A Few Hours After SCOTUS Punts on California Case, Governor Newsom Announces that "Regional Stay Home" Order That Would Prohibit All Indoor Religious Services

The Harvest Rock Petitioners should file a motion for reconsideration, and seek an injunction pending appeal.


This morning, the Court punted away Harvest Rock v. Newsom. A few hours later, Governor Newsom announced a new "stay at home" order that could apply to huge portions of the state.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced Thursday the framework for a regional stay-at-home order, with the expectation that most of the state will fall under the more stringent requirement in days, with the Bay Area lagging a week or two behind. No regions have been placed into this regional stay-at-home order at this time.

Newsom said the state has created five regions by grouping counties based on hospital networks: Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, Northern California, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

Regions will be required to implement shutdown rules when intensive care unit capacity falls under 15%, and the governor said state projections show all regions except the Bay Area reaching this point in early December. It's estimated the Bay Area will follow in mid- to late December.

Regions that fall under the stay-at-home order will have 48 hours to close several business sectors including all dining (both indoor and outdoor), bars, wineries, personal services, hair salons and barbershops. The order expires three weeks after it is implemented but can be extended.

The Governor's explanatory site explains that "places of worship and political expression" can "allow outdoor services only." In short, all houses of worship will be shut down. Shopping malls stay open at 20% capacity. But churches must close. And the order lasts for three weeks. Just enough time to frustrate Supreme Court review. This awful game of whac-a-mole continues.

The petitioners in Harvest Rock should file a motion for reconsideration, and seek an injunction pending appeal.

I've pasted below the fold the specifics of the program:

The Regional Stay Home Order would be in effect for 3 weeks after the trigger and instructs Californians to stay at home as much as possible to limit the mixing with other households that can lead to COVID-19 spread. It allows access to (and travel for) critical services and allows outdoor activities to preserve Californians' physical and mental health. This limited closure will help stop the surge and prevent overwhelming regional ICU capacity.

In any region that triggers a Regional Stay Home Order because it drops below 15% ICU capacity, the following sectors must close:

  • Indoor and outdoor playgrounds
  • Indoor recreational facilities
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Personal care services
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums
  • Movie theaters
  • Wineries
  • Bars, breweries, and distilleries
  • Family entertainment centers
  • Cardrooms and satellite wagering
  • Limited services
  • Live audience sports
  • Amusement parks

The following sectors will have additional modifications in addition to 100% masking and physical distancing:

  • Outdoor recreational facilities: Allow outdoor operation only without any food, drink or alcohol sales. Additionally, overnight stays at campgrounds will not be permitted.
  • Retail: Allow indoor operation at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Shopping centers: Allow indoor operation at 20% capacity with entrance metering and no eating or drinking in the stores. Additionally, special hours should be instituted for seniors and others with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Hotels and lodging: Allow to open for critical infrastructure support only.
  • Restaurants: Allow only for take-out, pick-up, or delivery.
  • Offices: Allow remote only except for critical infrastructure sectors where remote working is not possible.
  • Places of worship and political expression: Allow outdoor services only.
  • Entertainment production including professional sports: Allow operation without live audiences. Additionally, testing protocol and "bubbles" are highly encouraged.

The following sectors are allowed to remain open when a remote option is not possible with appropriate infectious disease preventative measures including 100% masking and physical distancing:

  • Critical infrastructure
  • Schools that are already open for in-person learning
  • Non-urgent medical and dental care
  • Child care and pre-K

NEXT: Review of Ilya Shapiro's "Supreme Disorder"

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  1. “The Governor’s explanatory site explains that “places of worship and political expression” can “Allow outdoor services only.” In short, all houses of worship will be shut down.”

    I can’t decide whether you should be chastised more for a non-sequitur, or a strawman fallacy.

    Either way, you’re wrong.

      1. Game playing. They can do zoom services so not “shut down”.

        1. Game playing. Intentionally “forgetting” that services can be held outdoors despite the OP having quoted exactly that.

          1. Yes, the governor is playing games.

            Outdoor services might be in dangerous neighborhoods or there is no space or the weather is bad. You can’t do outdoor after dark very easily either.

            1. Sucks to be in a pandemic

              1. The AIDS pandemic sucked too — and we should have dealt with it the way that Cuba did?

                Why do Christians & Jews deserve fewer civil rights than gay men?

                1. take a look at the voting patterns of those groups – – – – – – – –

                  1. You gotta give the gays credit for strategy — back when AIDS was inevitably fatal, they signed their life insurance payouts over to gay activist groups that became a powerful political lobby.

                    Churches, by contrast, tend to spend their money helping the poor. I believe that synagogues do likewise. Hence they don’t have the same political power.

                    1. How does one get this delusional?

                    2. Just believe everything you read, if it follows your narrative.

                      Ed is the poster boy for min-maxed skepticism.

                    3. Just believe everything you read, if it follows your narrative.

                      That couldn’t be funnier, coming as it does from someone who proclaimed that he “knows” that the film “Cutie’s” wasn’t sexually exploiting little girls and was confident telling those saying otherwise that they are wrong because, in spite of not actually having seen any of it, he “read the synopsis”.

            2. Yes, the order will unquestionably impose a burden on houses of worship, some of which may be unable to function. It clearly does not, however, mean that “all houses of worship will be shut down.”

            3. 343 AM EST Fri Dec 4 2020

              * WHAT…Heavy snow possible. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches inches possible.

              * WHERE…Eastern Hampden MA, Southern Worcester MA and Southeast Middlesex MA Counties.

              * WHEN…Saturday into Saturday night.

              * IMPACTS…Travel could become difficult.

              * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Rain changing to snow Saturday afternoon. There is the potential for a period of heavy snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour after the changeover. Snow tapering off later Saturday night.

              1. Only 3,000 miles from California.

                  1. Ah, so your theory is that last week it was snowing in LA?

                    1. This guy is trolling, right?

                      I’m starting to think he might not even be a real doctor.

                  2. I assume you mean baroclinic storms (I live in southeast Florida, the land of tropical cyclones that come from Africa borne easterly waves). To answer your question, the atmosphere is a three dimensional system in which baroclinic storms form from the interaction of cold air aloft driven by upper low pressure systems and warm surface air associated with troughs in the jet stream. They can travel from southwest to northeast or from northwest to southeast (the latter commonly are known as clipper systems in the east). The upper lows that spawn surface reflection lows typically do not spawn a single surface low, but rather a sequence of surface lows as the upper low progresses.

                    Perhaps you have noticed that California is in the grip of high pressure induced Santa Ana winds; the developing east coast storm is the byproduct of that high which has deflected Pacific impulses northeastward around the high and then southeastwward into the continental US. Were your assumption of a simple west to east flow accurate, the Northeast would be facing unseasonably warn and dry weather, not a nor’easter.

    1. No, it’s right about the houses of worship. Lawns of worship, on the other hand…

      1. As to “lawns of worship”, we have burial restrictions.

  2. Given that Hard Rock sued only as applied to indoor services, I’m not following how this latest order changes that case.

    1. It’s “Harvest Rock.”

    2. You can’t treat places of worship differently than similarly situated non-religious venues.

      If places like malls, retail stores, etc., are allowed 25% indoor capacity, the state needs to overcome a strict scrutiny analysis why religious venues are more significantly restricted or the restrictions will fall.

      1. Weren’t the same issues about similarly-situated secular venues, with no resolution on whether those venues were similarly situated, presented in the Harvest Rock case?

  3. “Shopping malls stay open at 20% capacity. ”

    40 churches in LA alone with 2000+ “average attendance” One with 13,000!


    Why don’t they get a capacity percentage?

    1. I think the distinction is:
      Churches = sitting in one place for 30 or 60 or 90 minutes without moving. Therefore, elevated risk of infection/infecting. Same for movie theaters.
      Malls: You are moving around, others are moving around, therefore you’re never next to an infected person for 15+ minutes. Therefore, reduced risk of infection.

      Now, you can agree with this balancing test or disagree with it. But it is an actual distinction. (Of course, the more examples we can find of other “sit in place for extended periods” locations that are still permitted and of “sitting for only very short periods” locations that are not permitted, it weakens the justification.)

      And if there is a church that has 2000 seats and can accommodate, say, 250-300 people while still keeping them all 6 feet apart, then that should be allowed, IMO…same other safety-related restrictions, of course, like mandatory mask-wearing, and possibly no singing.

      1. OK, you got that flatly backwards.

        I’m going to church this Sunday. My church is running at 25% capacity because every other pew is roped off, and family groups are required to maintain 6′ spacing between each other. A team sweeps through sanitizing commonly touched surfaces between masses, and we’re being required to wear masks except while receiving communion.

        We spend the whole mass over 6 feet from the same 4 other families.

        I leave church and go to the mall, where we walk around passing within 6 feet of hundreds of different people. 25 or better more opportunities to be infected.

        I think maybe you didn’t take into account the difference between orderly static positions and random mixing.

        1. “I think maybe you didn’t take into account the difference between orderly static positions and random mixing.”

          I think Santamonica’s take is that a contagious person at church is going to be emitting virii continuously, and the few people adjacent may get large doses. The same contagious person at the mall, continuously moving, will give a smaller dose to a larger number of people.

          Whether that is better or worse depends on a lot of things – fewer people infected is obviously good, but lower doses can mean a milder disease, possibly mild enough to be asymptomatic. Which situation is worse will depend on the exact numbers involved (which I don’t think we know right now).

          1. The CDC’s current position is that you get Coronavirus from 15+ minutes of exposure to an infected person, so the “sitting around with the same people for an hour” case is a lot worse than the “passing by a bunch of people for short periods of time” situation.

            1. IIUC, it’s not a binary case of you get it/you don’t. Viral load (the number of virii you inhale) is *one of* the factors affecting how sick you get.

              So, it might be that at church, the 4 nearest people get really, really sick, and at the mall 20 people you pass by get a really light, maybe even asymptomatic case (and are thus immune, yay!, but might in turn spread it to others, boo!). Which is better or worse depends on the particulars.

              1. Your point on viral load is well-taken, but the evidence seems to support “sustained close contact” as the primary form of transmission, and getting it by passing someone at the mall would be a pretty rare exception.

                My point is not even to quibble about the science, though, just pointing out that given CDC guidance on transmission, California probably has a reasonable basis to distinguish between “sitting around with the same people for extended periods of time” venues versus “incidentally coming into contact with people” venues. If they’re leaving movie theaters open but closing (indoor) churches, that deserves different scrutiny than just pointing at some random type of business that’s allowed to be open


          2. Wrong.

            Don’t confuse infectious dose (think “critical mass”) and resistance.

            1. Actually, there is a lot of reason to believe that the severity of an infection is related to the initial dose of the infectious agent. If you get just barely enough virons to start an infection, the immune system may stomp the infection before it ever becomes symptomatic, sometimes so fast that antibody based immunity never comes into play. You never know you were exposed.

              Whereas if you get a huge dose, the infection gets such a fast start that, before your immune system is up to speed you’re desperately ill.

              It’s thought this may be why the virus was so awful in NYC: Crowding was such that most people infected got large doses.

  4. Are you still pretending that religious services are more like a grocery store then a theater?

    1. Unlike those, church services are constitutionally protected.

      Perhaps states should shut down abortion clinics over this…

  5. Prof. Blackman, people are dying here, and I would appreciate it if you didn’t try to murder any of my fellow Californians. Seriously. You don’t have to do this. It’s none of your business.

    1. People die every day from all sorts of causes.

      We are dealing with a virus a little nastier than normal flu. Over 95% survival rate. It’s not like Ebola.

      Newsom or ANY governor should not have the power to make these edicts. Who died and made them kings?

      If you are so fearful, act accordingly. However, your fear does not trump my rights. You are supposed to be an adult. Act like one.

      1. We are dealing with a virus a little nastier than normal flu.

        JFC. It’s seven times the annual death rate of the normal flu. Even with extraordinary mitigation measures, COVID will kill as many Americans in one year as died in all of WW2.

        If you are so fearful, act accordingly. However, your fear does not trump my rights. You are supposed to be an adult. Act like one.

        Apparently acting like an adult requires me to care more about your loved ones than you do about mine. So be it.

        1. “JFC. It’s seven times the annual death rate of the normal flu. Even with extraordinary mitigation measures, COVID will kill as many Americans in one year as died in all of WW2.”

          If that JHU study on excess mortality is correct, the actual population death increase is actually fairly low. IOW, lots of nursing home deaths attributed to covid were folks with underlying conditions that were going to kill them soon anyway.

          1. The excess death numbers are even higher than the attributed-to-COVID numbers. So no.

            1. In comparison to worldwide influenza deaths for any given year? You are wrong, and apparently unable to accept anything outside of in-group ‘knowledge.’ But, as is expected, you are quite capable of ad hominem attacks on those who don’t share the ‘correct’ viewpoints, even if only in reply.

              1. I’m talking about the United States.

        2. Taking the average IFR for the whole population, of course, is meaningless as an estimate of risk, because risk is severely age dependent. For children it’s probably *less deadly* than flu (0.003% IFR estimate, and you need to factor in children seem to catch covid-19 at reduced rates compared to adults, something that isn’t true of flu). For the majority of adults, while deadlier than flu, it’s not that deadly. (18-49 has an estimated IFR of 0.02%, 50-64 has an estimated IFR of 0.05%. These are tiny numbers that are dwarfed by other causes of mortality).

          And lockdowns change risk profiles in other ways. Anxiety and depression in young adults and children is way up. Suicides are probably up as a consequence (there’s no good data or study yet). Medical diagnoses and treatment for potentially fatal conditions (heart disease, cancer, etc…) are down, and that’s especially worrying for conditions where early diagnosis dramatically improves outcomes.

          I’m not sure why the ww2 comparison is relevant. More americans die of heart disease in a year than died in ww2 (more than 1.5x as many). There are also ~3x as many americans today as there were in 1945 – considering mortality is a *rate*, talking about raw numbers is meaningless. To have the same impact as casualties in WW2, you’d have to kill ~3x as many in absolute numbers (because that would be approximately the same percentage).

          Assuming no vaccine and CDC’s IFR estimate is approximately correct, Covid-19 will at worst kill ~500k-600k americans total. That will likely take longer than a year, and lockdowns are not going to do a damn thing to stop it. (Simple model assumption: Covid-19 achieves no more than 25% population penetration – in line with estimates for the 1917, ’57, and ’68 pandemic flus). It will not come close to the same percentage of the population as died in WW2, and won’t even reach the number killed by heart disease in 2019.

          Note that CDC’s IFR estimate is likely to be high rather than low, as asymptomatic cases are hard to estimate since people who aren’t sick don’t generally get tested.

          1. I’m not sure why the ww2 comparison is relevant.

            If you don’t know why something that kills as many Americans, who wouldn’t have otherwise died from natural causes, in a year as died in all of WW2 is a big effin deal, I can’t help you.

            Assuming no vaccine and CDC’s IFR estimate is approximately correct, Covid-19 will at worst kill ~500k-600k americans total.

            Whether it’s the ≈ 400,000 who will die by the one year mark, however many are dead by the time the pandemic tapers off, or the multiple of either number that would have died without the halting mitigation measures that were undertaken, it’s a BIG. EFFIN. DEAL. Trying to minimize the body count by comparing it to predictable, unavoidable deaths from other causes is grotesque.

            1. Leo, look at the CDC’s causes of death in America.

              And as wars go, the US Army had a relatively low mortality in WW-II. (Now as to the Soviet Army, that’s a different story.)

              And if you want to talk about high mortality for the US Army, look at the Civil War….

              1. More Americans will die of COVID than US army soldiers died in the Civil War. The numbers will probably be close by the end of the year.

            2. The large number is a distraction. Deaths not by disease are not comparable.

              1. In war, especially the further back you go, most deaths are disease.

          2. If young, healthy people didn’t spread Coronavirus to older/at-risk people, some risked-based tiering would probably make sense. Unfortunately, the stupid virus seems to have other ideas about how it wants to spread.

      2. However, your fear does not trump my rights.
        Well, unless I’ve got a gun. Then “I was scared” is a perfectly good basis for “justifiable homicide”, right?

    2. No libertarian would ever say or imply that “even if it saves just one life” is sufficient for eliminating a key part of the first amendment.

      Californians are Americans with constitutional rights, so it’s definitely Prof. Blackman’s business.

    3. “I would appreciate it if you didn’t try to murder any of my fellow Californians.”

      Typical leftist. “Your speech is violence!”

      1. It’s more like, “freedom is violence”, actually.

      2. Cowed scientists said protests were ok because of being outside and the severity of the issue in the larger historical context, so deaths today from protest spreads are less than historical deaths being protested over, so worth it “and please don’t cancel me, my talking head job is profitable.”

        Nobody applies this to wars and dictatorship and loss of freedom historically, at the hands of religious factions, such that the religious detente in the First Amendment would logically suffer the same concept.

        Given the rage by some of my fellow atheists around here, it’s clear there is extra anti-religious hatred motivation going on on top of it.

        1. Those scientists were wrong. That doesn’t become a permission slip for out of state libertarians to advocate for the deaths of my neighbors.

    4. Then stay home. Problem solved.

    5. Liberals are concerned about human life all of the sudden. Except unborn babies. Those can be killed for any reason. And the pandemic is a compelling interest unless you want to riot, then go right ahead by all means. Can’t get Covid at a social justice riot.

      What a fucking joke liberals are. No wonder everyone wants to just be rid of them.

      1. Let’s play your idiotic game:

        Republicans aren’t concerned about human life all of the sudden. Except unborn babies. Everyone else can die.

        What a fucking joke conservatives are. No wonder everyone wants to just be rid of them.

        See how stupid you sound? People on every side of the political spectrum would appreciate your silence.

        1. Your little flip the script experiment fell flat on its face. Nice try though.

          1. You’re too dumb to realize how dumb your arguments are.

            Let us not pretend that you’re qualified to judge anything, let alone your own partisan stupidity.

            I’d pity you but for the fact that you don’t have any redeeming qualities that society is missing out on.

            1. So, you’re a moron then. Got it.

              Feel free to hide under the bed.

              You know who isn’t? The people making YOU do it, serf.

              1. Don’t you have some doorknobs to go lick?

      2. In 2016, the CDC reported 623,471 abortions (in US)
        US deaths to date from Communist Chinese Virus (as reported by CDC) 272,525.
        Interestingly enough, CDC official site knows nothing about deaths from the “real” flu anymore, Advanced search results: 0 results returned for flu deaths Must include flu deaths Not including covid
        From the always up to date Wikipedia; “Different methods in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a range from a low of about 3,300 deaths to a high of 49,000 per year”

    6. Our rights and civil liberties are important Dilan. Even worth dying for. In fact wars have been fought for them, where people died.

      1. If Californians have a problem with what Newsom is doing, we can recall Gavin Newsom.

        If we don’t, it’s none of Josh Blackman’s business that we are trying to save lives here.

        1. I tend to agree on the merits of covid policy, but I don’t your argument holds water when civil rights are involved. It’s too easy to map it to “If Alabamans have a problem with what Bull Connor is doing, they can vote him out. If they don’t, it’s none of nosy New Englanders business that they are trying to protect their way of life there in Alabama”.

          The civil rights of any American being violated is very much the business of Americans everywhere.

          Again, I’m not especially persuaded what Newsom is doing is an unreasonable infringement, but ‘y’all out of staters leave us be to decide about federal civil rights on our own’ doesn’t strike me as a persuasive argument.

        2. If Gavin Newsom and California decided to enslave its Hispanic population, should it be ignored by people in other states?

          Or would it be a major civil liberties violation that would be other states business?

    7. People who sacrifice a freedom for a little security deserve neither.

  6. In light of Diocese, I think Governor Newsome is making a mistake by basing shopping malls on a percentage but not houses of worship.

    I think the Supreme Court is signalling that Diocese is now dispositive and discrepancies between the way houses of worship and other kinds of buildings are handled will get much stricter scrutiny than before.

    1. In light of Diocese, what’s the chance of Newsome losing a 42 USC 1983 suit?

    2. I mean, I didn’t think we were supposed to take “Cafeteria Catholic” quite so literally, but if the SCOTUS wants us to consider churches to essential be religious retail, who am I to disagree?

  7. “places of worship and political expression” can “allow outdoor services only.”

    Oh, good, I’d hate to see any limits on the kind of “political expression” we’ve been experiencing lately. Which is perfectly safe and socially-distanced.

    1. I mean, sitting indoors to listen to a political speech is dangerous, but gathering in crowds outside to engage in mostly-peaceful behavior is part of our heritage of freedom.

      1. Because sitting in front of candles on the altar is bad, while dancing on the roof of a burning cop car is good.

        I keep thinking BLEVE when the gas tank fails.

  8. This order seems to apply draconian measures pretty evenly. I don’t see how scotus overturns it.

    1. Malls get 20% capacity. Churches get shut down.

  9. This is such flimsy analysis I wonder if it’ll even work as rabble rousing.

    1. If you’ve been following events in Michigan and Georgia, the bar for rabble rousing this crowd is pretty low.

  10. This was entirely predictable. Where there is a power vacuum, tyrants will step in.

  11. ICU census in normal times is usually around 90% of capacity….so what grusome is saying is that lockdown now, lockdown tomorrow, lockdown forever…..


    But boy am I glad I got out of the cesspool that is California two decades ago….

    1. “ICU census in normal times is usually around 90% of capacity”

      Is that from personal experience? I thought I had seen lower numbers and found e.g.:

      Ohio reporting ICU utilizations in the 70% range (scroll down a little)

      1. …and Illinois reporting 72% (600 of 3307 available at present)

      2. It’s seasonal. Winter ICUs generally operate near capacity in many areas.

        1. Also of potential interest:

          Go to the bottom charts, and look at hospital bed and ICU bed use per week. While covid patient use of beds has varied, total bed usage has been fairly constant all year (except for a brief surge in ICU bed demand in ~May – which didn’t manage to use all beds available even then). Note also, they increased supply of ICU beds early on, and then decreased supply in late november (probably realizing they didn’t need them), which means illinois hospitals don’t believe they’re going to run out of ICU beds (or they would have kept the extra beds available).

          1. Right, the number of ICU beds is not fixed, it’s adjusted in real time to try to maintain just enough empty to handle something like a bad pileup on a nearby expressway. I’ve NEVER been in an ICU that wasn’t mostly full.

            The 15% empty beds target was chosen to pretty much always be missed.

    2. No region in California is currently over the 85% threshold or has been at any point this year, so that cuts pretty hard against everything you just wrote.

  12. In “Diocese” the key issue was that secular activities were more lenient in terms of occupancy requirements in NY than religious activities; Newsom pretty much effectively circumvented that, maybe.

    1. Malls at 20%. Churches shut down….

  13. 85% full is the minimum for financial viability of an ICU. We are sick of these Chinese Commie little tyrants in the Democrat Party.

    1. But not sick enough to vote them out of office – – – – – – – –

  14. “Regions will be required to implement shutdown rules when intensive care unit capacity falls under 15%, and the governor said state projections show all regions except the Bay Area reaching this point in early December.”

    At least this is a marginally more sensible criteria than other states have used for lockdowns.

    1. Here’s an article out of Australia (2014) that claims that optimal hospital ICU utilization is 70-75%:


      It also says “there was no commonly accepted or used method for calculating ICU occupancy, methods described as more accurate enumerate actual patient hours in the ICU, use operational (and preferably fully staffed) beds as the denominator, and are calculated daily.”

      1. ICU’s are very expensive to operate and most patients admitted to them can never pay the full cost for their stay, even if they have health insurance. Hence why hospitals just don’t have extra beds lying around.

        ICU beds are a terrible trigger for lockdown policies that have huge economic impacts (and therefore health impacts – mental health mostly). I doubt Newsom, who seems to not mind being in high risk situations when it suits his own personal business, could care less about actually savings lives though. He is more interested in asserting governmental control over Joe Q. Public.

        1. As something like 90% of this expense is staffing, there is some flexibility to capacity — much like ERs can have patients in the hallway if needed.

  15. A blog. God, gays, guns
    The Volokh Conspiracy
    God, gays, guns. That’s all

  16. I miss the original conspiracy site with its largely rational commenters.

    I now miss the ability to exclude an individual conspiracy member’s posts, although in that era I did not find its use necessary or even helpful, but times and the membership have changed.

    1. Yup, compared to these comment threads, that was a frickin golden age.

  17. Question: Are there any religions whose doctrine forbids outdoor meetings?

    If not, then how does the order violate this: “ongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” Is the word “free” absolute and literal? Does free imply they have the right to worship naked at noon in Times Square? I think the word reasonable would come into play, so the debate should be whether the Governor’s order is reasonable.

    1. It certainly implies they have the right to worship naked at noon on property they own.

      1. And when was the last time that Times Square was shut down for a church service?

    2. And were are a hundred different churches/temples/synagogues going to find space for outdoor services in the middle of LA?

  18. As young Americans come to associate religion with three things — lethal recklessness, bigotry, and whining while freeloading — the role of religion in America seems likely to change.

  19. “can” is one thing, “should” is another, and the distinction is certainly important here.

    As Francis Collins (NIH head, regular churchgoer and author of The Language of God) said yesterday in a Zoom conversation with Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

    “The virus is having a wonderful time right now, taking advantage of circumstances where people have let their guard go down. …Churches gathering in person is a source of considerable concern and has certainly been an instance where super spreading has happened and could happen again. ..

    Most churches really ought to be advised to go to remote services, if they’re not already doing so.”

  20. I guess there was not giving-thanks prayer at the French Laundry.

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