The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against the state of New York and Governor Andrew Cuomo in a late night emergency ruling barring the state from reimposing limits on religious gatherings. [full pdf here]
In the 5-4 ruling the newest supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett sided with the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, while justice John Roberts sides with the liberal justices in the minority, but seems to agree on the merits.
“Stemming the spread of COVID–19 is unquestionably a compelling interest, but it is hard to see how the challenged regulations can be regarded as ‘narrowly tailored,’” the court wrote in an unsigned opinion.
“They are far more restrictive than any COVID–related regulations that have previously come before the Court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard-hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus at the applicants’ services.”
“It is hard to believe that admitting more than 10 people to a 1,000–seat church or 400–seat synagogue would create a more serious health risk than the many other activities that the State allows.” (full pdf)
CTH – […] Not only are various governmental agencies forcing the separation of people from their community networks, we are also seeing faith-based organizations, churches, buying into the fear. Even in areas where churches are not forcibly shut down, many are seeing a structural shift where some faith leaders are willingly ostracizing their community under the guise of various COVID alarms. This is not good…. not good at all.
Fellowship is the essential ingredient to a purposeful life. How and why we interact with each-other is how and why we recharge our core humanity. To see faith leaders willing to separate from the function of fellowship is alarming. However, as individuals we must not allow this foreboding sense to become the normal expectation.
Throughout history large armies have been defeated through the process of division. It is not a leap to see the same strategic objectives being deployed against social assemblies including congregations. It is puzzling how leadership cannot see the danger in social and spiritual distance when the bond of fellowship is needed more than ever.
Each of us has a different connection to our community. Each of us has a different level of internal strength… such is the nature of living. However, the distance between people is manifestly not a good outcome when combined with the lack of food for the soul. (more)