An open letter to the U.S. Congress

The Supreme Court made a judicial error lifting NY religious attendance limits

11 so far! Let’s get to 25 signers!

On Wednesday, November 25th The U.S. Supreme Court committed a judicial error by lifting New York Governor Cuomo's attendance limits. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues were granted requests to complain about attendance limits in their houses of worship. These attendance limits were science-based decisions intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. Instead of separating church and state, instead of listening to the science, instead of ignoring the request because we’re in the middle of a global pandemic (which they have done to two similar requests in the summer) - the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision sided with religion over science. Religious institutions should not have special privileges like this, especially in matters of life and death. The Supreme Court should not have butted in to interfere with the state’s COVID-19 safety measures – especially considering the federal government’s lack of response. This sets a dangerous and ludicrous precedent – now anyone can claim to ignore any safety measures and defend it based on religious grounds. The most egregious part of this to me is this bold-faced lie in an unsigned opinion: "Not only is there no evidence that the applicants have contributed to the spread of COVID–19 but there are many other less restrictive rules that could be adopted to minimize the risk to those attending religious services." Aside from quantifiable data scientists have gathered on the transmissibility of COVID-19 among closely gathered people in enclosed areas, the CDC itself has evidence of COVID-19 infections and deaths from large gatherings in houses of worship (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6920e2.htm)! Is the U.S. Supreme Court seriously arguing that the applicants would personally need to have contributed to the spread of the virus before attendance limits would be justified? Their official legal defense is that restrictions on crowd sizes would be an infringement on the right to the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment, which is absurd. Churches across the country have been having gatherings over Zoom. These people aren't even prevented from going to their houses of worship - the only restriction is the number of people allowed inside at one time. Freedom of religion should be treated like other freedoms - your freedom ends where mine begins. Your freedom of religion can put yourself in danger, but the moment it puts other people's lives in danger that freedom ends. By allowing these people to gather closely during this pandemic, despite all credible science recommending otherwise, the Supreme Court has ruled to allow super-spreader events for the sake of religion. They have ruled that religion supersedes science and have blurred the separation between church and state, which is not the sort of thing we can allow in this country.

First sent on November 28, 2020 by Alex

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