“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Of particular interest to my argument here are these two phrases:
“prohibiting the free exercise thereof” – the free exercise of what? Religion.
“the right of the people peaceably to assemble”
As delineated in the First Amendment to the Constitution, “We the People” are endowed with the God-given right to practice our faith as we see fit, and to peacefully assemble with other citizens for whatever reason we see fit. The Constitution and/or the First Amendment does not establish those rights, rather the rights were understood to pre-exist the founding of this country, and the Constitution mandates that the government has no authority to interfere in the free exercise of those rights.
The appearance of the COVID19 virus has thrown a wrench into daily life. Suddenly, under the guise of protecting us from falling ill, government has seemingly exceeded the boundaries that have been erected around it by the Constitution. Governors and Mayors are ruling by edict rather than legislated law. Ironically, no other virus, threat of illness, or deadly disease has ever caused anyone to lock America down. What changed?
It is important to remember that the Constitution is more concerned about keeping the federal government from exceeding its limited powers than giving the government unnamed powers. The Bill of Rights was demanded by those who worked to frame the Constitution as a requirement for passage. They were concerned that in years to come the federal government would attempt to encroach on the rights and liberties of the people and so the Bill of Rights was demanded as a part of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights does not grant rights, it, in fact, forbids the interference in the exercise of God-given rights by government. Rights bestowed on you by government can be as easily revoked as they were bestowed. Such, so-called, bestowed “rights” are no rights at all, they are suggestions, and last only until government decides they are no longer needed by you and me. Such is the case with gun confiscation in England, Australia, New Zealand, and, now, Canada. These are all English-speaking countries descended from the British that understood that the possession of weapons was a natural right.
Such attempts to abrogate natural rights by elected officials who seem to have lost their way, officials paid by the taxpaying public, and sworn to uphold the Constitution, are indicative of the problem we are facing today:
The Washington Examiner, on May 6, 2020, reported that Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker said that ‘churches may not reopen for a year or more because of the coronavirus.’
Does that pass Constitutional muster? It is a fact that certain Constitutional guarantees were abrogated during times of war… Lincoln did it and there are many who think he lacked the authority to do so. I am one of them. But, to my knowledge, no disease or threat of disease, and we’ve had plenty of them, was ever the impetus for voiding Constitutional rights by executive order.
Consider that the state of Oregon, with a population of 4.2 million people, to date, has 2,759 confirmed cases of COVID19, and 109 deaths, yet the governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, signed an executive order extending the state of emergency there for another 60 days, until July 6th.
People are becoming restless. People are protesting. Governors are telling people they have to stay home and cannot go out for a ride inside their cars. The longer this nonsense goes on the greater the possibility of a bad outcome. There’s much more to be said on this subject but maybe for another time.
One thought on “Notes from the CoronApocalypse Front – 1. Does the Constitution Still Matter?”
Many of the “reasonable states imposed bans on group gathering, stay-at-home orders, and selective business closures. I went along for the first 15 day order instituted via guideline from the Whitehouse. Once it went past the initial 15 days, most governors began feeling dictatorial power, unconstitutional authorities.
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