First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
While I do not criticize churches from closing physical meetings because of concerns about COVID-19, I am deeply concerned about churches closing their meetings in response to a Government mandate. Some Believers are passionate about their faith and God’s ability to protect them. Other ones may be skittish about contracting COVID-19. The skittish one and everyone with symptoms can remain at home. But when it comes to faith, the Government does not have to right to determine what measure of faith we have or how we should demonstrate that faith by mandating we cannot assemble.
Some lawyers opine, such as Richard Hammer of the Assemblies of God, that the churches must ignore their trust in God’s protection and close or face litigation and possibly forced closings by law enforcement. Other ones declare that it is a violation of the First Amendment. I agree with the latter group.
To even mandate that business should close there must be a provable compelling reason. There is a compelling reason to believe that the COVID-19 crisis is media-hyped and fear-driven. On paper, the stats and other essential information concerning COVID-19, do not add up to a crisis. Compared to a normal flu season, COPID-19 is not likely to affect a large number of people as the flu virus. In the majority of affected individuals, it has not proven any more deadly than the flu. Continue reading