Religious Persecution Amid COVID Should Teach People To Choose Leaders Carefully

hands lifted up in prayer and worship

A recently published letter states that religious persecution amid COVID is a reminder for people to vote wisely.

In her letter to Crow River Media, Anna Enright Hutchinson inferred that the crackdown on in-house church gatherings ordered by several state governors were "motivated by more than a simple desire to control the virus."

"They are varying degrees of religious persecution, which are dangerous, un-American, and a reminder to vote carefully," she wrote.

Hutchinson noted that in February, the Supreme Court ruled that churches in California are to be allowed to resume their indoor services. Adherence to the safety guidelines and protocols were expected. Nonetheless, Gov. Gavin Newsom had gone far with his orders.

"Church leaders were pleading with Newsom for months, demonstrating their willingness to follow masking and sanitizing guidelines, but Newsom would not compromise. In comparison, he had allowed for the opening of establishments such as dry cleaners, hotels and nail salons with modifications," said Hutchinson.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch agreed that the California governor's "treatment of churches is clearly unconstitutional."

"We appear to have a state playing favorites during a pandemic," opined Justice Neil Gorsuch. He, however, clarified that this observation is not a "downplaying (of) the suffering many have experienced in this pandemic."

Gorsuch argues that the protection of the "free exercise of religion" is on top of the Constitution's Bill of Rights. This even supersedes the freedom of speech and the press.

"Government closure of a house of worship, an essential element in the free exercise of many religions, should never occur in the U.S., even in times of 'crisis,'" he said.

"Furthermore, the heavy restrictions on churches are discriminatory," the Court Justice continued noting the preferential treatment of other establishments over churches using COVID as an excuse. The state has not provided a substantial evidence proving that the re-opening of houses of worship poses "a greater health risk than others."

"If Hollywood may host a studio audience or film a singing competition while not a single soul may enter California's churches, synagogues, and mosques, something has gone seriously awry," said Gorsuch to Bloomberg Law.

It's worth noting that strip clubs were allowed to operate while churches in California were forced to close, with heavy fines and punishment imposed on those who were caught "violating" COVID-19 restrictions.

But California isn't the only state where churches are experiencing discriminatory repressions. In November, the Supreme Court had to intervene against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's similar orders on churches.

"The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment's guarantee of religious liberty," said the court's decision per NPR news report. "Even in a pandemic, the constitution cannot be put away and forgotten," they added.

In May, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz approved the 50% capacity for many businesses but limited churches to 10 people. He only amended his order after receiving a "legally persuasive letter" from Archbishop Bernard Hebda.

"We do not take this step lightly. We sought all along to engage you and your administration in a proactive way, and continue to be willing to do so," the Archbishop respectfully wrote.

According to MPR News, the Catholic bishops said it "defies reason" to allow malls to reopen while continuing to prohibit more than 10 people from gathering in a cathedral that can seat thousands.

Back to Hutchinson's letter, she said that all these steps taken by these governors are "more than coincidences," thus, her reminder for Americans to vote carefully.