreme Court.

              Was the ruling prohibiting them from freely practicing their religion? No. You yourself have indicated the virus has not stopped you from worship. It has put a few “inconveniences” in place, but no one has been standing at the door denying your right to worship.

              I hope this makes things a bit clearer and helps you to understand why some are so adamant when the religious community tries to enforce issues and actions that smack of preferential treatment.

              Liked by 5 people

            • You may be aware that my mother is a devout Christian. She has been attending the same church since Noah stepped off the ark … or so it seems like.
              For a number of years she has been a member of the choir – she and I both agree that the other members of the choir and the congregation must be effectively deaf to allow such a travesty.
              That said, the UK government has ordered churches closed a couple of times I understand, even though since the pandemic her church has practiced strict social distancing and only six members of the choir at any one time would attend practice, wearing masks as well. I wonder how singing with a mask is possible?
              Anyway, the last time we spoke her church was closed once again. She jokingly told me she’s sure God is okay with it.
              From several posts on WordPress it seems that, as in the US, in the UK it is certain evangelicals and the more … how can I say … intense Christians who are having their little tantrums about attending church. David Robertson anyone? (And he’s not even living in the UK at the moment! )

              Liked by 3 people

            • You say that “no one was saying that…” but that is sadly not true, Becky. Many fundamentalists and their ministers were saying exactly that. Many of the crazier frothers claim that JAY-ZUS will protect them from the virus and they were going to gather n large, tightly packed groups and sing their insipid “worship songs” at full, virus-spreading volume.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. I will NEVER understand, much less even glimpse how, a deadly highly contagious virus—having already stolen over 269,000 Americans BEFORE their natural time!—a pandemic, a family destroyer, forcing untold unnecessary suffering on all ages… gets EFFIN politicized!!!! This infuriates me how idiotic and worse still incredibly insensitive to those families who have lost loved ones, in some cases, multiple loved ones… and they brush it off and turn this monumental catastrophe into a political debate!!!! Unreal and inhumane! Period! 😡🤬

    Watch this video of what it is REALLY LIKE with a young girl—at the beginning of the interview from Chelsea Walsh trying to save this little girl’s life—and the constant death and suffering (alone, no family there) they are trying to help/save 3-4 times per day or more…

    And this is a religious debate for the Supreme Court!!!? Give me an EFFIN BREAK!!! 😡🤦‍♂️ But Nan, I do realize this is our current reality, sad to say. But I don’t have to like it.

    Liked by 8 people

  6. I just posted this comment on Jim’s blog. It seems to fit here too.

    “Do what we will, we are never going to be free of mortality, partiality, fallibility, and error.” ~ From Wendell Berry’s ‘The Way of Ignorance’

    Interesting post. Thanks, Nan. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I found Neil Gorsuch’s comments mind-boggling. You’d imagine any legal mind with the time to ponder that he has, would at least find a suitable comparison. As you said Nan, a wine shop or a bike store hardly make the grade. Churches are out to show they’re a power in the land and the bond grows ever closer with the make up of the Supreme Court but this victory is at the expense of lives lost and lives to be lost. They should really carry some liability towards the family of the deceased congregant and it should be high. Maybe time to start taxing the church again.
    Hugs

    Liked by 7 people

    • Hello David. The point you and Nan raise was voiced in the arguments of Sotomayor. As the Justices pass their rulings and opinions around to each other before they give a final vote and publish it, Gorsuch knew this and disregarded it in favor of the desired result. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

  8. The Court has, I believe, overstepped its bounds. However, were it only the churchgoers who were in danger because of such reckless behaviour, I would say, “Fine … let them wipe themselves out … the world would be a more peaceful place.” However, they leave that church where the virus has run amok while they were singing and hugging, and they go home, exposing their children and other family members. Then on Monday, they go to work and spread the ‘joy’ to all their co-workers who then take it home to their families.. The children go to school and spread it around among friends & teachers, who then take it home and … well, you get the picture. It is selfish and unconscionable. Like you, Nan, I have made the point that if you go into a liquor store or a bike store, there are maybe at most 6 people, all several yards apart. But go into a church, and people are shoulder-to-shoulder, singing, hugging, shaking hands. PLUS … as I responded to a tweet on Twitter, people probably need the liquor stores more right now than they need the churches! But, another point … I am not religious, not a believer, but it seems to me that those who do believe claim to have a personal relationship with the god of their choice. Now … why does one need to gather in a crowded venue to speak to that god if … they have a personal relationship??? It’s a social venue and an excuse to socialize … at the risk of the lives of every person they come into contact with. It’s bullshit. The Court was wrong, and even Chief Justice John Roberts felt it was wrong. Damn shame that religion is taking such an autocratic role in our government. Great post and lots of good conversation here! I shall re-blog!

    Liked by 5 people

    • The “personal relationship” perspective is one that I too wonder about. But there are those that will respond with scripture. such as the following from the NIV — not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another. Yet time and again we see them ignoring the scripture that talks about going into the closet to pray.

      I think many of us would agree that many (most?) Christians simply follow the scriptures that make them feel good and ignore those that don’t.

      Because, after all, when everything is said and done … God forgives. Right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think … my opinion only … the real reason the churches want to be open with no restrictions on attendance is singular … money. They’re missing those weekly donations. And, the other part of that is they have done a tremendous con-job on their congregations to convince them it is imperative that they be allowed to cram themselves like sardines into the church, else they just might … GASP

        Liked by 4 people

        • Oops … I hit enter a bit before I was ready to … they might just go to that hot place if they don’t get to church and risk not only their own lives but everybody else’s too, and … oh on your way out, please leave at least $20. Cynical? Yeah, but honest. The churches are one of the biggest con jobs going.

          Liked by 2 people

        • You are correct Jill. The average person would be well served to dig deeply into the true history of the ‘Church’, accept that all Western religions were derived from the Roman Catholic church which is concerned with only one thing-filling their coffers. Even as a child growing up in a Protestant faith based church I was acutely aware of the true driving force behind its function. My parents had lengthy discussions about tithing and what they could afford. The Wednesday night ‘Prayer Meeting’ services that ended with financial updates and pressure on the congregation to give more. All so the ‘pastor’ and his family get to live in a big house-for free-with all the trimmings these days. For true enlightenment a little book entitled A World Lit Only By Fire is a real eye opener.
          Again, I return to my soapbox stamped “spoiled 21st Century Americans” to remind everyone that most people living here have absolutely no concept of what true religious oppression looks or feels like. No one is coming in to your home telling you not to observe you practices, not to pray or sing or worship. All of this nonsense…ALL of it is the direct result of our over indulged, over educated, over pampered and unchecked ‘me first’ mob mentality.
          Nature will have her way. If you don’t believe in any god, you cannot deny the force of Nature to survive. Right now she is trying to rid herself of a very deadly virus-humans. ☹️😠😤😩🥺

          Liked by 4 people

          • The Wikipedia article on the book is faintly damning. I think we overlook the reality that thought and invention did not cease during the Dark Ages. But yes, I agree 100% otherwise!

            Like

  9. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Our friend Nan wrote the post that was in my mind, but hadn’t yet reached my fingertips (spent the day cooking, y’know). In short, the United States Supreme Court ruled that religionists’ rights supercede our rights to be as safe as possible. Nan’s post is great, but the ensuing comments and conversation adds depth to the topic. Thank you, Nan, Vic, and others for your insight!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I just read the press release from the Diocese of Buffalo & it changes absolutely nothing. Masks are still required to attend all services; you must sit six feet from another person. Capacity per service is determined by the size of the individual church. I don’t know about other churches; I really don’t care. How is this different from all the people going to bars & restaurants? Which are all closed in the city of Buffalo, right now anyway. I haven’t been to church since I got sick with the flu last January. I’m a lousy Catholic at best; I hate the new Mass & I’m glad to have an excuse not to go. I’d rather meditate at home.

    Just because the Supreme Court says you can go to the church of your choice during a pandemic doesn’t mean you SHOULD go. My mother, probably the most devoted Catholic I know, hasn’t attended Mass in months & won’t, until the pandemic is over. She says her rosary several times a day & I am sure she is in contact with the priest at her church (which is within walking distance of her home).

    Going to church is a social event for some people. Get over it! Just like all the barflies who are crying right now … get over it! You can pray at home just like you can drink at home. Some people do both at once.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You ask, “How is this different from all the people going to bars & restaurants?” An EXCELLENT question!

      While I do have reservations about church gatherings, I am simply dumbfounded that BARS are allowed to stay open. Unless an individual has ONE drink and then leaves –which is extremely rare– there is NO WAY that it is a safe environment.

      Your last comments sum it up perfectly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indoor bars and restaurants are no longer open in most of California, I might note. There are…scofflaws. But the one I saw is the kind of place where one might as likely be harmed by the knife fights or venereal diseases picked up from the patrons than COVID, so….not a place I hang out at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello Nan. This court and the religious people celebrating are denying the history of these rulings, the precedents of the past. In the past the concertive courts put a limit on what religions could do, such as when the Native Indians in prison wanted to use hallucogenic in their religious practices the court ruled against them. More recently the SCOTUS has ruled for Christianity having rights of visitation / representation in death penalty cases yet ruled against a Muslim desiring to have a Imam present when he was executed.

    What the stacked courts are trying to achieve in any way possible is to promote the Christian National Dominist ideals. The Federalist society picking these people for the courts are determined to return the US to 1950, then to 1929 and if possible to 1850. The goal is to return to a time when it was understood unquestionably that Christianity was prevalent in society, that white Christian men were unquestionably in charge, that females were subservient, POC knew their place, and LGBTQ+ were deeply hidden and never visible while business were unfettered by a small government. So every ruling now will be designed to create the enshrining of the status of Christianity over all other religions and over the rest of society while they still have the chance to do so. Then they will build on that.

    As a minority I do worry about the progression of putting the superiority of religion into the nations laws. While following a religion is a choice, being LGBTQ+ is not, skin color is not. Religions do not pay taxes and now have all the rights as a tax paying person ( seems businesses also have these rights with no responsibility ) and so can use government funds and power to discriminate. The ruling has not come down yet but the case was heard about this and the religious justices out right said they felt it was hostility and discrimination against / toward religion not to let them use taxpayer money to discriminate. Scary times ahead, fasten the seatbelts and don the life vests. Hugs

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hello Nan. I forgot to add this quote from the article you linked to. Guess my comment was already getting long, as is my normal way. 😀😄😉 Hugs

      “The basic point is you know why does the court rule on an issue that is moot unless — and which they had just decided several months before in other cases..which presented the same argument — why rule on a case that is moot and come up with a different decision than you did several months ago on the same issue? You have a different court and I think that was the statement that the court was making,” Cuomo said.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Scottie, I feel like these dominionists represent an extremely small segment of the Christian church, let alone the population at large. I just find it extremely difficult to believe that they would have such power to influence the courts, let alone the SCOTUS to enforce white male supremacy, the subserviency of women, discrimination against POC, etc. It feels like some kind of conspiracy theory to me.

      Have you thought there could be alternate explanations?

      People do not all think alike in some of these issues. For instance, I’m totally supportive of gay marriage and I feel like the federal and state govt. should not discriminate.

      At the same time, I feel as if people should not be forced to violate their religious convictions and their conscience. To give an example, it’s one thing for a business to refuse to hire a gay or lesbian person or to not sell products to people based on sexual orientation. That should not be tolerated.

      But, to me, it’s another issue for someone to be forced to cater and in their minds participate in a same-sex wedding if this is totally against their conscience or sincerely held religious convictions. Where do we draw the line here?

      Should these folks be fined, and if they refuse to pay the fine be imprisoned? Should they lose their business? I admit sometimes this could be a fine line and not always easy to discern.

      But, if some people are forced to violate their conscience, we all could be. A precedent is set. To give an example, I’ve even heard it argued, that if an OB/GYN physician refuses to perform an elective abortion based on their conscience or religious convictions, they should lose their license to practice medicine. Really??

      I’ve been greatly influenced in my opinion by listening to Dave Rubin of the Rubin report who is a married gay man that I greatly admire. He and his husband are expecting their first child soon through surrogacy.

      I feel like many people are motivated more by concern for personal freedom and libertarian principles than by things such as homophobia or racism.

      Like

      • it’s another issue for someone to be forced to cater and in their minds participate in a same-sex wedding if this is totally against their conscience or sincerely held religious convictions

        Do you similarly believe that such businesses should be free to refuse to provide services for a black-white marriage if they have a sincerely-held conviction that blacks are inferior and/or that God intended different races not to intermarry? The majority of the population held that belief not so long ago (and many still do), and they firmly believed the Bible supported it.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Infidel, I don’t know of any business in our country today that would take this position, do you? It basically would be the end of their business. We wouldn’t have to bring any legal action. I admit that sometimes it can be a fine line to draw, but I have to remain steadfast..I feel like exemptions relating to freedom of conscience and religious convictions are important.

          Like

          • I think you’re evading the point. The taboo on gay marriage and the taboo on interracial marriage are perfectly equivalent. Fifty or a hundred years ago the latter was embraced just as fervently by most American Christians as the former is by the fundamentalist remnant today. In both cases we’re talking about a deeply-held belief mainly rooted in religion. There’s no coherent basis for saying that one taboo should be legally accepted as a reason for discriminating against certain customers, but the other taboo should not. It’s irrelevant that one taboo became socially disreputable a couple of generations ago, while the other is just becoming similarly disreputable now. They’re both examples of the same kind of Bible-based bigotry.

            Liked by 3 people

            • Infidel: I am shocked at your arguments here! Here we have the evil STATE, the BIG GOVERNMENT, telling good, freedom-loving Christians what to do? This seems contrary to your argument that we are moving towards anarchism!!!!

              (I do agree with your arguments overall, but then I am a STATIST, so I would. 🙂 )

              Like

      • If churches would simply practice the golden rule, no religious convictions that excluded others or hurt others could be done. Therefore the LGBTQ person would not be discriminated against in the first place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve even heard it argued, that if an OB/GYN physician refuses to perform an elective abortion based on their conscience or religious convictions, they should lose their license to practice medicine. Really??

        If a Muslim or Jew takes a job as a chef at a restaurant, and then because of his religious beliefs refuses to cook any dishes that include pork even though he knew that such dishes were included in the restaurant’s menu, he shouldn’t expect to keep that job very long. If you aren’t willing to do part of what’s required by the job, you shouldn’t have taken the job.

        Liked by 4 people

        • But, Infidel, you’ve just highlighted part of the problem. We don’t all agree that elective abortion procedures have to be part of every OB/GYN’s job description. Who gets to decide.? Here is another thought. What if in the future, God forbid, euthanasia even for the non-terminally ill was more widely accepted? Should a pharmacist be forced to provide lethal drug cocktails for folks even against her conscience or religious convictions or risk losing her license or business? I could cite other examples, but I think it is better for us to make these exceptions based in personal freedom and conscience. Generally, I feel we are better off to not always just jump to use the coercion of law or has been done in some cases the canceling of speech. It is better to attempt to persuade people to our position using reason, science, kindness, and good example.

          Like

          • We don’t all agree that elective abortion procedures have to be part of every OB/GYN’s job description. Who gets to decide

            The employer gets to decide. The employer decides what’s part of the job. If a hospital’s ob/gyn services include abortion, that fact is easily discoverable by a job applicant, who is therefore free to refrain from seeking a job which would require him to do something he objects to, just as the Muslim or Jewish chef in my example could easily find out in advance that the restaurant would expect him to prepare pork dishes. If he takes the job and then refuses to do what he knows (or should have known) is part of the job, he deserves to get fired.

            At every stage of this discussion, the religionist is the whining, wheedling claimant of special privilege. I want to be exempted from this, I insist on being excused from that, I demand to not have to follow the rules that apply to everybody else. Even when, to get back to the original post, it’s public-health regulations designed to protect the public from a pandemic which has already killed more than a quarter-million Americans. They need to grow up and stop bitching and whining. Look, I strongly believe that eating any kind of meat is absolutely morally wrong, and I have far more concrete basis for that belief than exists for the arbitrary taboos on homosexuality or abortion. I don’t demand that the whole society reorganize itself to accommodate me.

            Bigotry doesn’t stop being bigotry just because it’s based on a printed collection of random garbage from some obscure bronze-age Middle Eastern tribe. Behavior that spreads deadly disease among the broader community doesn’t suddenly become more tolerable because the people engaging in the behavior believe their imaginary friend wants them to do it. All we’re saying is, follow the same rules everybody else has to follow. Religious taboos and prejudices are not privileged over anyone else’s opinions and bigotry. They’re no different. Civil-rights protections and public safety should not make special exceptions for religion.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Infidel, I sense that you feel strongly. But, part of this issue is that it’s not just the religionists who might feel strongly about some of these issues, and feel that their conscience is violated. To give one example, there are secular humanists who also take a strongly pro-life position.

              https://www.prolifehumanists.org/

              I’ve appreciated the discussion, but for me, this is just not so cut and dry. We will have to agree to disagree.

              Like

      • You may find it “difficult to believe,” Becky, but it’s happening right before your eyes. Why do you think Trump is so popular among the Evangelicals (who are the primary force behind the Christian Dominionistic movement)? He put into place several of their long-standing wishes and desires — subtly, of course, so the average citizen would never recognize what he was doing (they even got by you, a devoted believer). Of course, he did this for votes, not because he agrees with or even knows what the group stands for.

        Here’s a quote from D. James Kennedy (now deceased), who was very active in the movement:

        Our job is to reclaim America for Christ, whatever the cost. As the vice regents of God, we are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors—in short, over every aspect and institution of human society.

        And by another Dominionistic supporter:

        “The people who belong to this movement go by different names — Reconstructionists, Theonomists, Dominionists — but they all share a common belief: Our republican form of government should be replaced with a Christian fundamentalist theocracy,”

        There are numerous others who say the same and/or similar things. You might find this article eye-opening. It’s dated (written in 2006), but it outlines many of the movement’s goals.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Nan, I agree there are some people who hold this position, perhaps Rev. Kennedy did, I’m not certain.

          But, I feel, often when evangelical people talk about reclaiming our country for Christ, they are actually not thinking about establishing a theocracy. It is their way of speaking to say they feel like Judeo-Christian values should inform and undergird our democracy. To my mind, it’s not the same thing.

          If I’m wrong about this, I can tell you these folks are wasting their time.Conservative/libertarian people, IMO, value personal freedom as much or even more than the progressives. The people in our country would not tolerate this kind of totalitarianism.

          As Infidel has pointed out, in a theocracy, who gets to determine which sect is actually in control? And, what happens if another religion comes into ascendency altogether? A dangerous precedent has been set which leads only to violence and conflict.

          Our founders knew what they were doing when they established this firewall of separation. It also protects the church from control by the state as well.

          I can tell you right now, I would face imprisonment for the sake of my kids and grandkids to fight against the establishment of a theocracy.

          Like

          • You wrote … But, I feel, often when evangelical people talk about reclaiming our country for Christ, they are actually not thinking about establishing a theocracy.

            All I’m going to say at this point is to do some research because there ARE evangelicals that are working to this end. The fact that you don’t see this indicates you are living in a cocoon of comfort.

            Suggest you watch this …

            Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Becky. Infidel did a great job of addressing the bigotry part of your comment and why your religious bigotries shouldn’t give you special permissions to avoid doing a job you accept that others also have to do who do not claim your religious special prvivage. If you start a business that serves the public, you must serve all the public and should expect to have to do so. Same if you have a business that wants taxpayer money, you serve all the public, not just your favored ones.

        Nan covered the Dominionist movement and that it is real, but you dismissed it having made inroads into the government. You are wrong, and I regret that because this movement is scary to everyone but them.

        Let’s use reason on this before I get to specifics. You say you are a christian, but we know there are many many sects of Christianity, some quite liberate and some super conservative. Some feel their job is to bring their god to everyone on the planet even remote tribes where contacting them is forbidden by law because the germs we carry can kill them. But I have posted that there are churches that feel god has called them to go preach to them, and some have died for it.

        Evangelicals as a group feel that the government must return to their incorrect myth that the US was formed as a Christian nation under Judeo-Christian ideals. Their members have been pushing this goal of a Christian nation holy in the sight of god through congress and in the courts. Mike Pence is an evangelical as is Mike Pompeo. Pence has long touted making decisions based on his religious views. Brags about it.
        Pompeo just gave a speech in the Israeli settlements area of Palestine using religion as a keystone of the US policy for Israel. By his own words he feels it is duty to push his Christianity views on others. Here is a great work on the subject. A Theology of Power: Mike Pence and the Dominionists
        https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/01/30/a-theology-of-power-mike-pence-and-the-dominionists/

        In The Shadow President, D’Antonio and Eisner detail how Trump picked Pence as his running mate largely to cement relations with evangelicals and hard-right conservatives, and also because of the sameness that Trump and Pence have on many issues.

        “Humble superiority had been Pence’s default setting during his twelve years in Congress and four as Indiana’s governor, where his blending of religion and politics had alienated fellow Republicans, who noted he could be harsh in his treatment of his opponents and stubborn in his beliefs,” they write. “When Pence denied climate change or questioned the fact that smoking causes cancer, they saw unseemly and irrational arrogance. His disregard for science and other realms of expertise made him more like President Trump than many Americans understood.”

        They describe intense evangelical doings at The White House. They write about evangelist Ralph Drollinger “who imagines himself to be a prophet” and is “the leader of the Trump Cabinet’s weekly prayer meetings, which Mike Pence attended with regularity.” They cite a comment of Drollinger in 2017 that the U.S. government’s “God-given responsibility” and “primary calling is to moralize a fallen world through the use of force.”

        Did I mention the nearly mandatory Christian bible study for cabinet members in the administration?

        Every Wednesday, some of the world’s most powerful people meet in a conference room in Washington DC to learn about God.

        The location can’t be revealed – the Secret Service won’t allow it – but the members can.

        Vice-President Mike Pence. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Energy Secretary Rick Perry. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The list goes on.

        In total, 10 cabinet members are “sponsors” of the group. Not everyone attends every meeting – they are busy people – but they go if they can.

        Meetings last between 60 and 90 minutes, and members are free to contact the teacher after-hours.

        Inside the White House Bible Study group https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43534724 now this was from way back in April 2018 and has only gotten worse.

        But what about Congress you may ask. Shoot Becky it is spreading there also, with Republican legislators pushing their evangelical views of Christianity on their staff and anyone else they can rope in. I wont post a bunch of links because this is getting long, but a quick google of congress / senate / House of representatives ( take your pick or do all of them ) and bible study or religion. One thing you will get back if you do it on the state leves is Christian legislators who are even more open about pushing god on their state and that only Christianity is the allowed religion, Muslims shouldn’t be allowed in government. Yes these are elected officials.

        Be well. Hugs

        Like

          • Hello Nan. I knew when I used three links it would go to moderation, I have my blog set the same way. I figured you would catch it or if not I would mention it in a day or two. Most of what I wrote has already been addressed, but I was unaware of that until I reread all the comments after I did the reply from my own blog. I am a couple days behind, yesterday I did not feel well, today I have slept most of the day and soon will be going back to bed. More comments / replies pushed back a day.

            As for the link I am fine with your judgement on removing it. I don’t even know which one it was. I had about thirty or more open from google I was using for the research and I was trying hard to cut the reply way down. Had it been my blog I might have used a lot of the state ones I pulled up, but … Ya, length. I need an editor I think. 😀😄😋😎😏 Hugs

            Liked by 1 person

        • Scottie, thank you so much for both of your comments and the links. You put a lot of time into your response. I appreciate it. Hope you are feeling much better.

          I’ll share some of my own thoughts with you. I totally agree with you that our country was not founded as a “Christian nation.” We certainly were not founded as a theocracy. Thank God. 🙂

          However, I don’t think it’s possible to study history, from my perspective, and not conclude that we were very much founded in Judeo-Christian heritage and principles. I mean the Declaration of Independence references the creator. Every state constitution references the divine or God. I personally don’t have a problem with cabinet members being part of a Bible study on Capital Hill or a prayer group as long as this is not mandatory. People’s values either way will influence how they feel or advocate for policies. That’s to be expected. But, this is not the same as advocating for theocracy.

          One way I disagree with many of my conservative evangelical brothers and sisters is that many seem to equate a conservative/libertarian political view as being the only position that a follower of Christ might have. I know this is not true. My own views are more libertarian. But, trust me, there are many very committed followers of Christ who are quite progressive politically, even embracing socialism really. On the other hand, there are atheist/agnostic folks who are very conservative/libertarian politically. It’s just not this definitive black/white division that many people suppose.

          I agree that there are folks out there who are dominionists, perhaps even in govt., but I truly do not see this as a significant threat. Perhaps I am wrong and as Nan stated living in a “cocoon of comfort. ” I certainly hope not.

          But, theocracy is truly the anti-thesis of a more conservative/libertarian position, IMO. It would mean more top-down government control not less. Who would support this, really, neither conservatives nor progressives? There would be civil war.

          Anyway, Scottie, we just look at so many of these issues very differently. I appreciate all conversations to try and bridge the divide and come to a deeper understanding.

          Blessings to you and your husband. Please stay safe and well.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Becky, I know your reply was to Scottie, but you made one comment that I can’t let pass. You wrote:

            we were very much founded in Judeo-Christian heritage and principles. I mean the Declaration of Independence references the creator.

            This remark/belief is a fallacy that continues to circulate among believers.

            You are correct in that the Declaration of Independence refers to a “Creator.” It also includes the terms “Nature’s God” and “Divine Providence.” However, there is no mention of a “Judeo-Christian” god.

            Further, it’s important to remember that Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, was himself a deist who was opposed to many traditional Christian doctrines, in particular beliefs about the supernatural.

            Please consult this article for more information.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Well, I can see your point to some extent. But, the culture at the time was steeped in Judeo-Christian heritage. For the most part, it’s what they knew. When these folks referred to God or to the divine, they were not thinking about Allah. 🙂 For the most part, I feel like they were referring to the God referenced in the Judaeo-Christian Scriptures. I mean who is the Divine Providence? What would have been their frame of reference at that time?

              Jefferson’s views seem conflicted to me depending on his stage of life. But, I would agree with you. I don’t think he was a Christian believer since he could not affirm the trinity or the deity of Jesus Christ.

              Anyway, I know this is a subject of great debate even among Christian believers. Appreciate the input.

              Like

            • “Deists believe in the existence of God, on purely rational grounds, without any reliance on revealed religion, religious authority, or holy text.” IOW, Jesus, the so-called founder of Christianity, does not enter the picture. There are no “Judeo-Christian” beliefs involved.

              Christians have tried for years to make the DOI a Christian document, but it simply isn’t. It does reference a higher being via various titles (as I previously mentioned), but this does NOT mean that being is the Christian god.

              Why is it so difficult for people to accept there is a difference in a Deistic god and a Christian god?

              Liked by 3 people

            • Well, I think it’s pretty darn confusing. 🙂

              People define deism in different ways. Perhaps many were “Christian deists.” I’m serious, Nan.

              . How can someone affirm the providence of God and classical deism at the same time? How could someone based in reason alone know that all men are created equal and have these specific inalienable rights given by a creator? Where does this knowledge and information come from? What is it’s foundation?

              Honestly, I’ve tried to study this objectively myself. The founders quoted Scripture all over the place, and it seems to me that some of their views changed and evolved over time.

              Anyway, I”m no scholar. I think we can find agreement in that the Declaration was not meant to be specifically a Christian document or form a theocracy. Probably we disagree about the extent of impact and influence of Judeo-Christian heritage that was there in our founding and early history.

              Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Becky. In my last reply I explained how Dominionism is spreading in our government. Now I would like to address some other thing you wrote.

        Dave Rubin. I would be careful believing what he says. You can follow his progression from being a liberal to now he is full on conservative by the jobs he has held, the increase in his salary, and the size of his homes. He clearly wanted the money and it was on the right despite the myth of the greatest payman to ever live George Soros. Rubin started on the TYT Network. The disagreements he had there were not policy but financial. He wanted more money. The owner Cenk Uygur has often talked of his time at MSNBC and how to make those big host dollars there were narratives they had to follow. He wouldn’t do it and left to start his own online network. I would recommend you watch some of the clips on Youtube it may give you someone to yell at. Well if MSNBC has narratives to follow you know Fox News and other far right wing media does. Like the Blaze, where Rubin is now. If you think Fox might have narratives, The Blaze was started after Beck was thrown off Fox for being too crazy right wing. Recently I watched a clip of Rubin on the Majority Report with Sam Seeder. If you are interested in analysis of news and policies from a more moderate left leaning perspective I suggest you start there. Again it is online / podcast so the people are talking how they really feel, not what the company line is. They occasionally go over a pronouncement of Rubin’s and show how hollow it is and how it makes no sense when examined. I suggest if you want to see the other side of Rubin’s arguments you google “majority report and dave rubin”. The results are illuminating. I was just watching a clip from Nov 27, 2020 that is talking about Rubin’s conversion.

        Oh sorry one last thing. Really this time.

        Becky one last thing on the cake issue. Sorry I have never been to a wedding where the cake maker was celebrated? Never had it come up in the event. Sorry making the cake in no way makes you a participant nor is endorsing the wedding than the guy paving the street is endorsing a make of car. This is the victimhood that currently the evangelical Christians are pushing to make it seem their rights are being trod on. They are framing every issue around assumed Christian privilege and it really is simply the desire to push the idea of special rights for Christianity. Notice they never take cases to court where other religions are victions, or put upon? Nope just the poor Christians being asked to make cakes, signs, or invitations for same sex weddings and let icky same sex couples otherwise approved adopt children needing homes. The adoption issue is more about pushing religion on kids hoping they will stay in the church than about icky gay stuff as they think gays won’t teach good bible to the kiddies. Or the current one making the way through the courts, Christian churches should get taxpayer money for non-preaching stuff like the buildings, the utilities, and oh with Covid , they should get the preachers salaries. Yes actual cases being pushed. They pay no tax but sure want some of the money.

        When you realize this is about gaining privilege enshrined in the law it then makes much more sense. Think of the things over the generations Christian churches have lost, like blue laws closing stores on Sunday, expected church attendance of most of the community, automatically getting their religious symbols displayed at Christmas along with the “put Christ back in Christmas” signs I see each year here. These new court cases where they get to freely not do stuff by law because they are sincerely held beliefs sure open the door to a lot more deeply held beliefs that the church wants. The Christian church is not the victim here, the Christian evangelicals are the aggressors trying to carve out special rights for Christians. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Nan, just a few weeks ago, a local church had an outbreak of 85 or so COVID-19 cases and a couple of folks died. Where do restrictive laws need to stop – wearing seatbelts infringes on my comfort, eg? The laws are intended to protect the body public. My opinion is most people will be smart about attending large gatherings, but many will not. Some of that many even believe that doing what we need to do is a personal attack on an untruthful president or the whole thing is a hoax.

    Unfortunately, laws cannot fix poor decisions. But, if they are devised to help the body public and not discriminate for religion, race, ethnicity, etc. at the expense of others, then they should be abided by.

    I am reminded of a true event where one of my teenagers did not want to take a coat to a football game as he was in the marching band. I knew it would be very cold outdoors with the wind blowing. I said my job as a parent is to get you to take this and your job is to take it and bring it home. Whether you wear it is up to you. He was wearing it when we showed up for the game. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Good book on viruses called Spillover by David Quammen. A notable book of the year on NYT review. Chock full of research and information. And written in 2012…before Covid

    Liked by 2 people

  14. “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”

    Bike shops and liquor stores simply aren’t comparable businesses to a church. In churches people tend to gather for long periods of time, and sit beside other people not from their households. The conservative justices on the court seem to be of the opinion that if any business that is treated “better” than a church is somehow discrimination, even if those businesses aren’t comparable. It’s insanity.

    The question that should be asked is: How are comparable businesses being treated, and are church services being treated in a discriminatory manner compared to them? I somehow doubt that movie theaters, and gyms, were ever being subjected to lesser restrictions than what these church services were.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, Zoe, these people whoever they are have clearly “jumped the shark.” No one is going to be shooting anyone. God have mercy!!

    Like

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