Calvary Chapel to Hold Prayer Service (for Trump) at Las Vegas Casino.

Evangelicals find a way to pray en masse in Nevada.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Last month, the Supreme Court decided Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak. The Court, by a 5-4 vote, upheld Nevada's shutdown orders. The state did not impose any caps on how many people could enter a casino. But the stat did impose a hard cap on how many people could enter a church, regardless of its size.

At the time, I quipped that houses of worship should rent space at casinos to meet en masse. And so they have.

President Trump's campaign is holding an "Evangelicals for Trump" event on Thursday at a Las Vegas hotel and casino, amid a controversial ban in the state on gatherings of more than 50 people in houses of worship while places like casinos are subject to a less stringent 50 percent capacity limit.

The event is scheduled to take place at the Ahern Hotel and Convention Center, one of the many joint hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. It will feature Trump spiritual adviser Pastor Paula White, megachurch Pastor Jentezen Franklin, Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills and others. The full event title is "Evangelicals for Trump: Praise, Prayer and Patriotism."

"In a time when many Nevadans can't go to church because of overreaching restrictions, President Trump's campaign is bringing together evangelicals from across the community to pray, worship and discuss key issues facing Americans in the November election," Trump 2020 deputy national press secretary Ken Farnaso said in a statement.

A pastor should offer a reading from the Holy Gospel according to John Roberts: Render unto Caesars Palace the things that are God's. Too conspiratorial?

NEXT: Nashville Promised a Crackdown on Mask-Defying Partiers. Then They Arrested a Homeless Man with a Drug and Drinking Problem.

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  1. Deplorables marching in lockstep to their deaths with great glee, laughing at how they’ve pwned the libs. I remember when libertarian science-fiction author Jerry Pournelle used the slogan “think of it as evolution in action” in one of his novels.

    1. Jerry Pournelle was a bit too militaristic and authoritarian to be libertarian.

      So there!

    2. What say you then, about the protests, say, in Portland?

  2. This kind of undercuts Alito’s claim that “Preventing congregants from worshiping will cause irreparable harm.” The very fact that these individuals are able to congregate together for the purpose of praying and worshiping (literally stated in the news article), demonstrates that they are able to exercise their religious beliefs as a group and engage in non-commercial, religious speech. In other words, the sheer fact that such an event is able to be held indicates that the state has not prevented “congregants from worshiping.”

    Reading the news article alongside Calvary Chapel’s brief and the dissenting opinions in the case leaves me scratching my head over what the issue really was. Was it about the desire to congregate and worship in accordance with one’s religious beliefs, or the desire to congregate in a specific building to do the same? I hope that everything goes smoothly for the planned meeting and service. A successful event should help bolster the State’s position in any subsequent litigation over the issue, undercutting the legal arguments made by Calvary Chapel in their application.

    1. It seems like at most the church is out the rental fee for the convention hall at the casino, but as you point out, that isn’t irreparable harm. Damages, sure, but damages don’t get you an injunction.

      So yeah, what exactly was this case about, then?

    2. Let’s turn this around on you….if the same number of people can meet anyway, and produce the same amount of infection risk, then what was the state’s legitimate interest in limiting use of the church building?

      They won the first round by saying safety trumps freedom of religion. Which is probably sometimes true. By letting the same event with the same people proceed at the casino, aren’t they undercutting their safety argument?

    3. To the contrary, this highlights that the churches weren’t being treated fairly in the first place.

      You can dicker about whether it’s the casinos getting special treatment or the churches being targetted, but the bottom line is that letting Casinos stay open while closing churches should have been indefensible.

      Which is to say… the Arizona case is unlike the California case. In California, the question was “are churches more like stadiums (which were closed) or grocery stores (which were open at partial capacity)”.

  3. So Montgomery County Md has ordered public schools to remain closed I think until January but is allowing tattoo parlors and spas to open. Enterprising parents should hold school in their local spas And tattoo parlors.

  4. I do appreciate the rich irony of a church renting a casino to be able to hold services because it’s legal to do in a casino what it isn’t legal to do in a church.

    And if they rented Caesar’s Palace, it would truly be “rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”

    Perhaps it illustrates that they don’t need an injunction because they have alternatives (as long as they are able to pay extra).

    But it also illustrates the merits of their underlying case. Permitting religious services so long as they take place in a casino and not a church could be taken as evidence of irrational discrimination against religion and churches and an unconstitutional effort to bolster casinos at their expense (here, quite literally expense).

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