Yesterday afternoon, Robby Montoya broke news that the Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley had banned all in person church services. Specifically, Judge Whitley posted up on social media that he was not allowing in-person church services.
This ban of in person religious services is a DIRECT violation of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order which allows for religious services. I wrote an article recently about Governor Abbott’s order which declared religious services as essential and removed authority of county and local officials from restricting essential services more than what Governor Abbott had allowed during the CoronaVirus COVID-19 emergency.
This virus is a serious issue with drastic measures needed to be taken and are being taken, but the Constitution does not get suspended. The Constitution is above all laws and orders. The government cannot ban religious services. The government could highly recommend going online for religious services if possible, which the governor has. The government can order social distancing and sanitation measures if in person religious services are needed, which the governor has. There are many other measures that can be taken to safely practice religion, however, the government CANNOT ban religious services. The Governor understands that the Constitution must be upheld while at the same time measures be enacted to slow the spread of the CoronaVirus COVID-19.
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley directly violated Greg Abbott’s order, and violates the Constitution, by banning all in person religious services, and he should be held in contempt.
Judge Whitley has no problem issuing orders and threatening jail time and fines if his order is violated; well politicians should be held to the same standard, right? Judge Whitley has violated the Governor’s order so he should be held to the same standard and face fines or jail time for violating the Governor’s order, right?
Who else is tired of politicians declaring a do as I say but not as I do attitude and issuing completely hypocritical and nonsensical orders? They declare you must follow their rules, but then they appear on the news for press releases flanked from left to right with their other political friends who want air time too. Well if you can do much of church online now or business meetings on video conference then why not do a press release online or on video conference? Why meet in person with your other press release TV personalities?
Some of these orders are just outright hypocritical and unreasonable. You shouldn’t go to see your pastor about a serious issue and keep a good distance from him while y’all talk in an open parking lot, but you can go to a liquor store for beer or to get plants for a garden at Lowes while standing in line 6 feet apart after having passed 50 people in the aisles and touched all the stuff that everyone else is touching and then touching the credit card pad that everyone else that day has touched. I must have forgotten the part in the Constitution about freedom to plant a flower but not freedom of religion. The virus must not be able to pass to other people if you are getting flowers at the store, only when you go talk to your pastor right? It is all ridiculous and hypocritical and nonsensical.
And another thing, just because one person loves church online doesn’t mean another person has the capability to do online services, or God forbid maybe the other person WANTs to or HAS TO go meet in person with their pastor for religious services. Just because one person is fine with church online, does not mean they should impose their beliefs on others who believe they need to go in person for religious services. If you are worried about catching the virus from a church goer, then practice what you preach and don’t get around anyone and avoid your church going friends for now while you chat it up with the crowd of unknown virus spreading people in line at the hardware store. If you stay in your home away from everyone, then you probably won’t get the virus. Much of this is self-responsibility, and ultimately, if you take care of yourself and stay away from people, then you will likely not get the virus. Bottom line, people cannot impose their desires on other people in violation of Constitutional rights. So please stop telling people not to go see their pastor while you hypocritically go run your non-essential errands.
Should we impose drastic sanitary measures and social distancing at churches like we are doing at supermarkets? Yes! But you cannot ban church just like you cannot ban people getting food at supermarkets. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for people to meet in a large group and spread the virus, and I agree that people should stay away from each other right now to slow the spread, but I do not agree that we can toss out the Constitution and ban religious services that some people might greatly need and can do so safely with social distancing and sanitary practices. Ultimately, if you are worried about getting the virus from someone who went to see their pastor, then you can take matters into your own hands and stay away from everyone in order to take responsibility for lowering your chance of getting the virus. If I had, for instance, a child with a lung disease who was at greater risk, I would not tell people not to go to church, I would just stay in the house 24/7 to protect myself and my child until the virus passes, and not rely on making others do what I want them to do in violation of their constitutional rights. We have to be reasonable and tactical to fight the virus while still upholding the Constitution.