Democrat Governor Gives Up Church Shutdowns After Supreme Court Smacks Down Cuomo
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced yesterday that the Supreme Court’s ruling against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions on churches had prompted him to drop similar policies. In Colorado, the state is being sued by High Plains Harvest Church, which was suing over a 50% occupancy limit. Polis said in a statement,
After careful consideration and consultation with counsel, Colorado amended its public health order to ensure that it complied with the Court’s free exercise framework by removing all numerical capacity restrictions from houses of worship, no matter which level of the public health order dial applies in a particular county. Houses of worship remain categorized as critical businesses in Colorado — but now with no more, or different, restrictions than any other critical business.”
Of course, that last line gets to the heart of it. Freedom of worship is protected by the First Amendment. If you want to curtail that for any reason, not only do you need an extremely good reason, you better be able to show that no one else is getting preferential treatment. In other words, you shouldn’t be able to say Wal-Mart is allowed to have 50% capacity, but a church can only have 25%.
Yet, that is exactly what is happening in many parts of the country. John Roberts, who has conservative leanings, but tends to be a coward about expressing them in cases with even a whiff of controversy, has been voting with the liberal justices on the issue. However, when Amy Coney Barrett joined the court, things changed. Andrew Cuomo, who had imposed 10-25 person limits on church attendance, lost his case in front of the court. That’s why Polis changed his policy, which should never have been in place in the first place.
There’s a lot to be said for turning the other cheek, but Christians should have raised so much hell over these restrictions that governors would be too afraid for their political futures to put them in place. A governor that is discriminating against you based on your religion is a serious situation. More Christians should be treating it that way.