The Corporate Law Group

Religious Liberty

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”  Extended to the several states by the 14th Amendment, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”  (Passed primarily to apply the 13th Amendment prohibition of slavery to the states).

One of the sad facts of Covid (among thousands) is that it has pit the state against places of worship.  On one side is civil authority that doesn’t want to see mass sickness and doesn’t want to see its authority questioned.  On the other a priesthood that sees the societal harm of isolation, and views heavy handed state action with some healthy skepticism.  This is not in any way limited to Christianity but it is worth noting that Hebrews 10:25 commends us to, “not forsake your gathering together.”

“Well,” you say, “the first amended prohibition on prohibiting free exercise needs to read with nuance.”  But, we ask, what is unclear about “No law…prohibiting free exercise”?  And if we are not to read the Constitution as it is written where does that nuanced interpretation end?  With the latest passion of the majority?  That’s not for me.

One of the things (among hundreds) that the state does not fully consider when commanding our lives is that every single person on the planet is different and our erstwhile rulers are not smart enough to anticipate all of the consequences of their action.  Henry Hazlitt wrote a great book in 1946 called Economics in One Lesson.  That book, in tale after tale, identifies just a few of the harmful things caused by state action.  More recently in You’re Hired, former CEA economist Casey Mulligan lays out how government action made the opioid crisis worse.

The simple truth is that civil authority has no idea what harm they are causing by prohibiting religious services.   Congress shall make no law.  Want to stay healthy?  Are you an adult, capable of caring for yourself?  Ask those you meet if they have attended a mass religious service.  Or a mass protest.  Or a mass motorcycle rally.  Avoid them if you want.  Over 80?  Stay home. 

Can you run your own life?  Give that benefit to others then too.  Let them protest.  Or ride a motorcycle.  Or worship.  Trying to prevent these things is tyranny.  We fought a war against an imperial power and wrote it down so that civil authority would not do these things.  Civil authority needs to understand that.

It’s not complicated.  It’s really quite simple.  Make no law.