Religion Can Never Be ‘Privatized’, by Casey Chalk

Faith–Or Feelings? by Claire Dwyer
May 14, 2020
The Other Virus Victims, by Rodney Pelletier
May 14, 2020

By Casey Chalk, Crisis Magazine, May 13, 2020

Casey ChalkWhat would James Madison and Thomas Jefferson—the philosophical and logistical masterminds behind the historically influential Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom in 1786—have to say about the latest ruckus over religious liberty in their beloved Old Dominion? Lighthouse Fellowship Church, a church located on tourist-friendly Chincoteague Island, is suing Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, whose stay-at-home order prohibits gatherings of more than ten persons (albeit with a few notable exceptions). Is such an order a violation of that ancient legislation that declares all men “free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities”? More importantly, what are Catholics to make of such injunctions?

The lawsuit is a response to a Virginia police summons to Lighthouse Fellowship pastor Kevin Wilson for holding a 16-person service on April 5 (Palm Sunday), in a building with a maximum occupancy of 293 people. Wilson is threatened with jail time or a $2,500 fine for violating Virginia’s Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. In an irony hopefully not lost on small-government conservatives suspicious of federal overreach, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is siding with the church, declaring that states’ rights cannot come at the expense of human rights.  ..

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