Congress shall not enact any legislation concerning religion, prohibiting its free exercise, or shortening freedom of expression, the press, or the people’s right to convene and request rectification of complaints by the government peacefully.
People should respect the First Amendment, not fiddle with it. The District of Columbia and Washington, DC’s Mayor, have been forced to settle a lawsuit brought by Capitol Hill Baptist Church for a whopping $220,000 after moving the religious institution to limit the attendance capacity of indoor and outdoor services.
Mayor Muriel Bowser put a hard cap on all churches at 50 attendees or 50% capacity, whichever came first. It happened alongside ability limit-based restrictions for local businesses, libraries, tattoo shops, bars, etc. Many DC churches can hold 500+ people, yet the attendance cap was still 50 people.
No right is more important than the next. The business shutdowns of 2020 allowed for “big businesses” such as Wal-Mart, Target, and others to remain open with Marijuana dispensaries and liquor stores. Yet, other businesses were forced to close, some to never re-open. In determining the capacity of a company, you have to factor in square footage. If 6 feet of social distancing is adequate, why were theme parks and other outdoor and indoor activities closed? Fun Depot in Asheville, NC, shut down due to Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order even though the inside is completely open and almost 65,000 square feet. The government has stated clearly that the size of a facility has no bearing on public health.
In March 2020, Capitol Hill Baptist Church pre-emptively halted its in-person services as public health concerns rose. Soon after, Mayor Bowser restricted no more than 100 in-person worship services. Throughout the summer, Bowser encouraged thousands of people to exercise their other first amendment right, the right of the people to peaceably assemble. There’s a problem here. A Democrat and lifelong Catholic, Bowser has been vocal about her support for protesting and welcomed thousands to the Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC on June 6th, 2020. There was no regard for social distancing or violation of orders she had put into place.
The difference in the events is that she cared about one and not about the other.
In politics, there is no room for personal judgment. Just because a politician believes in one thing and not the other doesn’t mean one is allowed and the other isn’t. As long as both are lawful, they must be allowed. It is another example of bending the rules for personal gain.
The lawsuit is a perfect example of justice for wrongdoings by our elected officials. Anticipate more courts to side with the constitution rather than public opinion as more cases are filed.