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SCOTUS Justice Alito: "Religious Liberty Is In Danger Of Becoming A Second-Class Right"


smac97

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On 11/13/2020 at 4:48 PM, smac97 said:

He's not wrong:

"Enormous executive discretion" is legal/political jargong meaning "The government, particularly the executive branch (POTUS and state governors) get to do pretty much whatever they want."

Yes, I'm sure the governor of Nevada will surrender the emergency powers he's received during this crisis.

Palpatine made the same promise, you know.

Yep.

We, as Latter-day Saints, need to be okay with other people holding "unpopular religious beliefs."  Because our beliefs are unpopular in many quarters.

Justice Alito is quite right here.  This point needs to be made again and again.  When the government imposes more restrictions on a constitutionally-protected right (to worship) than on non-constitutionally-protected rights (to gamble in a casino), we are in big trouble.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

-Smac

I am not buying your argument nor Alito's. Given the fact that during pandemic restrictions you can still worship. Technology allows you to do so virtually.  What a wonderful thing. You an still pray, worship privately, etc.  The restrictions on gathering are not forever. Interestingly the LDS church led the way on this and still does. The Church started restricting gatherings well before general lockdowns.

Religion still has significant and protected benefits under our constitution and laws. One could argue that during the past four years the religious right has had significant influence and power through the president they sold their would to.  And given the make up of the SC they will have a lot more influence for quite sometime. Religion likes to cry out persecution when none exist and LDS persons excel at this. Try being an open atheist in run for office and see how that goes.

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On 11/26/2020 at 8:07 AM, smac97 said:

This is not to say that religious gatherings should be completely unfettered by COVID-related concerns.  Rather, I think the issue here is that restrictions on religious gatherings and groups should at least be on equal footing with restrictions on other types of activities.

I agree that equity should be the goal.  My argument has been that the inequity is not an intentional and concerted attack on religious liberty that will have any lasting effect or impact.  I have always argued that the specific inequities should be argued in court, but that we don't have reason to fear that our liberties are in any real lasting threat.  I think the inequities are largely innocent attempts to weigh and address the unique risks in different industries.  Religious gatherings with singing and more social interactions are much higher risk than many of these "other types of activities" listed, and I think officials should take those risk factors into consideration when issuing restrictions. That is what is being done in other industries.  Bars and pubs, for example, have largely received much more strict restrictions than restaurants and other related industries because of the increased risk they pose.  I have no doubt that there have been inequities and unfair treatment in many different industries, not just religion.   Expecting perfect equity in a scenario like this should not be expected.  This thing came out of nowhere and nobody was prepared to deal with it.  We work out the kinks through the courts and move on.  Nothing to fear here.  It is temporary.  It will go away.  The 10th amendment powers cannot be induced/applied in perpetuity.  It will have no lasting impact on religious liberty.  I don't think we are fully appreciating the difficulties our elected officials are up against in measuring out equitable treatment while attempting to weigh associated risks with different industries/activities.  It is a monumental task and I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to judging their intentions when inequities are found.

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, Bob Crockett said:

No freaking way.  You're kidding of course?

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/11/26/939264852/supreme-court-says-new-york-cant-limit-attendance-in-houses-of-worship-due-to-co

Quote

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily barred New York from enforcing strict attendance limits on places of worship in areas designated coronavirus hot spots, in a decision released just before midnight on Wednesday.

 

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3 hours ago, pogi said:

I agree that equity should be the goal.  My argument has been that the inequity is not an intentional and concerted attack on religious liberty that will have any lasting effect or impact.  I have always argued that the specific inequities should be argued in court, but that we don't have reason to fear that our liberties are in any real lasting threat.  I think the inequities are largely innocent attempts to weigh and address the unique risks in different industries.  Religious gatherings with singing and more social interactions are much higher risk than many of these "other types of activities" listed, and I think officials should take those risk factors into consideration when issuing restrictions. That is what is being done in other industries.  Bars and pubs, for example, have largely received much more strict restrictions than restaurants and other related industries because of the increased risk they pose.  I have no doubt that there have been inequities and unfair treatment in many different industries, not just religion.   Expecting perfect equity in a scenario like this should not be expected.  This thing came out of nowhere and nobody was prepared to deal with it.  We work out the kinks through the courts and move on.  Nothing to fear here.  It is temporary.  It will go away.  The 10th amendment powers cannot be induced/applied in perpetuity.  It will have no lasting impact on religious liberty.  I don't think we are fully appreciating the difficulties our elected officials are up against in measuring out equitable treatment while attempting to weigh associated risks with different industries/activities.  It is a monumental task and I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to judging their intentions when inequities are found.

Like racism, the inequities that to be corrected need not be intentional or concerted to warrant attention for prevention and removal.

So, the argument needs to show whether these inequities have any lasting effect or impact, which is a projection based on interpreting trends regarding societal attitudes toward religion and government control and incidents requiring government intervention.

At the very least, if not corrected, inequities will be lasting (goes without saying). So, the argument then needs to show whether these inequities are impactful, which gets back to the trends: are attitudes and incidents of concern on the increase? I think they are.

Innocent attempts, unfair treatment elsewhere, expecting perfect equity, working out the kinks, the constitution forbids it, the system works in the long run, the difficulties of governance by elected officials, and giving our leaders the benefit of the doubt are all arguments to downplay the importance of correcting racial inequities through policy (both formal and informal). I think the parallel is most instructive.

Edited by CV75
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53 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Like racism, the inequities that to be corrected need not be intentional or concerted to warrant attention for prevention and removal.

So, the argument needs to show whether these inequities have any lasting effect or impact, which is a projection based on interpreting trends regarding societal attitudes toward religion and government control and incidents requiring government intervention.

At the very least, if not corrected, inequities will be lasting (goes without saying). So, the argument then needs to show whether these inequities are impactful, which gets back to the trends: are attitudes and incidents of concern on the increase? I think they are.

Innocent attempts, unfair treatment elsewhere, expecting perfect equity, working out the kinks, the constitution forbids it, the system works in the long run, the difficulties of governance by elected officials, and giving our leaders the benefit of the doubt are all arguments to downplay the importance of correcting racial inequities through policy (both formal and informal). I think the parallel is most instructive.

Do you have any evidence that inequitable and temporary restrictions (where they exist) have soured perspectives on religious liberty?  What about on bars or other industries that have received inequitable treatment?  Have opinions about their constitutional rights been soured due to inequitable and temporary restrictions?  Why would it be different for religion?

As I have said, all we can do is fix inequities in court.  Government restrictions on religious gatherings during a pandemic have once again been held up by the supreme court.  It is constitutional, despite the many claims to the contrary in previous threads.  The government can and should place restrictions on religious gatherings in the face of public health emergencies.  They need to try to be equitable.  We need to correct inequities where they exist.   If anything, I predict that all of this has bolstered efforts to protect religious liberty and has played to its favor in terms of public perspective and long-term effects.  8 out of 10 people are strongly in favor of religious liberty.  I have seen zero evidence that inequitable restrictions has hurt that.  

 

 

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Do you have any evidence that inequitable and temporary restrictions (where they exist) have soured perspectives on religious liberty?  What about on bars or other industries that have received inequitable treatment?  Have opinions about their constitutional rights been soured due to inequitable and temporary restrictions?  Why would it be different for religion?

As I have said, all we can do is fix inequities in court.  Government restrictions on religious gatherings during a pandemic have once again been held up by the supreme court.  It is constitutional, despite the many claims to the contrary in previous threads.  The government can and should place restrictions on religious gatherings in the face of public health emergencies.  They need to try to be equitable.  We need to correct inequities where they exist.   If anything, I predict that all of this has bolstered efforts to protect religious liberty and has played to its favor in terms of public perspective and long-term effects.  8 out of 10 people are strongly in favor of religious liberty.  I have seen zero evidence that inequitable restrictions has hurt that.  

I am addressing your point that "the inequity is not an intentional and concerted attack on religious liberty that will have any lasting effect or impact." Are you now saying there is no evidence of inequity?

I am not making the point that inequitable and temporary restrictions (where they exist) have soured perspectives on religious liberty. I think we've been around that derail already.

I am making the point that the inequities (where you acknowledge they exist) need not be intentional or concerted to warrant attention.

I am also pointing out that your arguments suggesting that the examples of inequity are innocent attempts, are paralleled with unfair treatment in protecting other and other's rights, reasonably expected in an imperfect system, are understandable kinks in a novel situation that will be worked out, constitutionally forbidden, should cause alarm or concern since the system works in the long run, difficult for elected officials avoid, and are less important than giving our leaders the benefit of the doubt are all arguments used to downplay the need to correcting racial inequities through policy.

The evidence for trends of problematic attitudes and incidents have been presented throughout this thread, and evidently you acknowledge these in your assertion that "the inequity is not an intentional and concerted attack on religious liberty that will have any lasting effect or impact." I see zero evidence for that and the justification more than  woefully lacking.

Edited by CV75
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Horray for the religious victory.  Now let's hope that religion is prepared for the backlash when hospitals and morgues start stacking up as a direct result of their religious victory.  Because obviously, the government restricting crowd size was due to their hatred of religion and had nothing to do with controlling a virus that knows no sect.

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4 hours ago, california boy said:

Horray for the religious victory.  Now let's hope that religion is prepared for the backlash when hospitals and morgues start stacking up as a direct result of their religious victory.  Because obviously, the government restricting crowd size was due to their hatred of religion and had nothing to do with controlling a virus that knows no sect.

If religious groups being able to follow the same covid restrictions as secular groups (which as per the SCOTUS submission is all they wanted) is going to lead to a large increase in cases, then clearly the restrictions on the secular groups weren't strict enough.

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15 hours ago, california boy said:

Horray for the religious victory.  Now let's hope that religion is prepared for the backlash when hospitals and morgues start stacking up as a direct result of their religious victory.  Because obviously, the government restricting crowd size was due to their hatred of religion and had nothing to do with controlling a virus that knows no sect.

Did you read the opinion(s)?

Edited by Kenngo1969
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21 hours ago, pogi said:

Do you have any evidence that inequitable and temporary restrictions (where they exist) have soured perspectives on religious liberty?  What about on bars or other industries that have received inequitable treatment?  Have opinions about their constitutional rights been soured due to inequitable and temporary restrictions?  Why would it be different for religion?

As I have said, all we can do is fix inequities in court.  Government restrictions on religious gatherings during a pandemic have once again been held up by the supreme court.  It is constitutional, despite the many claims to the contrary in previous threads.  The government can and should place restrictions on religious gatherings in the face of public health emergencies.  They need to try to be equitable.  We need to correct inequities where they exist.   If anything, I predict that all of this has bolstered efforts to protect religious liberty and has played to its favor in terms of public perspective and long-term effects.  8 out of 10 people are strongly in favor of religious liberty.  I have seen zero evidence that inequitable restrictions has hurt that.  

 

 

Well the recent SC ruling on NYS's restriction on religious gatherings seems to now take a different view.  And thus we see the impact of Amy Coney Barrett. Whoever said the SC is not a political body?

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3 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Did you read the opinion(s)?

I am not a lawyer and find most opinions as they are written to be tedious and boring.  But I have read the summaries and relevant points made in the brief.   Personally I don't buy for one minute that not attending a physical church is vital to practicing or worshiping your religion.  No one was prohibited from worshiping.  Can you or anyone else honestly say that you have not been able to practice their religion since March?  

And yes I see a big difference between a church and a bus station, airports, laundromats, banks, hardware stores and liquor shops. As far as I know, I can't get a bike repaired, my laundry done or travel just by viewing the internet.  I can however gather with other fellow worshipers through the internet and worship.  

I am not upset about this "victory".  Frankly if that is what religion needs in order to function, then go for it.  Gather in big groups.  Drink from the same chalice.  Sing and hug all you want.  Just be prepared to deal with the backlash and the deaths.  But let's not pretend that there won't be real consequences.  Having a Supreme Court ruling does nothing give religion some kind of super protection from the consequences of this virus. It knows no religion.  It knows no first amendment right.  It knows no political party. It just spreads, infects and kills most effectively when large  indoor gatherings occur.  The tighter people are packed in, the more efficiently it spreads.  

Edited by california boy
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On 11/27/2020 at 1:41 PM, Calm said:

I wonder if the rational for this decision just pushed Justice Roberts further to the left when he hears the argument put up by the right to justify their position.  It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.  

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13 minutes ago, california boy said:

I am not a lawyer and find most opinions as they are written to be tedious and boring. 

Thankfully the founders were not all a bunch of lawyers.  Can you imagine what would happen if a new Constitution was written up today.  It would be 2000 pages long filled with legal language that few could understand.

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43 minutes ago, california boy said:

As far as I know, I can't get a bike repaired, my laundry done or travel just by viewing the internet.  I can however gather with other fellow worshipers through the internet and worship.  

Can everyone use the internet to access though?  How many have to use libraries or cafes to get access to tech or actual internet?  Are there those who have to pay extra for minutes or data used?  Serious question as I am not the one who orders the coverage for us to know what is the minimum, what someone who needs a phone but is willing to do without to save money would have. 

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34 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

Thankfully the founders were not all a bunch of lawyers.  Can you imagine what would happen if a new Constitution was written up today.  It would be 2000 pages long filled with legal language that few could understand.

2/3 were, 32 out of 55. 

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41 minutes ago, california boy said:

I am not a lawyer and find most opinions as they are written to be tedious and boring.  

Given your not having read the opinions themselves, while, certainly, you are entitled to your views, it would seem that you lack adequate grounding to criticize those opinions.

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

But I have read the summaries and relevant points made in the brief.   Personally I don't buy for one minute that not attending a physical church is vital to practicing or worshiping your religion.

You're entitled to your opinion, but the thing is, it's not your call to make what is vital to the practice of someone else's religion and what is not.

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

No one was prohibited from worshiping.  Can you or anyone else honestly say that you have not been able to practice their religion since March?

Again, you're entitled to your opinion, but, again, it's not your call to make what constitutes an acceptable opportunity to practice someone else's religion and what does not.

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

 

And yes I see a big difference between a church and a bus station, airports, laundromats, banks, hardware stores and liquor shops. As far as I know, I can't get a bike repaired, my laundry done or travel just by viewing the internet.  I can however gather with other fellow worshipers through the internet and worship.  

Okay.  Do you see any difference between churches, on the one hand, and a casino, a pot shop, an entertainment venue, and so on, ad infinitum and, potentially, ad nauseam, on the other hand?

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

I am not upset about this "victory".  Frankly if that is what religion needs in order to function, then go for it.

I sense that someone is about to take a flamethrower to a large number of straw men.

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

 Gather in big groups.

Yep.  Sure enough.  There's a straw man.

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

 Drink from the same chalice.  

By golly, there's another one!

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

Sing and hug all you want.

And yet another one!  

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

Just be prepared to deal with the backlash and the deaths.

Dozens of deaths from COVID-19 in a church?  Front page!  Above the fold!  First edition!

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

 But let's not pretend that there won't be real consequences.

Dozens of deaths from COVID-19 anywhere else?  (Like at a pot shop, a casino, or an entertainment venue.)  Last page, last column, last edition of the day (conviently, after everyone has already bought a newspaper and figure they've already seen all of the "truly-newsworthy news"; as it were, anyway: Yes, I know no one gets his news from the newspaper anymore, but, still, the analogy holds.

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

 Having a Supreme Court ruling does nothing give religion some kind of super protection from the consequences of this virus.

Quite so.  I don't know anybody who's arguing that it does.

41 minutes ago, california boy said:

It knows no religion.  It knows no first amendment right.  It knows no political party. It just spreads, infects and kills most effectively when large  indoor gatherings occur.  The tighter people are packed in, the more efficiently it spreads.  

Nobody's asking for license to pack into churches like sardines.  It does seem incongruous, however, for the government to place more draconian restrictions on religion than on casinos, on pot shops, or on entertainment venues.

I know they're boring.  (Hell, if anyone knows how boring court opinions are, it's me: I've read thousands of them! :rolleyes:)  But you really should read the opinion.  It's per curiam, by the way, and that, alone, speaks volumes.

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4 hours ago, Teancum said:

Well the recent SC ruling on NYS's restriction on religious gatherings seems to now take a different view.  And thus we see the impact of Amy Coney Barrett. Whoever said the SC is not a political body?

As far as I understand, they still upheld restrictions on religious gatherings.  They just ruled that they need to be equitable. 

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23 hours ago, CV75 said:

I am addressing your point that "the inequity is not an intentional and concerted attack on religious liberty that will have any lasting effect or impact." Are you now saying there is no evidence of inequity?

I am not making the point that inequitable and temporary restrictions (where they exist) have soured perspectives on religious liberty. I think we've been around that derail already.

I am making the point that the inequities (where you acknowledge they exist) need not be intentional or concerted to warrant attention.

I am also pointing out that your arguments suggesting that the examples of inequity are innocent attempts, are paralleled with unfair treatment in protecting other and other's rights, reasonably expected in an imperfect system, are understandable kinks in a novel situation that will be worked out, constitutionally forbidden, should cause alarm or concern since the system works in the long run, difficult for elected officials avoid, and are less important than giving our leaders the benefit of the doubt are all arguments used to downplay the need to correcting racial inequities through policy.

The evidence for trends of problematic attitudes and incidents have been presented throughout this thread, and evidently you acknowledge these in your assertion that "the inequity is not an intentional and concerted attack on religious liberty that will have any lasting effect or impact." I see zero evidence for that and the justification more than  woefully lacking.

The difference is that governors have no power to place restrictions on religious gatherings beyond the pandemic/public health emergencies.  It is temporary. We are safe beyond the pandemic.  There is no chance of any restrictions beyond public health measures.  The same can't be said for racism.   

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

The difference is that governors have no power to place restrictions on religious gatherings beyond the pandemic/public health emergencies.  It is temporary. We are safe beyond the pandemic.  There is no chance of any restrictions beyond public health measures.  The same can't be said for racism.   

Perhaps you missed that my comparison to racism is limited to the shallow arguments for denying that there’s much of a problem, typically used to avoid adequately confronting it.

Using the limited scope of governors' current actions to argue against the continuing growth of preexisting trends is another poor argument against the concerns expressed in both these areas (religious and racial freedom). That the courts up to SCOTUS have to address it, “it” in this thread being religious freedom, indicates there’s a much bigger problem brewing than the immediate incidents at hand. Taking such a tactically-oriented approach cannot address the full extent of the problem. This is why Elder Bednar encourages us to reflect upon what is going on and how to act going forward.

In handling the pandemic, tactical, strategic, intelligence and leadership perspectives, roles and actions are well-integrated and coordinated (e.g. FEMA’s National Incident Management System with its ICS, EOC, MACS and JIS structures). It doesn’t bode well when any participant gets stuck their key role. It is like believing that one’s personal Meyers-Briggs style is best when all are equally valid and effective, but only when leveraged cooperatively.

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18 minutes ago, CV75 said:

Perhaps you missed that my comparison to racism is limited to the shallow arguments for denying that there’s much of a problem, typically used to avoid adequately confronting it.

Using the limited scope of governors' current actions to argue against the continuing growth of preexisting trends is another poor argument against the concerns expressed in both these areas (religious and racial freedom). That the courts up to SCOTUS have to address it, “it” in this thread being religious freedom, indicates there’s a much bigger problem brewing than the immediate incidents at hand. Taking such a tactically-oriented approach cannot address the full extent of the problem. This is why Elder Bednar encourages us to reflect upon what is going on and how to act going forward.

In handling the pandemic, tactical, strategic, intelligence and leadership perspectives, roles and actions are well-integrated and coordinated (e.g. FEMA’s National Incident Management System with its ICS, EOC, MACS and JIS structures). It doesn’t bode well when any participant gets stuck their key role. It is like believing that one’s personal Meyers-Briggs style is best when all are equally valid and effective, but only when leveraged cooperatively.

I don't understand where you are coming from half the time.  I don't know what you are talking about.  You seem to be weaving some kind of web with this comparison to racism that doesn't have anything to do with the scope of what I am talking about.  You seem to be broadening the scope of my comments beyond what I have said.  I am strictly talking about religious liberty in relation to the pandemic.  Those restrictions are temporary.  No lasting harm.  The response to the pandemic is not changing public opinions about religious liberty.  You have no evidence of that.   You can talk about the broader problem all you want.  I don't have any argument there.  Look, I love religious liberty.  I am all for it.  My only point is that there is absolutely no evidence that the response to the pandemic, even if it has been inequitable in certain incidents, is souring public opinion or attitudes in general towards religious liberty.  That is nonsense.  You have nothing to stand on.  

Edited by pogi
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3 hours ago, Calm said:

Can everyone use the internet to access though?  How many have to use libraries or cafes to get access to tech or actual internet?  Are there those who have to pay extra for minutes or data used?  Serious question as I am not the one who orders the coverage for us to know what is the minimum, what someone who needs a phone but is willing to do without to save money would have. 

We had Thanksgiving with Aunt Helen.   She really isn't related,  but she was best friends with my partner's mother who passed away a few years back.  She is 90 years old.  We know she is a very devout Presbyterian.  Each week, her 80 year old friend picks her up and they go to her friends house to watch their church service on zoom.  I would think that a religious congregation would be capable of making sure all of the members were taken care of.  

It is also true that not everyone can make it to a church every Sunday.  Does that mean their right to worship is being violated?

Edited by california boy
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