Religion and the Law

Islam in New York and Coronavirus

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

From a Friday story in The Blaze:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the city will take steps to provide for its Muslim community amid the coronavirus by distributing "over half a million meals" during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan….

"One of Ramadan's most noble callings is to feed the hungry," de Blasio said Thursday during a press briefing. "To remember to be there for those in need. And that is now harder than ever now that people can't go to their mosques."

He had a different tone for Christians and Jews

"We all wish that the celebrations of Easter and Passover could have been so different," de Blasio said during the briefing.

However, many Christian and Jewish New Yorkers may find that statement unsettling, given the mayor's harsh warning for the faithful from those religions at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the city.

You may remember that de Blasio threatened to permanently close churches and synagogues that dared gather together in violation of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's shelter-in-place order….

This is not the first time that New York officials have appeared to give preferential treatment to Muslims in the state over Christians and Jews.

Earlier this week, TheBlaze reported on a New York mosque that remains open for daily prayers in the upstate even as the state's current executive order broadly bans all "non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason." …

I looked into this, and there seems to be no basis for suggesting that de Blasio is preferring Muslims over Christians and Jews. The Ramadan meal program seems to be part of a general program that distributes free meals, including normal meals for people who have no religious dietary preferences, kosher meals for those who prefer kosher, and halal meals for those who prefer halal. The plan is to distribute 25 million free meals in April and May, apparently, so it's not that odd that 2% of those would be halal, especially since Muslims make up an estimated 9% of New York's population.

Nor is there any Establishment Clause barrier to the government offering people food that is compatible with their religious preferences. Just as a cafeteria at a public university or a workplace that has many Jewish or Muslim students or employees might have kosher or halal options, or state-run liquor stores can stock kosher wines, so public free meal programs can have kosher or halal options (which of course anybody will be able to eat).

As to the threats of shuttering houses of worship that remained open in defiance of the New York City closure order, I've seen no indication that mosques would have been treated any differently. As I understand de Blasio's threat, it was in response to specific talk of some churches and synagogues defying the closure orders; perhaps it was an overreaction, but I don't think there was any suggestion that New York City mosques would be treated differently. Here is a transcript of de Blasio's statement, so you can see the context:

We've had extraordinary support from the leaders of major Christian denominations. We've had extraordinary across the board, rabbinical support from all the different elements of the Jewish community, and the same is true of other faiths as well. A small number, a small number of religious communities, specific churches, specific synagogues are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it's been so widespread. So, I want to say to all those who are preparing the potential of religious services this weekend, if you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services.

I don't say that with any joy. It's the last thing I would like to do because I understand how important people's faiths are to them, and we need our faiths in this time of crisis, but we do not need gatherings that will endanger people. No faith tradition endorses anything that endangers the members of that faith. So, the NYPD, Fire Department, Buildings Department, everyone has been instructed that if they see worship services going on, they will go to the officials of that congregation, they'll inform them they need to stop the services and disperse. If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently. Again, that will begin this weekend.

On the other hand, the Blaze story may be correct that a mosque upstate, in Syracuse, may be remaining open (Syracuse.com, Patrick Lohmann). Apparently it is trying hard to get the air properly filtered, and the surfaces disinfected, and

About 10 worshippers in masks are allowed in at a time, though rarely do that many show up. They stand far apart from each other as they follow a prayer leader standing on a plastic-covered prayer rug.

Nonetheless, this seems to violate the New York state shutdown order, and of course Syracuse authorities need to deal with it the same way they would deal with similar small meetings at churches and synagogues. If any of you know more about the Syracuse situation, please let me know; but I can say with confidence that, of all things that might be Mayor de Blasio's fault, this isn't one of them.

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: April 29, 1745

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. And yet…. de Blasio seems to be singling out the Jews. In his most recent tweet

    “My message to the Jewish community, and all communities, is this simple: the time for warnings has passed. I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups. This is about stopping this disease and saving lives. Period.”

    Note, only the Jews are mentioned by name.

    1. Shocking that he speaks to Jews (and all communities!) when speaking about a rabbi’s funeral that didn’t follow the rules.

      Stop trying to gin up persecution.

      1. Amazing how it’s only the rabbi’s funeral that gets called out to be shut down…Right after de Blasio threatens to shut down religious organizations forever if they don’t obey him.

        Meanwhile hundreds violate social distancing rules by congregating to watch the Blue Angels…not a peep. And de Blasio violates his own stay-at-home order by visiting parks miles away from his residence…

        1. First of all, nice pivot from you BS quote to made up BS about what’s getting shut down. Prof Volokh just said that he observes no favoritism being given to Muslims.

          Trying to argue that Jews are persecuted in comparison to the Blue Angels…you’re really reaching there.

          1. “Volokh just said that he observes no favoritism being given to Muslims.”

            Don’t read too much into that. Absence of evidence vs evidence of absence. His observation of lack of favoritism was limited to the meals program, he goes out of his way to state that there may be some evidence of favoritism in other regards.

            1. Brett, your double standards as to when evidence of absence counts are well demonstrated.

              Prof Volokh posts ‘right wing posts false religious persecution thing’ and y’all just post a different false religious persecution thing.

              Good lord.

          2. Sarcastro: “BS Quote”…quoting something in its entirety with accuracy.

            Sarcastro: “BS what’s going to be shut down”

            Sorry, here’s the quote from de Blasio in case you forgot about a permenant shutdown of religious services.

            -“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services”
            -De Blasio said that continued resistance of authorities to close religious services could mean a permanent shutdown.
            -“If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently”

            Yes, Jews and Religion are specifically being targeted by de Blasio, in contrast to non-religious activities where people congregate.

            1. No, it was out of context, as I demonstrated and other support.

              Just…quit it. You are just lying at this point, and you must know it.

              1. No, I’m not lying. I’m directly, accurately quoting what the Mayor of New York is saying. And anyone can check it. You can’t say I’m lying when I’m literally quoting exactly what de Blasio is saying.

          3. Sarcastr0, please tell me when he threatened to close down a mosque….

            1. Point to a mosque not following social distancing rules.

              1. The 9-11 “victory mosque”. You know, the one where all the Muslims who were celebrating in the streets on 9-11 go to pray.

        2. “Amazing how it’s only the rabbi’s funeral that gets called out to be shut down”

          If people are gathering in large numbers and in close proximity then it should be called out to be shut down. The reason why we’re all huddling in our houses is because we want to limit the spread of a disease that spreads from person to person when they get in close proximity.

      2. Sarcastr0….I have to say, I found it off-putting = Hizzoner singling out Jews. That did not sit right with me.

        Understand….I don’t think DeBlasio is some kind of closet anti-semite. He could not have gotten elected if he were. But I do think the man is a power-hungry ‘no bullshit’ communist.

        And the stench of nepotism clings to him like flies on feces.

        1. He singled out Jews because he was speaking about a Jewish event that had to be shut down. I don’t see it as really anything targeted.

          Oh, NY politics sucks. Almost as much as CA politics, I can’t disagree with you there. Though growing up in Westchester, my experience is more with Albany than NYC.

          1. But not about all the OTHER events that where people where congregating….

            Huh…wonder why.

            1. ” all the OTHER events that where people where congregating”

              You’re complaining that the government doesn’t have better intelligence/surveillance of people doing things the government doesn’t want them to do?

          2. Jonathan Greenblatt
            @JGreenblattADL
            · 10h
            Hey @NYCMayor, there are 1mil+ Jewish people in #NYC. The few who don’t social distance should be called out — but generalizing against the whole population is outrageous especially when so many are scapegoating Jews. This erodes the very unity our city needs now more than ever. https://

            Seems actual Jews don’t think its “BS”

          3. “growing up in Westchester”

            Look at the aristocrat.

            1. I also grew up in Westchester (New Rochelle High School ’96), and he is remarkably representative of the types of people who live there. The white liberals (Scarsdale and Chappaqua are the worst) pretend to be all into diversity until kids from Mt. Vernon come trick or treating in their neighborhoods on Halloween.

              1. Yeah, I secretly fear black people. Got it in one.

                Hows about you quit with the overly personal speculations about me and stick to the contents of comments?

                1. Believe me, I spent a huge portion of my life around your type. I don’t need to speculate

                  1. You don’t know me. I don’t know you. Your assumptions about me say more about you than I.

                    1. “more about you than (about me)” At least try to be grammatically correct.

                    2. I was somewhat excited to learn something, but upon looking into it, this seems an area where both constructions are correct (for now):
                      https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/than-what-follows-it-and-why

        2. Here’s the thing Commenter… There are different types of antisemitism.

          There’s the blatant “All jews bad, all the time” type.

          Then there’s the more subtle “Jews represent an other group, especially if easily identified as a separate group. And if I target some hatred and dislike on that separate group, it helps me politically because I can use that to divert attention from my own actions and/or rally support from other groups”

          De Blasio clearly is using the second option here.

          1. I know there are different degrees of antisemitism, Armchair. I am a Jew. I get it.

            Hizzoner is guilty of a poor choice of words, and generally being an idiotic, incompetent ass. But I really don’t think antisemitism is one of his faults. I repeat…he would never have gotten elected in NYC if he were an antisemite.

            1. well that was then. Now? It looks like he’s throwing the Jews under the bus. Or maybe it’s just a “poor choice of words”. A very poor choice…

              1. But that is all it was, Armchair…a very poor choice of words.

                I detest DeBlasio’s politics, I think he is asinine, but the man is not an antisemite.

                1. -Once is happenstance, with his threat to permanently shut down houses of worship, including synogogues.
                  -Twice is coincidence with his specific targeting of Jews.
                  Three times….is enemy action. de Blasio has one more strike…

                  It doesn’t help when some commenters defend de Blasio saying everything he did was A-OK, nothing wrong here at all, they deserved it.

            2. Would you be so forgiving if Trump make that statement?

              1. Yes – I’ve told off commenters here trying to take Trump out of context before. Generally leading with ‘to be fair…’

    2. Without any context, it’s hard to tell what you’ve left out. Everybody plays that context-free game. For all we know, the previous or next sentence mentioned Christians or Muslims, or mentioned a particular synagogue or rabbi who had threatened to stay open.

      Of course, the real lesson is the usual lesson, that monopolistic coercive governments suck, but everybody already knows that too.

      1. Good thing it’s a direct quote that you can put into Google, and figure out for yourself if anything was left out. That’s the great thing about direct quotes. You can do the verification yourself.

        And you’ll realize that was the entire tweet, start to finish.

        1. His first and only tweet? Really?

          1. Amazingly, apparently his first and only tweet with the particular content quoted above.

        2. Sarcatsr0, for all his general uselessness, provided more context above than you did. That ought to be embarrassing.

          1. What’s embarassing is your defense of the persecution of religious minorities.

            Crowds in Central Park. People playing team sports in Sunset Park. Crowds in the waterfront in Long Island City. Some people not wearing masks, despite it all

            https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/04/25/coronavirus-central-park-long-beach-crowds/

            What does de Blasio SPECIFICALLY call out? Those “nasty different Jews” holding a funeral, all wearing masks.

            This is how religious discrimination and hate starts. With comments like this, and defenses like yours.

            1. “nasty different Jews” That’s just antisemitism baiting and you should be ashamed.

              1. you should be ashamed of defending de Blasio’s antisemitism. But…you’re not.

                1. “you should be ashamed of defending de Blasio’s antisemitism.”

                  Still waiting for you to present any real antisemitism.

      2. Just get it over with and start shouting “fake news”. You know what you want to believe, that’s all that matters.

    3. ” I have instructed the NYPD to proceed immediately to summons or even arrest those who gather in large groups.”

      Like on the subway?

      1. Apparently de Blasio thinks it’s a good idea to release actual criminal prisoners onto the street, to make room in the prisons for Jews who are having a funeral in the prisons.

        1. Apparently de Blasio thinks it’s a good idea to release actual criminal prisoners onto the street, to make room in the prisons for Jews who are having a funeral in the prisons.

          Invoke the Shoah next.

    4. Armchair…this one is a bit of a stretch. Hizzoner would not have been elected if he were some kind of closet anti-semite.

      You can call him a communist (true). You can call him incompetent (true). You can call him a schnook in schlub’s clothing (true). You can even call him a stunod (true).

      But he ain’t an anti-semite. He is guilty of being an idiot, and the last time I checked, that is not a crime. 🙂

      1. ” Hizzoner would not have been elected if he were some kind of closet anti-semite.”

        That doesn’t make a bit of sense. The whole point of the “closet” part is to avoid the consequences you’d suffer if you weren’t closeted. Like, you know, not being elected.

        1. Brett….With antisemiticism, you can’t hide that. It comes out.

          Just stop and think about it. We are talking NYC. Not Bumfuck, USA. I know some of my fellow tribe members are shockingly progressive, but they are not stupid and unintelligent. We know an antisemite when we see one (shades of Potter Stewart here).

          1. I’m sure they know an antisemite when they see one, the question is whether they care. Al Sharpton isn’t exactly persona non gratia on the left, I’ve noticed.

            1. Yeah, NYC Jews are totally fine with antisemitism.
              Al Sharpton isn’t wining many NYC elections these days.

              This is getting pretty weird.

              1. I cannot believe I am actually ‘defending’ DeBlasio. I am listening for the tunes of, ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ 🙂

                1. What’s his approval these days? I may take issue with calling him a Communist, but certainly by all accounts he’s an awful manager.

                  1. Pretty damned shitty = What’s his approval these days?

                    I don’t know if DeBlasio realizes it, but the refrigerated trucks parked everywhere is seriously affecting people’s perceptions of him.

              2. “Al Sharpton isn’t wining many NYC elections these days.”

                Forgive for going a bit OT, but that’s “Reverend Al” you’re talking about, a preacher man as a mere child, long before Reverend Kirkland was self-anointed as a member of the clergy? The civil rights leader who came to the defense of Tawana Brawley? The one who stirred the pot in the Korean green grocer case and Freddy’s, with a goodly number of deaths as a result. And Crown Heights with a murder there too, as well as terrible damage to communal relations? That’s the guy you are referring to? Then he turned it all around to become respectable, the most frequent visitor to the Obama White House and a regular talking head on MSNBC. How did he manage that remarkable rehabilitation?

                (Unfortunately don’t remember the subject, but do remember when there was a public scandal and David Gregory had Sharpton as his sole guest to opine about the ethical aspects. I was really gobsmacked by that choice of experts.)

                1. You won’t find me disputing that the guy sucks. Turned a good phrase in the 2004 debates, but yeah he’s an unscrupulous populist and liberals should be somewhat ashamed that they keep letting him stick around.

            2. When Al Sharpton actually wins a Democratic primary for something, get back to us.

          2. I disagree. Being a progressive makes one stupid, and bound to ignore all evidence that counters their “faith.”

            1. Progressives are stupid.

              Conservatives are poorly educated, stale-thinking bigots.

              Where is the hope for America, Aktenberg?

            2. ” Being a progressive makes one stupid, and bound to ignore all evidence that counters their ‘faith.’

              So your complaint about progressives is that they’re acting like conservatives? Just checking to see if that’s what you actually meant to do?

          3. ” We know an antisemite when we see one”

            I tend to agree that actual antisemites tend to broadcast their opinion(s). The problem isn’t that you aren’t recognizing one when you see him. The problem is sometimes y’all see one where there isn’t one.

      2. Not sure… Krychek_2 seems to be making the case for me….

        1. Noted spokesperson for the mayor Krychek_2.

          Do you even care if you’re accurate, because you want to feel persecuted so much?!

          1. Do you care if your actions and words promote and encourage hate crimes? Anti-Semetic hate crimes have sharply risen in New York City lately, to levels not seen since 1992.

            And here’s the mayor of New York specifically targeting Jews for condemnation….and you’re defending him.

            1. your actions and words promote and encourage hate crimes?

              Oh, screw you.

            2. Armchair Lawyer, assume my hypothesis is correct and the mayor specifically mentioned the Jews because of ultra-Orthodox (or, as Bob prefers, Haredi), hostility to science and health codes makes them particularly worrisome vectors for the disease. That is not anti-Semitism; that is anti-hostility to science and health codes. Other Jews, such as Reform Jews, who are just fine with science and health codes, are not similarly being afforded special scrutiny, so the issue isn’t Judaism. It’s hostility to science and health codes.

              Suppose the mayor were launching an anti-smoking campaign. Suppose a given ethnic group has disproportionately high rates of smoking. Would you consider it racist for him to devote special attention to that group since it accounts for a disproportionate share of the problem? I wouldn’t. I would consider that an appropriate use of resources, directed to the group most in need of attention. The issue is smoking, not ethnicity.

              1. You’re not open-minded enough to see your own bias, which is precisely why separation of church and state was established. As Americans, we are free to prioritize our relations to God, even above self-care. The issue of child well-being is largely sidestepped with this particular virus, based on current statistics.

                1. Separation of church and state does not preclude the state from interfering with religion when religion spills over and poses a threat to the greater populace. I can assure you that if some church were culturing anthrax in their basement, no one would care that their motive was religious.

                  1. The “public health threat” argument is overstated, I think. That is because people, by themselves, are able to protect themselves from the virus by proper social distancing.

                    1. That’s why belligerently ignorant, reckless displays such as that which precipitated the mayor’s comment are so deplorable.

                      Why can’t clingers acknowledge this?

                    2. ” That is because people, by themselves, are able to protect themselves from the virus by proper social distancing.”

                      The challenge being that “proper social distancing” means keeping separated from anyone harboring the virus, and people can harbor the virus without any visible sign that they have it.

                      So people you didn’t suspect can give it to you.

                    3. We are supposed to assume everyone has the virus, except those in the home.

                    4. “We are supposed to assume everyone has the virus, except those in the home.”
                      Or those in the large gathering we’ve decided to join

              2. Oh boy….Krychek_2…

                Let’s use your example, but instead of “smoking” replace it with “crime”. And since we’re in NYC, let’s specify an ethnic group. Call it “African Americans”. Is there anything that could POSSIBLY be interpreted as racist, if the mayor of NYC decided to launch an anti-crime campaign, and devote “special attention” against African Americans because they “account for a disproportionate share of the problem.” Anything at all?

                Or is the issue just “crime” not “ethnicity”….

                1. And there’s a reason I went with smoking rather than crime. Just because you can take my rather benign illustration, completely change the facts, and get something insidious doesn’t mean the original illustration is a problem. How about going with the hypo I actually posited?

                  1. Well, because what’s closer to the actual situation?

                    You know, the situation where the NYPD is coming in and threatening to arrest, jail, and prosecute people if they dare perform the forbidden action. Which…is what’s going on.

                    Is it “smoking” or is it “crime”? Hmm? Sound a lot more like “crime”. you know, taking a “chosen” group and threatening them in particular with mass arrest and jail time if they perform the forbidden activity. That doesn’t sound much like smoking at all.

                    So, let’s repeat, with my hypo, which…is closer to the reality. It is racism?

                    1. No, it doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to completely re-write my hypothetical with all new facts (and, I might add, the most inflammatory facts you can find) and then impute your re-write to me. If I’d wanted to go with crime, I’d have gone with crime.

                      But even if we take your re-write, it’s not applicable to our facts. People who commit crime do so out of malevolence. People who pay no attention to health codes and science (or at least the specific people at issue here) do so out of misguided religious belief. One group knows full well it’s doing wrong and doesn’t care; the other mistakenly believes that it’s doing the right thing because God. As with most of your analogies, this one is a complete fail.

                2. If the mayor was singling out the Black Hebrew Israelite’s (a self-identified anti-Semitic religious group of exclusively black people) for breaking the law, it certainly would not be for racist reasons.

                  1. Although if he addressed the BHI’s as “the black community” it certainly would be racist.

      3. You can also call him criminal for neglecting to take action for three weeks that might have protected the most highly susceptible city in the US. NYC doubtless has the most people who have an extremely large number of social contacts during the time when covid-19 presents no symptoms. Naturally the virus burned through the group with the largest number of such contacts exceedingly quickly making the initial spread in NYC higher than in any other part of the US or any country in Europe.
        Finally Cuomo saved his ass by making a statewide order.
        Now he has to act like an enforcement nazi to try to cover over his incompetence

      4. ” He is guilty of being an idiot, and the last time I checked, that is not a crime.”

        It’s not a high crime or misdemeanor, according to the Senate.

        1. LOL…. 🙂

    5. Is it possible that there are two dynamics at work simultaneously: That DeBlasio may have singled out the Jews, but he did so because ultra-orthodox hostility to science and health codes makes them a particularly worrisome potential vector for the virus?

      1. “ultra-orthodox” is usually considered a slur itself

        Haredi Judaism is the correct term.

        1. Considered by whom?

          1. Most Haredi.

            “Ultra” denotes extremism.

            1. Would you dispute that by modern standards, the Haredi doctrine and lifestyle is extreme?

              And I don’t see that singling out the extremist fringe of Judaism is anti-Semitic. Along with the Amish/Hutterites, who are the extreme fringes of Reformation Protestantism, and the Tridentines, who are the extreme fringe of Roman Catholicism, what is wrong with saying that the extremist fringe is the extremist fringe? Or do those comments make me an anti-Catholic and anti-Protestant bigot as well?

              1. If you can’t see the historic differences involved with Jews, I can’t help you.

                I didn’t call you a bigot, just pointed out that many consider the term an insult. Carry on as you wish.

                1. I get the historic issue with “they’re different from us” often being used as a reason for anti-Semitism. I just don’t see that as being at issue here, since the difference in question is hostility to science and health codes. When you’re trying to stop a pandemic, hostility to science and health codes is a legitimate concern.

                2. I agree Ultra-Orthodox sounds negative, implying that they are more Orthodox than is called for. Maybe “Fundamentalist” is a better adjective, as in “Fundamentalist Islam” or “Fundamentalist Christian”. Although Fundamentalist might be considered a negative from the left, it might also be considered a positive from the right (or those wishing to be pious), leaving everyone happy.

              2. “do those comments make me an anti-Catholic and anti-Protestant bigot as well?”

                Worrying about other peoples’ religious choices is what does that, mostly.

                1. I don’t worry about them. I do think that people who do weird things are weird, whether or not they do them in the name of religion.

                  1. “I don’t worry about them.”
                    How odd that in not worrying about them, you write so much about worrying about other peoples’ religion.

                    1. You’re seeing what you want to see.

                    2. Speaking of wishful thinking…

              3. “Would you dispute that by modern standards, the Haredi doctrine and lifestyle is extreme? ”

                Choosing to gather in public during a pandemic probably qualifies as “extreme”, and “anti-social”. Like the dead guy would notice if you stayed home.

            2. It’s 2020. Anyone who believes in extensive gender discrimination and segregation other than in a few narrow areas like restrooms, and anyone who believes in discrimination against gays and lesbians is an extremist. Anyone who believes in significant restrictions on pre-marital sex is also an extremist.

              All of those things I just mentioned are supported by only a tiny fraction of the population, especially in New York.

              If these folks want to belong to an extremist religion, that’s is their First Amendment right. But they are extremists, and you know what, many religious groups have moderated their beliefs in modern times. If they are so mad about being labeled “extremists” or “ultra”, they are welcome to adjust their beliefs. If they would rather stand out from the pack, accept the label.

              1. I don’t believe in discrimination against religion, but I don’t believe in discrimination in favor of religion either. I once heard an evangelical pastor say that a wedding is essentially a transaction between two men, because the bride goes from being under her father’s authority to being under her husband’s authority. An atheist who made such a comment would widely be considered a crackpot. Why shouldn’t a pastor who makes such a comment equally be considered a crackpot? Just because the particular fountain from which a particular stupidity is emanating happens to be claiming to be speaking for God should not insulate them from having their stupidity recognized as stupidity.

                In other words, no special rights for anyone, believer or atheist.

              2. No one believes in discrimination against gays and lesbians, and never has. They always had the same rights as everyone else, to marry one person of the opposite sex.

                1. Lawrence was only like 17 years ago.

                  1. They still had the same rights as anyone else, to stick their schlong into any woman they desired.

                    1. “They still had the same rights as anyone else, to stick their schlong into any woman they desired.”

                      I’d like to exercise this right, but the women I desire keep insisting that they have a say in the matter.

                    2. Ask Joe Biden for advice.

                    3. Ok, now that was pretty funny = Ask Joe Biden for advice.

                    4. “Ask Joe Biden for advice.”

                      I’d rather hear from someone who got away with it, and with a pricetag of less than $130K, to let His Royal Orangeness out of the discussion, too..

                2. “No one believes in discrimination against gays and lesbians, and never has. ”

                  That statement constitutes aggressive stupidity.

                3. “They always had the same rights as everyone else, to marry one person of the opposite sex.”

                  I’m one of “everyone else”… I cannot afford to marry one person of the opposite sex so I want one appointed to me, as is my right.

              3. “If these folks want to belong to an extremist religion, that’s is their First Amendment right.”

                Generally speaking, if you want to say “I can’t do that, because it’s against my religion”, that’s one thing. When you want to be able to say “YOU can’t do that, because it’s against my religion”, that’s quite another. So, if your religion says that bacon cheeseburgers are an abomination before God, then you can’t have one. But fuck off telling the rest of us that we can’t. If God doesn’t want us eating bacon cheeseburgers he’ll clog our arteries with plaque and kill us with heart disease, and it’s none of your damn business.

                “If they are so mad about being labeled ‘extremists’ or ‘ultra’, they are welcome to adjust their beliefs.”

                You’re talking about people who’ve been persecuted for millennia because they liked to go around telling people they were God’s Chosen People and the rest of us weren’t. I don’t think you should expect to get any traction.

                1. Does this line of thinking apply to your friends who want to ban guns, plastic bags, straws, large sodas, transfats, cigarettes, and whatever else?

                  1. You have a badly mistaken idea who “my friends” encompasses.

              4. “Anyone who believes in significant restrictions on pre-marital sex is also an extremist.”

                Outside of restrictions of relations between consenting adults based on workplace relationship, professor/student relations, consumption of alcohol, pro-forma rules about explicit consent, etc, of course.

                1. Those are restrictions on other aspects of sex. Not marital/premarital.

      2. Please define ‘hostility to science and health codes’. This should be interesting. You blithely assume the actions of a few can be generalized to all. I’d also take exception to the label, ‘ultra-orthodox’. FWIW, Orthodoxy in Judaism is best thought of as a continuum.

        Case in point: I daven with Haredi from time to time, as a Conservative Jew. I’ll let my Rheumatologist know he is hostile to science and health codes. Should be good for a great belly laugh. I’ll let his Oncologist shul buddy know he is hostile to science and health codes, too.

        If you care to compare Elmhurst to Crown Heights….you’d see how inelegant your statement is.

        1. Did I say *all*? And do you dispute that among the Haredi, there are a disproportionate number who really are hostile to science and health codes?

        2. Just to be clear, my own predispositions are not against Jews, or even fringe Jews. My predispositions are against those whose religious views are at odds with science and health. See Dilan’s comment above at 11:56 am and my response.

          1. Your premise is wrong, and I called you on it = That DeBlasio may have singled out the Jews, but he did so because ultra-orthodox hostility to science and health codes makes them a particularly worrisome potential vector for the virus?

            Maybe you put a qualifier in there I missed?

            1. Commenter_XY, it’s impossible to have a conversation without some qualifiers being assumed. If I say that it takes four hours to drive from Orlando to Miami, everyone understands that what I really mean is it takes four hours if I don’t have a flat tire, engine trouble, an accident, hit highway construction, die of a heart attack along the way, spend an hour sitting in traffic going through Fort Lauderdale, or any of a dozen other contingencies that will lengthen the trip. And if I really did have to spell out all of those qualifiers, conversation would be impossible. A simple “good morning” (in which time zone? good for whom?) would require a five minute dissertation. So please stop being pedantic.

              I never said that *every* Haredi is opposed to science and health codes. But it would be blinking reality not to acknowledge that among the Haredi, there is a *far higher than average number* who are opposed to science and health codes. You can also find some Baptists who support abortion rights, and some Muslims who drink alcohol, but that doesn’t mean that it’s inaccurate, as a general matter, to state that Baptists are against abortion and Muslims teetotal.

              1. You were doing fine until….But it would be blinking reality not to acknowledge that among the Haredi, there is a *far higher than average number* who are opposed to science and health codes.

                I’m sorry, but you are making a very broad assertion about group(s) you probably don’t know a lot about. That is where I am tripping up. You objectively know this….how? Because it has not been my experience, and I interact (or did, pre quarantine) with Haredim fairly regularly (religious, business contexts). I know what the popular press says about Haredi Jews. My direct observation over the course of years is quite different.

                Let’s try a thought experiment. Substitute ‘Republican’, or ‘Democrat’, or ‘New Jerseyans’ or ‘Chinese’ or ‘law professors’ or ‘Southerners’ for Haredi. Then reread your sentence, and I think you’ll see why your blanket statement gave me such pause.

                1. Actually, if I substituted Republican, the sentence would probably still work because Republicans are the anti-science party. They’re still trying to keep evolution out of public schools and denying climate change. Oh, and they’re cheering for a president who spent the first month of the pandemic telling us it was a Democratic hoax to make him look bad.

                  If your experience is that the Haredim respect science and health codes, I’ll acknowledge that you have more experience with them than I do. But keep in mind how this conversation started — a group of Haredim defied a ban on large public gatherings to have a funeral. That’s at least evidence that I’m not entirely wrong. And yes, I know that a number of Christian churches have done the same thing, and if the mayor’s comments had been directed to those Christian churches, my comments would have been pretty much the same as they were to the Haredim. I’ve got no more respect for Christians who defy the health authorities than I do for Jews who defy the health authorities.

                  1. “they’re cheering for a president who spent the first month of the pandemic telling us it was a Democratic hoax to make him look bad.”

                    Apparently, some of them are injecting disinfectants because that’s the message they took from the President’s Coronavirus science briefing.

                2. “You were doing fine until….But it would be blinking reality not to acknowledge that among the Haredi, there is a *far higher than average number* who are opposed to science and health codes.”

                  There are a substantial number of the faithful (of many different brands) who consider themselves followers of their religion first and citizens of their countries second. Which would be fine, if their Divine Individuals of choice would in fact use Divine power to protect them from infection(s). Alas, the Divine community appears set in their current position of leaving it to us to protect people from infection(s).

    6. And there is no rational basis for shutting down religious services while leaving the subway open. If the goal is medical, the greater risk (subway) must be closed first.

      1. there is no rational basis for shutting down religious services while leaving the subway open.

        Think for a moment about the different functions between these two systems, and then try again.

        1. But people can still walk if the mass transit is shut down. Six feet apart on NYC sidewalks can’t be all that difficult.

  2. “On the other hand, the Blaze story may be correct that a mosque upstate, in Syracuse, may be remaining open (Syracuse.com, Patrick Lohmann).”

    Mosques (churchs, synagogues, etc.) can stay open but, according to the NY order, they just can have congregate services.

    “Congregate services within houses of worship are strictly prohibited. Houses of worship may only be used by individuals and only where appropriate social distancing of, at least, six feet between people can be maintained. Houses of worship must adhere to DOH cleaning and disinfection guidance, including routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and areas of greatest risk of transmission (e.g. restrooms, kitchens, first aid/health station).”

    1. Ugh EDIT FUNCTION PLEASE!

      …they just CAN’T have congregate services.

    2. So only one person at a time can be there, as long as they’re at least 6 feet from everyone else?

      Or multiple people can be there, as long as they’re at least 6 feet from everyone else and they don’t call it a “service”?

      Sounds like the mosque has taken the more liberal interpretation of this ambiguous bureaucratic mush, and they’re not getting called on it. (And on top of that, they’re not even remotely maintaining a 6-foot distance, even though there are only a small number of them in a huge room. Look for yourself.)

  3. RWNJ site publishes falsehood.

    Also, water is wet.

    1. And a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day…

  4. EEK! A Muslim!

  5. The best argument I’ve heard for taking a hard-line against gatherings of any sort is the “it’s like carrying a gun that randomly shoots other people”. However, this is not a perfect analogy. The “random people” put in danger by the malfunctioning firearm are themselves responsible for staying out of the line-of-fire, through social distancing. If the lives of children were at risk, it might be different. However, children are generally considered to be safe from the virus. The government is being too paternalistic considering the parameters of the situation.

    1. 35 years ago, we dealt with AIDS in a similar manner, locking up all the Gay Men because they had the potential of infecting others.

      Oh, wait, we DIDN’T do that….

      1. Dr. Ed: If you’re confident in you’re assertion, please end you’re sentences with a single period please.

        1. It’s a period piece. Just like his social views.

      2. “35 years ago, we dealt with AIDS in a similar manner, locking up all the Gay Men because they had the potential of infecting others.”

        There were prosecutions of people known to have tested positive, who continued to have sex without telling their sex partners that they had the virus.

    2. And… FREEDOM!

    3. ” children are generally considered to be safe from the virus”

      So THAT’S why we closed all the schools… wait.

      1. No silly, children can spread the virus more than they die from the virus.

        1. So, if something doesn’t kill you, it’s “safe”?

        1. Your source says there are 3 deaths of children from coronavirus. That doesn’t match the dictionary definition of “safe”.

          1. Your source says there are 3 deaths of children from coronavirus. That doesn’t match the dictionary definition of “safe”.

            3 deaths out of about 2 billion children. Sounds like a list of things that in your mind are actually “safe” would be pretty damn short indeed. You’d best bunker up for the rest of your life Just in Case.

            1. ” Sounds like a list of things that in your mind are actually “safe” would be pretty damn short indeed.”
              Just because you can’t think of a list of things that don’t kill kids doesn’t mean nobody else can.

              ” You’d best bunker up for the rest of your life Just in Case.”
              How ’bout if I come over to your place, and keep you and your kids safe instead.

              1. How ’bout if I come over to your place, and keep you and your kids safe instead.

                Better watch out for the comment police — Sarc has labeled much gentler stuff than this a “death threat.”

                Fortunately, it’s painfully clear at this point that you’re just a bitter, internet-emboldened blowhard.

                1. You’d have to be pretty dim to get to “death threat” via the combination of “whatever doesn’t kill you is “safe” and “how about you let me keep you “safe”, so I’m not surprised that someone has, in fact, made that connection and gotten their panties all wet about it.

            2. “out of about 2 billion children.”

              What,exactly, is your source for the claim that 2 billion kids have contracted coronavirus disease?

  6. I have no idea whether de Blasio is an antisemite, but he certainly doesn’t understand Christianity if he believes that “No faith tradition endorses anything that endangers the members of that faith”. Ever hear of martyrdom, Mr. Mayor?

    1. Let the faith community hold its own responsible, I say. The people have the right to be left alone.

    2. Martyrs are honored for dying in service of their faith. Certainly not for endangering members of the faith. So who is it who doesn’t understand Christianity?

  7. ummmm is he using taxpayer funds? That’s pretty evil, considering Islam in Quran 98:6 calls non-muslims “The worst of all creatures” and at 5:51 says “don’t take Jews and Christians as allies and friends”. He giving out free meals to Nazis next?

    1. Cherry-picking doesn’t give you an accurate picture. A person hostile to religion could certainly find some Biblical passages troublesome. You probably even know which ones.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.