As much as I support and admire the stance of Pastor John MacArthur in his fight against the thugs and fascists of California state government, he (and others who use similar arguments) are accepting the government’s position that religious worship threatens the health and well being of the people, and therefore can be controlled by government edict. Their arguments boil down to, “well, it isn’t nearly as bad as you say, so the risk is minimal and we should be allowed to worship as we see fit.”
He insisted the level of infection does not support the cancellation of constitutional rights to worship for the entire state, with “1/100th of 1%” of the residents having been infected.
So what level of infection would justify violating natural law and the United States Constitution’s first amendment?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That’s pretty clear. And the Founders knew their religious history quite well, and understood that people would be willing to die to defend the right to worship as they see fit. The relative risk of Wuhan Flu has nothing to do with our right to worship, and even were it as bad as the hysterics in the media want it to be, we as a free people have the right to worship.
Rabbi Akiva, perhaps the greatest martyr in Jewish history, was ordered by the Romans to stop studying the Torah. He declined to stop, and the Romans flayed him. And as he was flayed to death, in unimaginable agony, he recited the Shemah. That’s sticking your thumb in the eye of your oppressors.
1,400 years later, the Oxford Martyrs Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, were burned at the stake for refusing to stop worshiping God as they saw fit. Supposedly Latimer said to Ridley just before they were burned alive, “Be of good cheer Master Ridley, for tonight we sup with the angels!”
I am not suggesting that Pastor MacArthur martyr himself, but accepting the argument of the jack-booted thugs of government and simply arguing that Sino-Lung-Rot isn’t all that bad cedes the basis of the argument to the enemies of religion.
We have a right to worship as we see fit. We have a right to free assembly. Those rights are unequivocal, and government has no authority to prevent us from exercising those rights using the flimsy argument that violating our natural rights is for our own good. We decide what is for our own good; not the authoritarian hacks in Sacramento.