By Sherman R. Frederick
Battle Born Media
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, unless the state has declared an emergency due to a mysterious pandemic and nameless people in Carson City unilaterally create crazy rules that absolutely, 100 percent prohibit the free exercise thereof.
That’s life in Nevada this week. Here’s how we got there.
COVID-19 rules in Nevada dictate casinos can operate at half fire-code capacity, usually several hundred people. Churches, synagogues and mosques, however, may not exceed 50 people.
This comes from the newly created “Gov. Steve Sisolak Think Tank of Immunology.”
Because the governor’s rules make no sense, Calvary Chapel in Dayton filed suit saying Nevada’s pandemic rules violated the First Amendment. If there ever is a righteous lawsuit, that would be it. Slam dunk, right?
Nope. Last Friday, the four liberal judges in the U.S. Supreme Court, plus Chief Justice John Roberts, decided that current circumstances justify the violation. By a 5-4 vote, the First Amendment became, well, adjustable.
The state can prohibit the free exercise of religion any old time it wants. As a naughty sidebar question, I wonder if the lawsuit were brought by a Muslim group, instead of a Christian group, might the outcome been different?
We’ll leave that for a longer discussion. Meanwhile, here’s a couple of observations worth noting.
First, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a church service in rural Nevada that had over 50 people in attendance. So, Episcopalians are unaffected by this ruling. My LDS and Catholic friends, however, have a problem.
Second, my good friend Tom Mitchell writes this in his ever-relevant Nevada blog: “Let’s get this straight, according to a 5-4 one-sentence U.S. Supreme Court ruling Friday, if a Nevada church were to hold a bingo night in its 500-seat auditorium, under Gov. Steve Sisolak’s diktat, 250 people could attend?”
BINGO! The winner is the man in the cowboy hat. And the losers are everyone else in Nevada.
I’m reading the autobiography of Gen. George Crook. His first assignment out of West Point was to journey through San Francisco to his first post. Here’s his recollection of San Francisco then, which isn’t that much different from today:
“Everything was excitement and bustle, prices were most exorbitant, common laborers received much higher wages than officers of the Army, although at that time, by special act of Congress, we were allowed extra pay. Everything was so different from what I had been accustomed to that it was hard to realize I was in the United States. People had flocked there from all parts of the world; all nationalities were represented there. Sentiments and ideas were so liberal and expanded that they were almost beyond bounds.”
CANNED BEANS VS AOC
In an embrace of really good canned beans, comes the story of New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling on Americans to boycott Goya foods. Why? Because the owner of the popular Hispanic food company, Bob Unanue, once praised President Donald Trump and refused to apologize as AOC demanded.
AOC called for a boycott and … wait for it … sales of Goya products increased.
Subsequently, Goya named her “employee of the month.” Nice.
ONE MORE THING
— Heck is where you go if you don’t believe in Gosh.
— When a bird poops on my car, I eat a plate of scrambled eggs on my front porch. Just to show ‘em what I’m capable of.
— Due to the lack of cicadas this year, I’m planning to climb into the trees and scream.
— Someone left a grocery list in this cart that read: “Wine and stuff to eat with wine.” I’m pretty sure my soulmate is out there.
— I am taking up birding and I’ve received my first manual.
And with that, I’ll pick up my knitting and let myself out. Until next week, be safe, read a newspaper, wear a mask, and avoid soreheads. Life is always better that way.
Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, publisher of intensely local community newspapers, in Nevada and California. You may drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.)