Saturday, a federal judge in Kansas blocked Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order restricting church services in the name of stopping the coronavirus. As the state attorney general, who opposed Kelly’s order, put it, the government can tell churches that they shouldn’t hold services during this time, but it doesn’t have the power to ban them. This is the latest of several cases across America where judges have had to remind liberal officials that they don’t have the power to rescind the First Amendment.
While it is certainly prudent for churches to protect their members by holding online services or drive-in services (although even those have been targeted for no good reason), the judge in this case pointed out that the Governor’s ban on large public gatherings includes 26 secular exceptions, including bars, libraries and shopping malls. Her order seems to specifically, and unconstitutionally, target religion. For instance, the judge noted that a large group could meet in an office building to conduct a real estate deal, but not to hold a Bible study.
Gov. Kelly vowed to fight the judge’s order, saying, “This is not about religion. This is about a public health crisis.” I’d say it’s about more than that. It’s about a public health crisis and about how some public officials will use a crisis to advance a political agenda. We all want to stamp out the coronavirus, but let’s make sure that in the process, we don’t succumb to an even worse virus that kills off our Constitutional rights.