New York Mayor Bill deBlasio said over the weekend that churches and synagogues that continue to meet in the city could be shut down permanently for defying his stay-at-home order.
“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services,” deBlasio said at a press conference, the Daily Wire reported.
“I don’t say that with any joy. It’s the last thing I would like to do because I understand how important people’s faiths are to them, and we need our faiths in this time of crisis, but we do not need gatherings that will endanger people,” he continued.
DeBlasio did not mention mosques in his statement, and it was not clear whether or not they were cooperating with the stay-at-home order.
Most houses of worship cooperating
He said that most houses of worship were cooperating with the order not to assemble, Fox News reported. Many have been holding virtual worship services instead of in-person ones.
He called on those who see services taking place to go to church or synagogue officials and request that they be stopped. Those that refuse could face “additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently,” he said, according to Daily Wire.
Religious leaders and fans of the constitution wasted no time speaking out about the mayor’s comments.
Red State’s Dana Pico said deBlasio “takes first prize in the fascist authoritarian derby” and is violating the First Amendment with his order. She likened the threats to some of Hitler’s actions prior to WWII and marveled that people who have been screaming about how President Donald Trump is a fascist since 2016 are just meekly accepting these actions by Democrat governors and mayors.
LifeSite also said that Catholic priests should disobey the orders if they feel it is important to do so, noting that the soul needs to be above the body and that ” Mass is as essential as food and drink.”
Freedoms under fire
The order by deBlasio not only tramples on the First Amendment’s freedom of religion, but also the right to assemble. Churches and other groups need to be able to make their own decisions about whether to meet.
So many choices are being taken away by the government right now, and the vast majority of people are going along with it even though it violates the Constitution in multiple ways. The question is, will those rights come back after the crisis has passed?