The Ohio woman interviewed in the tweet below is insane: she think sthat being “covered in Jesus’s blood” protects her from infection by coronavirus. And she’s not alone: as the CNN report says, 14 (now 12) states are exempting religious gatherings from “stay in place” orders. Then she brags about going to the grocery store, WalMart, and the Home Depot. That means she could easily infect people who aren’t religious, or aren’t of her faith. That’s irresponsible if not immoral. And it should be illegal.
To laugh or cry or rage. That is the question. pic.twitter.com/PWJ4zrcYRQ
— Amarnath Amarasingam (@AmarAmarasingam) April 5, 2020
Here’s the CNN article about which states are being idiotic about this, giving religion a pass and putting unevidenced faith above public health. The article, though, names 12 rather than 14 states. (Click on screenshot.)
The list of the Stupid States who do this (the article gives details):
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
Now some of these are worse than others: Wisconsin, for instance, allows no more than ten people in the worship space, and they have to adhere to social-distancing requirements. However, most of the rest of the states consider religious services to be “essential activities” and exempt them from any strictures, even saying that they’re protected by the First Amendment.
But they aren’t—not in my view. For these people aren’t just risking their own health and lives by going to services—they’re endangering the entire community, religious or not. These people, after they leave church, will go to grocery stores, pharmacies, and, like the woman above, WaMart and Home Depot. I can’t see any sensible view, or interpretation of the First Amendment, that allows religious services that pose a serious risk to the health of the nation, and, indeed, could lead to the death of those who don’t go to those services.
These crazy exemptions resemble those of the many states (discussed in Faith Versus Fact) that allow exemptions from vaccines if you have religious objections, or those states who go easy on parents who kill their children by using faith healing rather than scientific medicine. In fact, all but five of the 50 U.S. states allow parents to get religious exemptions from vaccinating their children (the enlightened states are Mississippi, California, West Virginia, Maine, and New York).
We know that religious congregating is dangerous; there are plenty of reports of illnesses and deaths of those who congregate to worship their benevolent and powerful god. They could, for the time being, worship remotely. Wouldn’t a benevolent God want them to do that? Nope, he seemingly wants his sheep to go out into the pastures and kill other sheep.
At any rate, if Hitchens were alive he’d have something to say about this. Without his eloquence, I can merely point this out and ask you to pass it on. Or, if you live in one of these states, complain to your representatives.