After more than two months of strict lockdown orders, the Department of Justice finally had something to say about California’s repeated discrimination against churches and religious groups.
On Monday, Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband sent a three-page letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, protecting Americans’ civil rights as guaranteed by the Constitution.
DOJ’s letter to CA Gov. Newsom on civil rights and the covid-19 pandemic.
“We believe that the Constitution calls for California to do more to accommodate religious worship, including in Stage 2 of the Reopening Plan.” pic.twitter.com/8A4D95QKxs
— KerriKupecDOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) May 19, 2020
Dreiband’s letter to Newsom is a resounding reminder that religious liberty is protected under the First Amendment. Dreiband strongly urges Newsom to begin treating “religious activities equally with comparable nonreligious activities,” something not evident in either Newsom’s original stay-at-home mandate in March or his four-stage plan to reopen the state.
The letter cites Attorney General William Barr’s recent statement on Religious Practice and Social Distancing, in which he says “even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers.”
In case that wasn’t unmistakably clear, he continued, “Thus government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity.”
According to The Epoch Times, a spokesperson for Newsom has only said the governor’s office has received the letter, declining to comment further.
This move comes just ahead of the alliance of 3,000 churches, representing 2.5 million members, who will conduct a mass reopening across California on March 31st. This movement began just a few weeks after AG Barr began making statements on the matter, vowing to investigate government infringements on Constitutional Rights on behalf of the people.
This is an incredibly positive step in the right direction for Californians, especially the tens of thousands of protestors who defied orders, week after week, to stand up for their rights. Many of them made signs with verbiage like, “Jesus is Essential,” “Open Church,” and “Read the First Amendment.”
These demonstrations have already begun taking a toll on Newsom’s attempted power-grab. He started succumbing to the pressure last week when he announced he will be relaxing some of his mandates. Now that the DOJ is backing the people up, and the President is tweeting things like “REOPEN AMERICA,” Newsom will have no choice but to fairly accommodate the people. If he decides not to, he will risk losing the federal funding he worked so hard to extort during this pandemic. It’s that simple. If Newsom doesn’t get federal money, he will not have a state left to govern. Even a Leftist like Newsom won’t do that. If there’s one thing Democrats like, it’s power. If they don’t have a state, they lose that.
Fortunately for Californians, it looks like Newsom’s authoritarian dream will soon wither away into obscurity.
However just because the federal government is starting to crack down on the mini tyrants throughout the country, does NOT mean it’s time to relax and let the DOJ take it from here. As Thomas Jefferson would say, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” To prevent the agenda of tyranny from chipping away at our freedoms, it is vital that we NEVER fully entrust the protection of our rights to someone else.
The burden of defending our freedoms must eternally reside with us.