The Governor of Virginia has decided to ban churches from gathering in groups of ten or more.
The executive order applies to all gatherings, not just churches, so it is arguable constitutional. But it also directly infringes on the First Amendment right to assemble and to freely exercise one’s religion. It actually makes it a crime to meet for church.
Inarguably, it makes sense for churches to not meet right now. In Arkansas, 35 members of a congregation have contracted the Wuhan virus after gathering. That gathering came before the CDC recommended canceling crowded events. In Georgia, the pandemic spread through the southern part of the state because an unknowingly infected preacher preached a funeral. Just under half the deaths in Georgia can be traced to that funeral service.
Churches should use common sense and avoid gathering right now. But it is a fundamental right under the Bill of Rights and the Governor should have used the moral power of his office to work with churches instead of the hard power of state demands.
I am curious to know what Joe Biden thinks about the Governor criminalizing church. The presidential candidate has tried a few misfired outings on television, mostly to criticize the President. Will anyone ask him if he thinks people should be charged with a crime for meeting to worship?