In my opinion, the unequal treatment of churches during this manufactured panic reveals another fundamental truth.
Secular humanism leads to autocracy and tyranny.
Marxists, secular humanists, and totalitarian statists share a fear of religion. That fear is rooted in the idea that there is a power greater than the state and that power is vested in the individual’s free exercise of his religious beliefs. In such a society, government can never rule supreme.
One has to consider why community churches – gatherings where the environment is relatively static (can be effectively cleaned thoroughly between services), the timing of the events (churches hold limited number of services during the week) and the numbers in attendance can be controlled and managed (because the members are mostly known congregants) are closed – and Walmart, where it is much more difficult, if not impossible, to control the randomness of attendance of a unknown population (Walmart is open every day) and to disinfect such a large and volatile (inventory constantly being touched and changed) space, approaches normal operations (under modified, yet voluntary conditions of dubious effectiveness, of course).
A local official explained it to me this way last week: Walmart is essential, churches are not. Walmart provides food and supplies people need, churches do not.
So, I replied to that assertion by asking this: “What difference does the product or service provided make if the same safety/health policies are applied and followed? What if the churches can execute those policies MORE effectively than Walmart?”
“Well, people can pray and read their Bible at home,” was the reply.
“So what? You are still qualifying open/close decisions based on the product or service and not the conditions,” I said. “You are aware that the very first prohibition in the First Amendment is that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…’, right?”
“Well, public health takes precedence,” he said.
“That is where you are mistaken because this has nothing to do with public health, I replied. “This has to do with unequal treatment under the law and the only reason I can see that Walmart takes precedent over a church is that our government, from top to bottom, has an animosity toward religion and sees it as if it was simple entertainment – just like going to the movies.”
“That’s not true. Many of our elected officials go to church, too,” he noted.
“Again, so what? How is that even relevant to the evidence staring us in the face? Walmart is open every day, including Sunday, and our local churches have not had an in-sanctuary Sunday morning, Sunday night or mid-week service of bible study since March. Walmart isn’t having to sue to hold public services.”
“Well, that’s just the policy.”
“Then the ‘policy’ is wrong. This is not about essential vs. non-essential at all, it isn’t even based on any legitimate, rational analysis of risk- this is a policy based on a secular humanist preference and choosing winners and losers and I’m embarrassed that we have devolved so far that more people don’t see it.”
We terminated the discussion at this point because I was getting nowhere. I started to get the “I’m just the local guy doing what the government tells me – the old “I’m just following orders” excuse. It amazes me that so many people just do not have the ability (or desire) to recognize the destruction of our rights and the internal strength to stand up and just say “no”.
In my view, the “just following orders” reaction to the policies established during the “pandemic” indicate we have lost our way as a constitutional republic.
I have come to realize that we really do have secular humanists (who are either useful idiots or totalitarian statists) among us who do not believe that government was established to derive its power from the consent of the governed – they believe that government is the ultimate power and exists to tell citizens what to do as the government sees fit.
These are people who believe that a church has no power to teach its members what it right and wrong based on its theology, there is only what the government and no morality except for what the government says there is. There seems to be a recognition that a frontal attack on religion will not succeed but starving churches by relegating religion to a lower class, lower than a Walmart, might just work.
We have elections coming up – if there are candidates our there who don’t get that this is representative of a larger issue, those people do not deserve your vote.