Religion and the Law

"Lakewood [N.J.] Cops Break Up 17 Gatherings"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

NJ 101.5 (Dan Alexander) reports:

Police on Tuesday night broke up two weddings at the Lake Terrace and Fountain Ballroom that each had more than 50 attendees….

More than 100 students were at [Mesivta of Lakewood, a Jewish high school] earlier in the week in defiance of Murphy's order closing all private and public schools in the state ….

Police also responded two a large crowd at one home and a wedding at another; the owners were "charged with maintaining a public nuisance."

Lakewood has become the epicenter of COVID-19 in Ocean County with the township having 26 of the 53 known cases in the county …..

Thanks to Josh Blackman for the pointer.

NEXT: Does the Takings Clause Require Compensation for Coronavirus Shutdowns?

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  1. Arrrrrgh. Torah commands: Choose life.

    My Orthodox ‘cousins’ must self-isolate for the good of the community. The clear implication from the commandment to choose life is you will be held to account for not doing so.

    If Governor Murphy really wants to make a difference, he will immediately have a conference calls with local Rabbi’s in Lakewood on Sunday. The Rabbi’s can make something happen (e.g. obedience to state’s request we self-isolate).

    1. But in calling the Rabbis, the Governor is conceding that there is authority in NJ other than his. As this unfolds. I’m wondering how much is about medical science and how much is about petty tyranny.

      As an aside, if the Orthodox Jewish community is insular — not associating with outsiders (of any faith) then this is a moot point because absent the presence of a vector (someone with the Wuhan Virus), it doesn’t matter how many people you pack into a room or how close together they sit.

      1. The Orthodox community is not insular, so the premise is wrong. If the Governor truly wants to preserve lives and have the Orthodox community not congregate, he will immediately call the Rabbi’s on Sunday. THAT will work.

        1. You raise an interesting larger point — and why the fiat approach will inevitably fail. Calling Rabbis and *asking* would involve the Governor *asking* rather than *ordering* and I’m actually starting to respect Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker here.

          I read once that something like 80%-90% of the population have to agree to obey a law, otherwise it is unenforcable. NY, NJ, CA, IL and now CT have used the heavy hand of governmental fiat and that is why I don’t think it will be enforcable over time.

          I don’t think it is anything unique in the Orthodox Jewish community beyond they having peer support within an identity group. I think that we will soon be seeing other groups of young people openly defying these fiat bans.

          1. Politics is inevitably a combination of asking and ordering, and part of being, er, politic is knowing when to ask and when to order.

            Sometimes it is prudent to do a bit of both.

            The as Commenter_XY points out, especially in a life or death situations, and often in more general ones, attention needs to be paid to what works, Not what’s ideologically purest.

            Most governors have enough experience in life to be aware they aren’t all-powerful, and aren’t the only people in the people world listen to. Enlisting other people that people might be more likely to listen to to try to persuade them to do something is often a very prudent course of action.

            Nor is engaging religious leaders to help persuade people at all unusual. As one of many examples, Obama met with church leaders to try to engage them in getting more people to sign up for Obamacare.

            1. Most governors have enough experience in life to be aware they aren’t all-powerful, and aren’t the only people in the people world listen to

              I’m starting to wonder about that — really wonder about that.

      2. They are insular right up to the point that they are ill and want the help of us general rabble. Maybe start with hopping an uber to the hospital, and infecting everyone else that they meet along the way. And as they deplete health care providers, they become morally culpable for others not treated due to depletion of people and supplies.
        Their actions will not stay insular.

        1. Or simply getting supplies from outsiders. No one is truly isolated.

      3. Outreach is not a concession of authority. Who would think like that?!

        1. You’d think someone with your handle would have a better handle on sarcasm.

          1. Looks like Ed was sincere…

        2. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely…

      4. Noted in the article was point that half of the County Cases were in Lakewood. Not insular at all. Just oblivious. And, the New Rochelle cases shows that the more insular, so long as individuals Travel outside, the more the spread within the group. Orthodox Jews in Lakewood are not the Amish living isolated lives. Members of the Community interact with others every day and only go home to the restricted community at night. They are at greater risk than many other groups for that reason.

      5. Calling a group of community leaders to discuss the community needs is not asking anything and not an exercise in recognizing some alternative authority. Rabbis have no legal authority to compel obedience to any rules, even religious, except in specific cases involving resort to a Rabbinic Court and even then the compulsion is not from the State but from the possibility of exclusion from the Community.

    2. I think you’re right on the merits, but I beg you to please stop using an apostrophe to make a word plural. I do not understand why people do this.

      1. fat-fingered. Sorry.

  2. So are you suggesting when 1000 Orthodox show up at the hospital, we refuse to serve them, as ‘they were warned’?

    I think not

    there is no such thing as insular to a disease

  3. In a crisis, some people are leaders and helpers. Others are inconsequential cranks and disaffected whiners.

    Some are responsible, productive citizens. Some are belligerent contrarians and anti-social problems.

    Some are selfless contributors, even heroes. Others are a stain and drain on our society.

    Some respect reason, knowledge, and science. Others are unable to overcome — or perhaps devoted to — superstition, dogma, and ignorance.

    1. Concern over government letting slip the dogs of oppression so easily should be a concern, even if there is good reason for it. Big, strong government with unlimited power in an emergency — the downfall of past democracies.

      Quit whistling past the graveyard.

      1. Krayt, I actually agree with you that that’s a concern. In America, however, we have the other problem far more often, which is “No one can tell me what to do” “you can’t make me” and “Big gummint bad.” I don’t have actual numbers, but if I had to lay money on it, my bet would be that the “you can’t make me” crowd causes far more human misery than big gummint does.

        1. Riiiight. Big government specifically of the socialist kind murdered 100 million people in the 20th century. “You can’t make me” types surely were not that bad.

          1. I said “in America.”

            1. Socialism is socialism. It’s not like we have a lack of wannabe dictators here. You, for instance, just love to tell other people how to live.

              1. No it’s not. Sweden doesn’t look a bit like Venezuela. As with any other system it depends on who is implementing it.

              2. I think your problem is that you insist on seeing the world in stark black and white, when in fact the world is a far more nuanced place.

              3. This knee-jerk redbaiting argument doesn’t do very well in the modern world. And yet some keep making it.

              4. Socialism is socialism.

                Bigoted, disaffected right-wing cranks are among my favorite faux libertarians.

        2. Imagine if just 1/10th of the 12 Million Jews in Europe (circa 1933) had been armed. Armed with just a 6-shot revolver or double-barrel shotgun.

          How might history be different???

          1. Might not be much different. They would still be outnumbered. Communications were bad enough that they might not realize what was going on until it was too late. The Nazis and Communists might have been more wary, but that would just mean they’d bring more firepower, and because the state controlled the media, the outside world probably wouldn’t believe the horror stories until long past it was over.

            1. At least in terms of the Nazis, at least after Hitler went into Russia in 1941, they neither were outnumbered nor did the Nazi’s really have more firepower to bring in. In fact, one of the more morbid aspects of this is that the Holocaust took badly needed resources away from the military.

              So in addition to the Gestapo being unable to replace its casualties, merely having to be more wary would have slowed things down a lot.

          2. All else they would have needed was absolute knowledge of what was going to happen. Which, unfortunately did not exist. Go to Auschwitz and see the lengths to which people were misled and were unable to resist until it was too late.

            You live in a Trantino revenge fantasy world my friend.

            1. Anne Frank’s family had a pretty good idea…

              1. This is a dumb hypothetical hobby horse that cheapens history in service of dubious support for your own agenda.

              2. So what did her family now and when did they know it. In 1933? Hardly, and they were not even living in Germany. So, how would having a gun have helped them?

                And, for the record, even after they were captured, it is doubtful that they “knew” their fates. They were being transported somewhere is all they knew. We know now what happened, but that is not the same as what they knew at the time.

                Sarcastro is right. You have a gun agenda that you are running out to support a fantasy that ignores the actual facts.

                1. So what did her family now and when did they know it. In 1933? Hardly, and they were not even living in Germany.

                  Yes, they’d already left, I presume for a reason. Likewise when they went into hiding.

                  So, how would having a gun have helped them?

                  If Uncle Otto had opened up with both barrels of a 12 gauge when they came busting in, it’d have slowed the Gestapo down a lot. Many, perhaps all, might have been able to escape.

      2. It’s not just that (although quite true).

        The absolute best way I know of getting someone to do something is to say that the person can’t do it. Remember Andrew Jackson’s infamous line of “John Marshal has made his decision, now let’s see him enforce it”?

        This is particularly true of young people. Tell them not to do something because it is dangerous (e.g. walk on window ledges) and they will stay up nights trying to figure out how to get away with doing it.

        But nonchalantly comment “that’s a damn good way to wind up in a body bag” and explain why when asked — that works….

    2. Sorry, but the people who think that a man can cut off his schlong and become a woman have no business lecturing anyone else on science.

      1. Sorry, who thinks that a man can cut off his schlong and become a woman? I don’t think even the most ardent trans activists believe that.

        1. Actually, that’s exactly what they believe.

          1. No it isn’t. Your ignorance is about what anyone would expect from a bigot terrified of strangeness. I am no expert on trannies, and there are enough varieties that trannies are no experts either. But they believe some combination of having a female personality combined with appropriate surgery can make them happier, and since it doesn’t affect you in the slightest, it’s none of your business to tell them no.

            1. None of me or anyone else is interested in telling them “no” per se. But since they are demanding things that DO affect us, namely, requiring us to humor their delusions and pay for it, it is our business.

              1. “requiring us to humor their delusions and pay for it”

                Not a fan of snowflake treatment for religious claimants? You will not find many of your right-wing colleagues with you on that one.

              2. While the paying part is your business, tranny surgery is such a minuscule fraction of what the government spends that your complaining is telling about what you think is important.

          2. Regardless of whether anyone believes that, it is just about all you think about.

        2. Isn’t that exactly what a sex change operation involves?

          1. No. Someone with a penis doesn’t have it removed to become a woman. Rather, she believes she already is a woman and is having the surgery so that the body will match the identity.

            1. The operation involves slicing open the penis and constructing a vagina out of it. That is a medical fact.

              1. Yes it does, but the purpose is to conform the body to the already existing identity. It is not to create a new identity.

                1. It still involves cutting off the penis…

  4. The glee with which executives (mostly Democrat Party ones) have been acting in the face of shutdowns, quarantines and other emergency actions make me think this is about the naked exercise of power, and nothing else.

    “Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

    1. Remember that Orwell was a Socialist, and he wrote 1984 (circa 1948) in response to proposals that England continue it’s wartime rationing and government-controlled economy.

      1. I care about that as much as I care about the fact that Ayn Rand took Medicare or that Ronald Reagan signed a gun control law in California in the 60s; that is, not at all.

  5. Followup on North Haven Island (ME), Governor Janet Mills (D) stomped on them, saying that only she has the authority to restrict travel in the state.
    They are still trying to tell the local cable company that it can’t make new connections, unless it is for a student. (What about ordering on-line to avoid trips ashore?)

    Not mentioned is that this is where Congresswoman Chellee Pingree (D-ME) lives — wonder if the GOP will raise that this fall…

  6. Is is just me or are the arguments from the diehards here getting more and more simplistic? And no, no amount of block quoting those smarter than you will cover your simple knee-jerk argument.

    We’re already down to ‘better dead than red.’

    1. Stay safe, stay healthy Sarcastr0.

      1. You to. And, really, everyone on here.

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