Appeals Court Upholds Santa Clara County’s Ban on Indoor Religious Gatherings

Santa Clara County officials are applauding a federal court’s ruling that affirmed a local ban on indoor gatherings.

The ruling reversed the court’s earlier decision to provide an exception for churches to the county's prohibition of indoor gatherings of any kind, after determining that the ban does not single out churches or houses of worship.

Friday’s temporary ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit extends the county’s ban on indoor gatherings to include churches once again, which allows the ban to remain until the court makes a final decision.

County officials heralded the decision in a statement issued over the weekend.

“The Ninth Circuit’s decision affirms that the County's health orders are neutral, across-the-board rules focused on preventing the spread of Covid-19,” County Counsel James Williams said. “Many in our community are eager to gather indoors together, including for indoor worship, but it is vitally important that we continue to keep our community safe and do everything we can bring the pandemic under control.”

Williams noted the efforts of the local faith community in the county’s official statement.

“We are grateful for the continued leadership of our faith community in the Covid-19 response,” Williams said. “The vast majority of our faith community have been gathering outdoors or online so that they can worship safely and protect the broader community from serious illness and death. And our faith community continues to partner with the county to support vaccination, testing, and other critical efforts to get all of us through to the other side of this pandemic.”

31 Comments

  1. HOAPres,

    Either your a “law and order” advocate regarding “illegal immigration” or your a “law breaker” like in this case. You can’t have it both ways. In any event, you are no “shepherd” to any “flock”

  2. Sure I can. This is American and this idiotic shutdown has been going on for months. This is America and one of the most fundamental rights American have is the right to practice their religion. It’s one thing to have a temporary shutdown for a week or a month but it is another thing when it drags on for months and years.

    People Die.

    Get over it.

    These government control freaks are never going to let up. These jokers will always find a reason from keeping you living like an American.

    It might not be a good idea to have a large public gathering but that isn’t a right the government can take away from you.

  3. HOAPres,

    Just to clarify, there is no “BAN” on religion here, the services can be done “outdoors”.

    As far as being “American”, there are two trains of thought regarding the First Amendment, the Constitution does “protect” the freedom of religion, but it does not say ANYTHING about HOW it is going to be performed. In “Reynolds v. United States (1879)” it ruled that polygamy is still illegal, even if it is religious belief.

    IN one very interesting case called Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2010), the court ruled that a “Registered Student Organization” (RSO) program would have to allow “All comers” including religion and sexual orientation. But one group claiming “religious freedom” wanted to exclude membership based on sexual orientation, and the school disagreed that if it wanted to be a RSO it must permit “all comers”. The Supreme Court said this was correct.

    As long as “ALL” churches are treated he same under the laws, it appears that there is no issue forthcoming regarding the U.S. Supreme Court. It will be interesting how it might rule to either reverse the court of appeals, or does it let this decision go into effect. IDK.

    But the First Amendment does not permit the “church” to disregard the public safety, for example, you cannot run a church in a building that has safety code violations, right? This is the same thing.

  4. HOAPres,

    The church is going to face big financial problems in this situation, are you the kind of person to cause this kind of problem.

    Remember there is a church in San Jose that owes as much as $1M in fines.

  5. If I owed a $1M in fines as a church then good luck with collecting it. I won’t be paying it.

    At some point you have to say enough is enough.

    The original timeline for ending this idiotic shutdown was a couple of weeks or a month. Now we are at almost a year.

    People Die.

    Get over it.

    We all aren’t going to stay shutdown for years on end.

  6. HOAPRES you wrote:

    “If I owed a $1M in fines as a church then good luck with collecting it. I won’t be paying it.”

    Then your property will be seized, you will be evicted from the church because it will be liquidated for the fine. You wrote:

    “At some point you have to say enough is enough.”

    Actually if you read the latest news, the “CODE BLUE” actually worked, the tests are indicating a significant reduction in infection, WAY ABOVE what could be achieved by the vaccinations. So, it was PRODUCTIVE and EFFECTIVE, and you cannot avoid that. You wrote:

    “The original timeline for ending this idiotic shutdown was a couple of weeks or a month. Now we are at almost a year.”

    You KNOW there is no “TIMELINE” whaen it comes to a VIRUS. What person EVER guaranteed that it would be gone in a few months. Oh yes, Donald Trump, who admitted in an interview with Bob Woodward he was LYING. Don’t ever bring this up again, please? You wrote:

    “We all aren’t going to stay shutdown for years on end.”

    We will do what is NECESSARY to keep people alive, safe, and prevent long term damages, OK

  7. Goldstein has been almost single-handedly and admirably taking on, and taking down, the Trumpista libertarians like hoapres, who combine a homicidal attitude toward people vulnerable to corona virus contagion, with open incitement, including incitement to violence, against public health authorities seeking to minimize potential harm to the public.

    The experts tell us the way to clinically treat sociopaths like hoapres is to: 1) acknowledge that they may not be able to fully understand your emotions; 2) explain to them how their behavior affects others and causes harm; 3) make our boundaries explicitly clear to them; 4) offer specific consequences for harmful behaviors (https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/sociopath).

    As hoapres says, at some point you have to say enough is enough. Well, we have arrived “at some point.” Let’s not give these hucksters–most of whom are landlords/slumlords themselves–free rent in the space between our ears. No vacancies here. They’ll get over it “at some point.”

  8. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    The free exercise of religion, as guaranteed in the Constitution, would seem to any unbiased interpreter to include the right of adherents to assemble in a structure established and considered essential by those same adherents to the proper exercise of their beliefs. It is patently un-American to believe that anyone, in or out of government, should have the right to barricade a house of worship, be it by force of arms or threat of ruin, so as to deny worshipers the right to assemble and enjoy the divine protection unique to a structure they believe sacred, under the banner of “it’s for their own good.”

    (If the courts continue to facilitate the totalitarian impulses of the simpleminded progressives in office we will soon learn that public health will best be served by the confiscation of private property and firearms, limitations on freedom of speech and assembly, and restrictions on every other natural right that protects us from life in the yoke, violent rebellion is guaranteed.)

    The free exercise of religion is an individual right and what the First Amendment prohibits is government inserting itself between an individual’s beliefs and his exercise thereof. For those who believe themselves part of a religious flock, assembly is part and parcel of their religion, and thus each and every member is singularly protected. To compare religious assembly to the practice of polygamy is to contrast individual, Constitutionally-recognized behavior (deemed beyond the reach of lawmakers) with behavior that is, quite obviously, neither individual nor beyond the reach of lawmakers (who’d historically governed marriage). This important distinction is revealed by the fact that there is no church in America where within its walls behavioral rights are extended beyond the individual (which is why victim consent is no defense in pedophilia cases).

    Every church member has the Constitutional right to attend services, kneel in solitary prayer, or be married (or buried) in the house of, and presence of, their god. Judges who rule otherwise do so out of allegiance to something other than our beloved Constitution.

  9. PHU TAN ELLI you wrote:

    ““Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    Just a little not, it steded the “no law respecting an establishment of religion”, doesn’t that actually mean that the “religions infrastructure” is always subject to the laws? That would in fact be a double edged sword here you wrote:

    “The free exercise of religion, as guaranteed in the Constitution, would seem to any unbiased interpreter to include the right of adherents to assemble in a structure established and considered essential by those same adherents to the proper exercise of their beliefs.”

    As I just pointed out above, that is a legal “repect of an establishment of religion” correct? So yes this part does not establish that the “buildings” of religion are any more special than any other building, or safety provisions regarding its use. THe rest of your argument just got destroyed. You wrote:

    “(If the courts continue to facilitate the totalitarian impulses of the simpleminded progressives in office we will soon learn that public health will best be served by the confiscation of private property and firearms, limitations on freedom of speech and assembly, and restrictions on every other natural right that protects us from life in the yoke, violent rebellion is guaranteed.)”

    This was nothing but a name-calling rant, and there is not “totalitarianism” in the order since it does not declare that your religion is forbidden, it simply means that your practices in the “building” or “establishment” are regulated. THe “exercise” of religion has not been touched. You wrote:

    “The free exercise of religion is an individual right and what the First Amendment prohibits is government inserting itself between an individual’s beliefs and his exercise thereof.”

    Yes the exercise of religion is protected, but NOT the “establishments” used to in effect make money off of that “practice” I am certain that the REASON why they used te term “establishment” was because they knew that “religious organizations” would attempt to subvert the “secular” laws and the constitution. Which has been proven by groups like the Christian Coalition and other “Faith based” political groups. You wrote:

    “For those who believe themselves part of a religious flock, assembly is part and parcel of their religion, and thus each and every member is singularly protected. To compare religious assembly to the practice of polygamy is to contrast individual, Constitutionally-recognized behavior (deemed beyond the reach of lawmakers) with behavior that is, quite obviously, neither individual nor beyond the reach of lawmakers (who’d historically governed marriage). This important distinction is revealed by the fact that there is no church in America where within its walls behavioral rights are extended beyond the individual (which is why victim consent is no defense in pedophilia cases).”

    But what about abuse of adults, there are plenty of cases where “religious” leaders exploit even their adult members too. Remember David Koresh? In any case if GOD cures COVID, fine, but he doesn’t, he in fact is watching COVID do its thing like watching a reality TV show. You wrote:

    “Every church member has the Constitutional right to attend services, kneel in solitary prayer, or be married (or buried) in the house of, and presence of, their god. Judges who rule otherwise do so out of allegiance to something other than our beloved Constitution.”

    As I pointed out above, most people don’t read the clause “no law respecting an establishment of religion”, and since churches are establishments, just like a hotel, a restaurant, a nail salon, or a gym, that claim is in fact completely wrong.

  10. SG,

    A church without worshipers is a building. It becomes a church when it is utilized and made sacred as such by people exercising their religion. Using your queer brand of logic, because a cross is nothing but a man-made object its status is no more special than any other object, such as a toaster — a position which would allow the government to ban the wearing of crosses in public (should the totalitarians you worship decide that Christian crosses are offensive symbols of white privilege).

    For many people, including those practicing religions traditional to this nation, churches are not optional accessories for worshiping their god; they are essential and there is no evidence the Founders thought otherwise. That our county supervisors do not recognize churches as essential is hardly surprising as they have busied themselves with important work such as worshiping diversity, abetting Hispanic infiltration, excusing African-American criminality, and celebrating the sexually odd.

    Nothing in the Bill of Rights (or in my post, for that matter) suggests that unlawful conduct is or should be protected. How you concluded that religious leaders who exploit their followers was germane to my post can only be known by you (or your therapist).

  11. PHU TAN ELLI you wrote:

    “A church without worshipers is a building.”

    No a church is a building constructed with the intent of holding services, if it is just a building, it does not have pews or sonthing of that kind of seating, an alter or something like it, a choir section or something like that. The structure itself IS a church BUT as you also wrote:

    “It becomes a church when it is utilized and made sacred as such by people exercising their religion.”

    Well then, there is your real logical problem, a persons HOM<E can be a church, thus online services are a practice of religion as well as outdoor services. That situation makes the “church” building in effect not a special place at all. And thus are not “essential” for the exercise of religion, right? You wrote:

    “Using your queer brand of logic, because a cross is nothing but a man-made object its status is no more special than any other object, such as a toaster — a position which would allow the government to ban the wearing of crosses in public (should the totalitarians you worship decide that Christian crosses are offensive symbols of white privilege).”

    Now again you are slipping into irrational thought, because no one even suggests you cannot wear a cross, nor forbids you from believing in god, or praying to a god. You really are trying to make the government into the “enemy” of religion, just like you and your kind have done in history regarding “scientists” You wrote:

    “For many people, including those practicing religions traditional to this nation, churches are not optional accessories for worshiping their god; they are essential and there is no evidence the Founders thought otherwise.”

    Then why put in the U.S Constitution a “separation” of “church” and “state”. The exact words by Thomas Jefferson written in 1802. He is a “founder” right, oh yes he wrote the Declaration of Independence and worked on the U. S. Constitution. You wrote:

    “That our county supervisors do not recognize churches as essential is hardly surprising as they have busied themselves with important work such as worshiping diversity, abetting Hispanic infiltration, excusing African-American criminality, and celebrating the sexually odd.”

    No this is just race baiting and also not “germane” to this discussion at all. You wrote:

    “Nothing in the Bill of Rights (or in my post, for that matter) suggests that unlawful conduct is or should be protected. How you concluded that religious leaders who exploit their followers was germane to my post can only be known by you (or your therapist).”

    Making money off of members of the church is NOT illegal, but it is what it is, a business. Just “marketed” under the “guise” of religion. Based on a written work of fiction “The Bible” because there is no evidence found to support that the world is only say 10,000 years old. There are no remains found to be that of most “people” named as parts of the Bible. That the book never even discussed the dinosaurs. That the book in fact simply says that the planet and the universe was “created” in 6 “days”. Days themselves are “earth” days of which are “24 “earth” hours. The Bible is just another book like “Harry Potter”.

  12. SG,

    “That situation makes the “church” building in effect not a special place at all.”

    Not special to whom? It’s obvious you believe that even when an individual’s behavior is Constitutionally-protected the state, or maybe you yourself, should have the right to direct it. Garbage! What the Constitution guarantees is that the state will recognize no one church in order that every believer can recognize his own.

    Also, your assertion that a church is defined by its furniture is absurd. Believers can repurpose a Wienerschnitzel into a church should they convince themselves god will be able to find them.

    “no one even suggests you cannot wear a cross, nor forbids you from believing in god, or praying to a god.”

    Among Lenin’s early decrees was one that led to the confiscation of church property. This was followed by the removal of religious references, the murder of bishops and monks, and laws making it illegal for parents to teach religion to their children.

    “Then why put in the U.S Constitution a “separation” of “church” and “state”.”

    Your ignorance is spectacular. Church must be separated from state in order to protect one from the other. A church empowered with the authority of law compels belief and rules accordingly (e.g. the outlawing of Protestantism by the Catholic Church during the murderous Inquisition), while state control of religion results in hegemonic control over everything (including, as we know, women’s fashions).

    “Based on a written work of fiction “The Bible” because there is no evidence found to support that the world is only say 10,000 years old.”

    You have, by way of sources outside organized religion, decided the Bible does not accurately tell the story of creation. Does it not occur to you that, were church and state not separate, you might never have had access to the outside sources that led to your skepticism? Are you not aware that 421 years ago Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake because an all-powerful church objected to some conclusions he reached based upon his unapproved investigation of the cosmos? Wouldn’t you like the government to protect your right to read, believe, and share the information that interests you, be it spiritual or scientific?

    Dude, get a clue.

  13. Phu Tan Elli wrote:

    “Not special to whom? It’s obvious you believe that even when an individual’s behavior is Constitutionally-protected the state, or maybe you yourself, should have the right to direct it. Garbage! What the Constitution guarantees is that the state will recognize no one church in order that every believer can recognize his own.”

    WOW, you really are going further into irrational thought, the state HAS the right to protect public health, and that’s what it is doing, it is NOT directing any church to change its beleifs. You keep on trying to distract from the situation AGAIN. You wrote:

    “Also, your assertion that a church is defined by its furniture is absurd. Believers can repurpose a Wienerschnitzel into a church should they convince themselves god will be able to find them.”

    Again, then there is not “essential” nature that one must exercise their beleiefs at a particular PLACE or TIMME, and it never was. You wrote:

    “Among Lenin’s early decrees was one that led to the confiscation of church property. This was followed by the removal of religious references, the murder of bishops and monks, and laws making it illegal for parents to teach religion to their children.”

    Another example of irrational thought, NO ONE has even hinted at this potential future. There are no “security forces” getting prepared to seized the buildings of a church or round up any religious followers. This is just silly you wrote:

    “Your ignorance is spectacular. Church must be separated from state in order to protect one from the other. A church empowered with the authority of law compels belief and rules accordingly (e.g. the outlawing of Protestantism by the Catholic Church during the murderous Inquisition), while state control of religion results in hegemonic control over everything (including, as we know, women’s fashions).”

    That is the wildest revisionist history I have ever seen. But most importantly, just look at another example when the “church” rules over state, the Salem Witch trials. Simply because you and your friends in effect believe there is a “Satan” and that others thoughts and beliefs are a threat to your “souls”, these people actually tortured and killed man truly INNOCENT people. You wote:

    “You have, by way of sources outside organized religion, decided the Bible does not accurately tell the story of creation. Does it not occur to you that, were church and state not separate, you might never have had access to the outside sources that led to your skepticism? Are you not aware that 421 years ago Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake because an all-powerful church objected to some conclusions he reached based upon his unapproved investigation of the cosmos? Wouldn’t you like the government to protect your right to read, believe, and share the information that interests you, be it spiritual or scientific?”

    You just proved my point again, your “beliefs” in this case are putting people in a higher risk of being infected by demanding that you are allowed to be “unregulated” by the state regarding public health. Not only that, but you also in what you wrote indicated that if it wasn’t for the “state” the “Faith-based” practices are actually a “THREAT” to me. If your “Faith-based” groups had their way, you would “burn me at the stake” right? That the “Faith-based” groups would in fact, like they did many times in the past, destroy scientific knowledge, forcing it to be rediscovered hundreds of years later. Carl Sagan discussed this in the ORIGINAL Cosmos. And you would actually act to “purge” anyone that does not believe in your “faith”.

    Please understand, the way air-borne viruses spread works is any person acting unsafely, is a threat to the entire population, whether they are “Faith-based” or not. Thus, this argument is pointless. The ‘state” has the responsibility to protect the public, and it will do so. But it is NOT attempting to “damage” or “threaten” your “faith”.

  14. –“WOW, you really are going further into irrational thought, the state HAS the right to protect public health, and that’s what it is doing, it is NOT directing any church to change its beleifs.”

    In an earlier comment you cited one example of a church facing a million dollars in fines; how is that protecting public health? Shouldn’t individual church members have as much right to weigh the risks of attending church (and satisfying their spiritual needs) as do home buyers attending open houses, do-it-yourselfers at Home Depot, smokers getting their cigarettes at 7-11, or boozers shopping at liquor stores?
    You act as if you (or the state) has some form of proof that denying spiritual people from the traditional practice of their religion is harmless. But no such proof exists, and given mankind’s history of risking life and property in pursuit of exactly that type of religious freedom I say the evidence is against you.

    – “Again, then there is not “essential” nature that one must exercise their beleiefs at a particular PLACE or TIMME, and it never was.”

    So says you and your totalitarian progressives. I dare you to take up a post outside Mecca during the Hajj and tell those Muslims to turn back; that the place and time they hold sacred is neither considered essential nor respected by you and your people (please take the board of supes along). Your head(s) would soon thud to the ground.

    – “NO ONE has even hinted at this potential future. There are no “security forces” getting prepared to seized the buildings of a church or round up any religious followers.”

    No one hinted that the temporary lockdown would last into the new year, or that qualified physicians with differing opinions about the virus, the lockdown, treatment protocols, etc. would be ostracized, booted-off YouTube, and terrified into silence.

    – “look at another example when the “church” rules over state, the Salem Witch trials. Simply because you and your friends in effect believe there is a “Satan.”

    Now you’re arguing against the alignment of church and state? You’re obviously confusing yourself. From a practical standpoint, it would not have mattered in Salem whether it was the church ruling over the state or vice versa. But one thing is certain, the trials couldn’t have taken place had government power (the power to bring charges) been properly separate from religious belief.
    As for my belief in Satan, just another example of you erroneously assuming things in spite of your ignorance.

    – “Please understand, the way air-borne viruses spread works is any person acting unsafely, is a threat to the entire population, whether they are “Faith-based” or not. Thus, this argument is pointless. The ‘state” has the responsibility to protect the public, and it will do so.”

    That state you seem so fond of has declared racism, white supremacy, climate change, and the Trump administration to be existential (i.e. life and death) threats to our nation. So, given your interpretation of the state’s responsibility to protect the public, I guess there’s going to be a lot more aggressive protecting going on in America. You know, Hitler considered Jews to be existential threats to the Third Reich, and promptly took action to remedy the danger. How’d that little historical episode sit with you?

  15. Pho Tan Elli,

    I am sorry to remind you of a seen from Billy Madison:

    ““Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” Sandler then finishes the punchline by saying, “Okay, a simple ‘wrong’ would’ve done just fine.””

    This is just a movie quote.

    But you are simply acting as if the COVID regulations are in fact an “attack” on religion. It simply is NOT TRUE and it never will be. But you will try to use any irrational explanation to try to make the “faith-based” groups look like they are being “persecuted”. They ARE NOT.

    Of course, the fact that COVID has a grip on the world and will do so until we find a SCIENTIFIC method of removing it as a threat to ALL of us. And yes, many people gave us false hopes and deadlines regarding how long it would take. At least with regards to me, I always told many people, even my own City Council, they better get prepared for a 2 to 3 year HOLD on normalcy.

    But it is true that politicians are too afraid of giving the people the real facts. Trump always relied when it came to having to present information or evidence that it would come in “2 weeks” (but never did provide that information) , and many people, even Biden is not coming clean to say clearly “We will get back to normal, WHEN we can”. Given that the “economics” and “political” ramifications, INCLUDING the impact it will have on all BUSINESS like organized religious entities.

    However, the free “exercise” and “practice ” of all faiths continues, just not in the manner it has done in the past. Once the COVID situation is under control, BECAUSE OF SCIENCE, it will return to normal. No one at this time is targeting anyone or group for incarceration, torture, or death. All “faiths” WILL survive COVID UNLESS they SELF DESTRUCT.

  16. Phu Tan Elli,

    Here is proof that “faith based” groups are NOT be targeted for special persecution. THe story is in the Mercury News titled ” San Jose gym, fined nearly $1 million for defying COVID-19 rules, closes its doors — for now: The gym had previously argued that it was an essential business and was exercising its “constitutional right to peacefully protest.” (https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/02/17/san-jose-gym-fined-nearly-1-million-for-defying-covid-19-rules-finally-closes-its-doors-for-now/)

    “A San Jose gym that has racked up nearly $1 million in fines for operating indoors has finally closed, although likely for not very long as Santa Clara County is inching closer to letting businesses reopen now that California COVID-19 cases have dipped to the lowest level since fall.

    California Ripped Fitness’ decision to temporarily close its indoor operation at 1035 E. Capitol Expressway comes after months of remaining open in blatant defiance of the state’s public health order.

    Over the past two months, Santa Clara County had received dozens of complaints about the gym, conducted repeated site visits and slapped the business with the hefty fines after it refused to abide by rules meant to curb the disease’s spread.

    The gym’s justification for being defiant was displayed prominently on its front windows in the form of colorful, hand-written signs that read: “We are exercising our constitutional right to peacefully protest. We are protesting that health clubs and exercise are essential.”

    The county on Wednesday announced that the owner of California Ripped Fitness had finally submitted a compliance statement indicating they were no longer operating indoors.”

    So here is the PROOF that there is no “special” persecution going on regarding “faith based” groups. You are being treated EQUALLY and FAIRLY.

  17. SG: You logic is sound, but your premise if false. You then begin a flawed, but logically consistent journey to an incorrect conclusion. In a nutshell, you asserted there is no tension between the prohibition against encouraging religious activities and discouraging religious activities. It is impossible to govern a society through laws without laws either at least implicitly encouraging or discouraging religious activities. Even when the intent of laws have nothing to do with religious activities, the implementation of laws can have the practical effect of encouraging or discouraging. The mere presence of any laws can ultimately be traced to religious activities after enough attenuation. Therefore, the Supreme Court has ruled upon how to address this impossible task of governing a nation within the confines of the 1st Amendment. These rules are not based in logic, as there can be no logic once the logical impossibility has been established. Therefore, the rules are a practical application that reconciles the tension between encourage vs. discourage. For example prohibiting headdress for everybody is against the “discouragement” clause for Muslims and Jews. Forcing all inmates to eat pork is against the “discouragement” clause. Therefore, it has been established as unconstitutional that prohibiting the gathering of religious members for the purpose of worship as a “discouragement” even when ALL gatherings are prohibited IF such prohibition continues for “too long.” What is “too long”? That hasn’t been determined but I suspect more than a year will be found to be “too long” and “less then a month” is not too long–unless specific black-out dates are used. For example, discouraging gatherings on Dec 25th because of a scientific correlation of health hazard would likely be determined to violate the “discouragement” clause even if applied to everybody because of the religious significance to SOME religions.

    You really need to read a lot of case law to understand the nuances of how this works. But logic is not the answer to this riddle.

  18. BTW: Encouraging or Discouraging is apply to those activities that are “inalienable from a religious act (aka: practice of religion). For example, forbidding prayer would be an inalienable practice of many religions. Gatherings have not been explicitly determined to be inalienable, but I suspect it will be.

    Then to go from the macro–a religion to the micro–violating an individual’s rights, the inalienable right of a religion must apply the individual as a “deeply held belief.” For example, for a desire to use peyote, an individual can invent their “newly-found-faith” in native american religions.

  19. TRY LOGIC,

    Your approach is that somehow, the laws or in this case the limitations on indoor services are either and “encouragement” or “discouragement” of religion.

    That premise is “flawed” because the limitations in this case are not “designed” or “intended” to either encourage or discourage religious belief. These rules do not do either.

    In fact, your religious beliefs are not even being touched in this case. The public health rules are only designed to inhibit the spread of COVID.
    In fact here is some information from “ Partly false claim: It is unconstitutional to shut churches, businesses, halt gun sales and ban assembly to consider :

    “Posts shared thousands of times on Facebook suggest that social distancing measures and temporary business closures in response to the new coronavirus are unconstitutional. The posts read, “Just remember what the government attacked first in a time of crisis: Church … Gun stores … Freedom to run your business … Freedom to assemble … Every single one of these rights is protected by the Constitution.” Although freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, and freedom of peaceful assembly are enshrined in the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court has established that there are certain limits to these rights.

    Freedom of religion and public gatherings

    The First Amendment to the Constitution, available here , says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Constitution thus protects the right of individuals to freely adhere to and worship in whatever faith they choose (more information about freedom of religion in the U.S. can be found on the American Civil Union Liberties Union’s website https://www.aclu.org/other/your-right-religious-freedom ).

    The First Amendment ( here ) also guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble,” another freedom mentioned in the Facebook posts. As explained here by the Library of Congress, “The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly. THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE IS NOT, HOWEVER, ABSOLUTE.” The Library of Congress explains that the First Amendment “DOES NOT PROVIDE THE RIGHT TO CONDUCT AN ASSEMBLY AT WHICH THERE IS a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, or interference with traffic on public streets, OR OTHER IMMEDIATE THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY OR ORDER.”

    Statewide restrictions on public gatherings, including religious services, stems from an effort to follow social distancing guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to COVID-19. In order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, the CDC advises that you “stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people,” “not gather in groups,” and “stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings” ( here, here, here ). “

    What has been going on here, is that many are constantly arguing that “faith based” groups are TARGETED for persecution during this time, and saying that ASSEMBLY is an UNRESTRICTED RIGHT.

    Now the previous U.S. Supreme Court case was based on rules that were in fact issued with ONLY the assembly of religious services and that was CLEARLY wrong, even I admit that. THe previous decision was:

    “The six conservative justices in the majority differed among themselves, but they agreed California had singled out churches for unfair treatment.

    “Since the arrival of COVID–19, California has openly imposed more stringent regulations on religious institutions than on many businesses.” wrote Justice Neil M. Gorsuch in one of three concurring opinions. “California worries that worship brings people together for too much time. Yet, California does not limit its citizens to running in and out of other establishments; no one is barred from lingering in shopping malls, salons, or bus terminals.””

    But NOW we have material differences from that previous decision, along with SIGNIFICANT public policy revisions, that in effect erases the argument that the court agreed with.

  20. Slight revision:

    TRY LOGIC,

    Your approach is that somehow, the laws or in this case the limitations on indoor services are either and “encouragement” or “discouragement” of religion.

    That premise is “flawed” because the limitations in this case are not “designed” or “intended” to either encourage or discourage religious belief. These rules do not do either.

    In fact, your religious beliefs are not even being touched in this case. The public health rules are only designed to inhibit the spread of COVID.
    In fact here is some information from “ Partly false claim: It is unconstitutional to shut churches, businesses, halt gun sales and ban assembly to consider :

    “Posts shared thousands of times on Facebook suggest that social distancing measures and temporary business closures in response to the new coronavirus are unconstitutional. The posts read, “Just remember what the government attacked first in a time of crisis: Church … Gun stores … Freedom to run your business … Freedom to assemble … Every single one of these rights is protected by the Constitution.” Although freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, and freedom of peaceful assembly are enshrined in the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court has established that there are certain limits to these rights.

    Freedom of religion and public gatherings

    The First Amendment to the Constitution, available here , says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The Constitution thus protects the right of individuals to freely adhere to and worship in whatever faith they choose (more information about freedom of religion in the U.S. can be found on the American Civil Union Liberties Union’s website https://www.aclu.org/other/your-right-religious-freedom ).

    The First Amendment also guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble,” another freedom mentioned in the Facebook posts. As explained here by the Library of Congress, “The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly. THE RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE IS NOT, HOWEVER, ABSOLUTE.” The Library of Congress explains that the First Amendment “DOES NOT PROVIDE THE RIGHT TO CONDUCT AN ASSEMBLY AT WHICH THERE IS a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, or interference with traffic on public streets, OR OTHER IMMEDIATE THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY OR ORDER.”

    Statewide restrictions on public gatherings, including religious services, stems from an effort to follow social distancing guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to COVID-19. In order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, the CDC advises that you “stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people,” “not gather in groups,” and “stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings”

    Over the past two months, state restrictions on mass gatherings have prompted U.S. religious institutions to find alternatives to safely worship and celebrate the holy days . Beyond in-person religious services, coronavirus restrictions have also led to the cancellation of concerts, festivals, and sporting events across the country and around the world. “

    What has been going on here, is that many are constantly arguing that “faith based” groups are TARGETED for persecution during this time, and saying that ASSEMBLY is an UNRESTRICTED RIGHT.

    Now the previous U.S. Supreme Court case was based on rules that were in fact issued with ONLY the assembly of religious services and that was CLEARLY wrong, even I admit that. THe previous decision was:

    “The six conservative justices in the majority differed among themselves, but they agreed California had singled out churches for unfair treatment.

    “Since the arrival of COVID–19, California has openly imposed more stringent regulations on religious institutions than on many businesses.” wrote Justice Neil M. Gorsuch in one of three concurring opinions. “California worries that worship brings people together for too much time. Yet, California does not limit its citizens to running in and out of other establishments; no one is barred from lingering in shopping malls, salons, or bus terminals.””

    But NOW we have material differences from that previous decision, along with SIGNIFICANT public policy revisions, that in effect erases the argument that the court agreed with.

  21. “intention” is not the standard from which constitutionality is determined. Again, you need to read much case law.
    Religious beliefs are being “touch on” in that the filing for remedy is fully asserting that they are. Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but that opinion is not binding, or even part of the court record. This case will be determined based upon the arguments proffered, which indeed do “touch on religion.”
    Most of your posts are filled with either, unauthoritative sources or assertions of legal fact absent a finding of fact. The first are facebook posts, ACLU opinions, library of congress information, etc…these are nothing but word-salad and absent any legal precedence and might (and “might” is generous) be viewed as “persuasive” sources in the eyes of a court. The second is your conflation of Court findings as precedence and court rulings on orders. An order applies only to a case and sometimes, such as this case, only during the judicial process.
    I can tell you have no legal training and believe you are pretty smart. But, this is not enough. You must also know the legal process as it exists and not as you wish (or imagine) it to be. You might try citing your cases and building your argument from there. But even that won’t be very easy without substantive knowledge on constitutional law. Have you had such training?

  22. TRY LOGIC you wrote:

    ““intention” is not the standard from which constitutionality is determined. Again, you need to read much case law.”

    I have and still so far there is no “UNIVERSAL” constitutional right to assembly. That is something your trying to distract the readers gere about. You also wrote:

    “Religious beliefs are being “touch on” in that the filing for remedy is fully asserting that they are. Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but that opinion is not binding, or even part of the court record. This case will be determined based upon the arguments proffered, which indeed do “touch on religion.””

    However, as the saying goes, the “jury” is still out, but the case so far has not yet been appealed regarding the 9th Circuit Appeals decision. If there is no appeal, the decision will stand, and thus your claims are not valid, you wrote:

    “Most of your posts are filled with either, unauthoritative sources or assertions of legal fact absent a finding of fact. The first are facebook posts, ACLU opinions, library of congress information, etc…these are nothing but word-salad and absent any legal precedence and might (and “might” is generous) be viewed as “persuasive” sources in the eyes of a court. The second is your conflation of Court findings as precedence and court rulings on orders. An order applies only to a case and sometimes, such as this case, only during the judicial process.”

    Again, WHERE is the appeal to the full 9th Circuit? Surely it would have been filed by now. Until there is such an appeal, that decision has been made by the proper authorities. You are just also expressing an opinion with no authority to support it, YET. I am waiting for the appeal before passing judgement, but so far this situation is not agreeing with you. You wrote:

    “I can tell you have no legal training and believe you are pretty smart. But, this is not enough. You must also know the legal process as it exists and not as you wish (or imagine) it to be. You might try citing your cases and building your argument from there. But even that won’t be very easy without substantive knowledge on constitutional law. Have you had such training?”

    Training is NOT necessary when the Courts have already made the determination. But yes I have significant legal training because I am a recognized legal expert for testimony in courts, and have done so in depositions and trials. What your just doing is distracting from the STORY here. The Appeals court made the decision, and so far no hint of another appeal, where is it?

  23. “So here is the PROOF that there is no “special” persecution going on regarding “faith based” groups. You are being treated EQUALLY and FAIRLY.” — Steven Goldstein

    Here is a perfect example of why it is a waste of time to debate this issue with Steven Goldstein, the prolific generator of abstruse verbiage. With his offer of proof to a point of his own invention, he puts himself into the position of disproving allegations not made and establishing relationships not relevant.

    The issue was never about the persecution of faith based groups or those of any other description. It was always about the government making laws specifically forbidden by the Constitution; to wit, laws that prohibit “the free exercise” of religion.

    There is no question that at the time the Constitution was ratified attending church services was understood to be the most common and widely-accepted manner in which religion could be exercised. Families “belonged” to churches, “church-going” gave men credibility, and Sunday services were celebrated as community-building events. Remove free access to church worship from the Bill of Rights and freedom of religion evaporates. There are simply no words you (or any court) can offer that will change this simple truth: the founders made it a point to keep the government from coming between people and their churches.

    It is pure lunacy to compare church members prohibited from their houses of worship to gym members denied their barbells and mirrors, just as it would be to compare a newspaper office to fortune teller’s studio: one is Constitutionally-protected and the other is not. Why it is you don’t get this, and why it is you don’t understand the danger in granting the government, be it the courts, the lawmakers, or the bureaucrats editorial control of the Bill of Rights, is beyond understanding and no longer worth my time.

  24. Phu Tan Elli you wrote:

    “Why it is you don’t get this, and why it is you don’t understand the danger in granting the government, be it the courts, the lawmakers, or the bureaucrats editorial control of the Bill of Rights, is beyond understanding and no longer worth my time.”

    It is beyond Your understanding yes. But to me it is common sense. The fact is the Courts under the Constitution, do have editorial control over the Bill of Rights, as assigned by the U.S. Constitution. Please read this:

    “Article III.

    Section. 1.

    The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

    Section. 2.

    The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;—to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;—to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;—to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;—to Controversies between two or more States;— between a State and Citizens of another State,—between Citizens of different States,—between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

    In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

    The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.”

    There it is, in “plain English”

    If you want to remove this power, AMEND the constitution.

  25. Steve Goldstein: I don’t think you understand how amusing your posts are. You cut-and-paste legal phrases as if they mean the same thing in one context as they do in another. When you do this, those who have read the underlying cases that developed such phrases as “clear and present danger” know you do not understand how that phrase’s meaning changes when applied to some facts and circumstances vs. other facts and circumstances. Simply reading the Constitution and declaring that you “know what it means” is so woefully inadequate to establish opinions of substance that it renders any dialogue impossible. You are simply speaking a different language and don’t even know it. It’s like trying to communicate with a babbling fool who is convince he’s the messiah.

    You don’t even understand the procedural stance the “ruling” of the subject of this article applies to.

    You sound like a jail-house lawyer…..the similarities are astounding

  26. Try Logic you wrote:

    “Steve Goldstein: I don’t think you understand how amusing your posts are. You cut-and-paste legal phrases as if they mean the same thing in one context as they do in another. When you do this, those who have read the underlying cases that developed such phrases as “clear and present danger” know you do not understand how that phrase’s meaning changes when applied to some facts and circumstances vs. other facts and circumstances. Simply reading the Constitution and declaring that you “know what it means” is so woefully inadequate to establish opinions of substance that it renders any dialogue impossible. You are simply speaking a different language and don’t even know it. It’s like trying to communicate with a babbling fool who is convince he’s the messiah.

    You don’t even understand the procedural stance the “ruling” of the subject of this article applies to.

    You sound like a jail-house lawyer…..the similarities are astounding.”

    Your only response is to use the false defense of “Name-Calling” which is defined as:

    “Name-Calling: A variety of the “Ad Hominem” argument. The dangerous fallacy that, simply because of who one is or is alleged to be, any and all arguments, disagreements or objections against one’s standpoint or actions are automatically racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, bigoted, discriminatory or hateful. E.g., “My stand on abortion is the only correct one. To disagree with me, argue with me or question my judgment in any way would only show what a pig you really are.” Also applies to refuting an argument by simply calling it a “fallacy,” or declaring it invalid without proving why it is invalid, or summarily dismissing arguments or opponents by labeling them “racist,” “communist,” “fascist,” “moron,” any name followed by the suffix “tard” (short for the highly offensive “retard”) or some other negative name without further explanation. E.g., “He’s an a**hole, end of story” or “I’m a loser.” A subset of this is the Newspeak fallacy, creating identification with a certain kind of audience by inventing or using racist or offensive, sometimes military-sounding nicknames for opponents or enemies, e.g., “The damned DINO’s are even worse than the Repugs and the Neocons.” Or, “In the Big One it took us only five years to beat both the J*ps and the Jerries, so more than a decade and a half after niner-eleven why is it so hard for us to beat a raggedy bunch of Hajjis and Towel-heads?” Note that originally the word “Nazi” belonged in this category, but this term has long come into use as a proper English noun. See also, “Reductionism,” “Ad Hominem Argument,” and “Alphabet Soup.”

    Name Calling doesn’t PROVE your argument either. In effect you are just angry that the REALITY is not working in your favor here. Also you lie to use the false defense of “Othering” to try to convince readers you are right, and that is defined as:

    “Othering (also Otherizing, “They’re Not Like Us,” Stereotyping, Xenophobia, Racism, Prejudice): A badly corrupted, discriminatory argument from ethos where facts, arguments, experiences or objections are arbitrarily disregarded, ignored or put down without serious consideration because those involved “are not like us,” or “don’t think like us.” E.g., “It’s OK for Mexicans to earn a buck an hour in the maquiladoras [Mexico-based “Twin Plants” run by American or other foreign corporations]. If it happened here I’d call it brutal exploitation and daylight robbery but south of the border, down Mexico way the economy is different and they’re not like us.” Or, “You claim that life must be really terrible over there for terrorists to ever think of blowing themselves up with suicide vests just to make a point, but always remember that they’re different from us. They don’t think about life and death the same way we do.” A vicious variety of the Ad Hominem Fallacy, most often applied to non-white or non-Christian populations. A variation on this fallacy is the “Speakee” Fallacy (“You speakee da English?”; also the Shibboleth), in which an opponent’s arguments are mocked, ridiculed and dismissed solely because of the speaker’s alleged or real accent, dialect, or lack of fluency in standard English, e.g., “He told me ‘Vee vorkers need to form a younion!’ but I told him I’m not a ‘vorker,’ and to come back when he learns to speak proper English.” A very dangerous, extreme example of Othering is Dehumanization, a fallacy of faulty analogy where opponents are dismissed as mere cockroaches, lice, apes, monkeys, rats, weasels or bloodsucking parasites who have no right to speak or to live at all, and probably should be “squashed like bugs.” This fallacy is ultimately the “logic” behind ethnic cleansing, genocide and gas ovens.”

    I really hope that the readers here are patient to read and learn how they are being in effect misled by those that ONLY have THEIR OWN interests to promote and NOT the PUBLIC HEALTH.

  27. “The fact is the Courts under the Constitution, do have editorial control over the Bill of Rights” — Steven Goldstein

    Please name an amendment in which one or more of the actual words has been changed by the court.

  28. Phu Tan Elli:

    OK I made a mistake in letting you off on using the term “editorial” control. My BIG mistake, but the REALITY is that the courts have had many METHODS to interpret (which is the more accurate term rather than editorial) Simply put MY BAD and I apologize. The proper terms for JUDICIAL consideration regarding the constitution are:

    “Textualism. Textualism is a mode of interpretation that focuses on the plain meaning of the text
    of a legal document. Textualism usually emphasizes how the terms in the Constitution would be
    understood by people at the time they were ratified, as well as the context in which those terms
    appear. Textualists usually believe there is an objective meaning of the text, and they do not
    typically inquire into questions regarding the intent of the drafters, adopters, or ratifiers of the
    Constitution and its amendments when deriving meaning from the text.

    Original Meaning. Whereas textualist approaches to constitutional interpretation focus solely on
    the text of the document, originalist approaches consider the meaning of the Constitution as
    understood by at least some segment of the populace at the time of the Founding. Originalists
    generally agree that the Constitution’s text had an “objectively identifiable” or public meaning at
    the time of the Founding that has not changed over time, and the task of judges and Justices (and
    other responsible interpreters) is to construct this original meaning.

    Judicial Precedent. The most commonly cited source of constitutional meaning is the Supreme
    Court’s prior decisions on questions of constitutional law. For most, if not all Justices, judicial
    precedent provides possible principles, rules, or standards to govern judicial decisions in future
    cases with arguably similar facts.

    Pragmatism. Pragmatist approaches often involve the Court weighing or balancing the probable
    practical consequences of one interpretation of the Constitution against other interpretations. One
    flavor of pragmatism weighs the future costs and benefits of an interpretation to society or the
    political branches, selecting the interpretation that may lead to the perceived best outcome. Under
    another type of pragmatist approach, a court might consider the extent to which the judiciary
    could play a constructive role in deciding a question of constitutional law.

    Moral Reasoning. This approach argues that certain moral concepts or ideals underlie some
    terms in the text of the Constitution (e.g., “equal protection” or “due process of law”), and that
    these concepts should inform judges’ interpretations of the Constitution.
    National Identity (or “Ethos”). Judicial reasoning occasionally relies on the concept of a
    “national ethos,” which draws upon the distinct character and values of the American national
    identity and the nation’s institutions in order to elaborate on the Constitution’s meaning.

    Structuralism. Another mode of constitutional interpretation draws inferences from the design of
    the Constitution: the relationships among the three branches of the federal government
    (commonly called separation of powers); the relationship between the federal and state
    governments (known as federalism); and the relationship between the government and the people.
    Historical Practices. Prior decisions of the political branches, particularly their long-established,
    historical practices, are an important source of constitutional meaning. Courts have viewed
    historical practices as a source of the Constitution’s meaning in cases involving questions about
    the separation of powers, federalism, and individual rights, particularly when the text provides no
    clear answer.

    Still the Appeals Court and so far no further appeal has been filed to determine your interpretation of this situation has been validated. I still will either wait for the new appeals, or if none arises, the courts decision stands. I am getting more and more confident there will be no more appeals, so the courts ruling stands. It can be the precedent for all other courts in the country until there is a conflict with another federal appeals court. Then the U.S. Supreme Court will revisit the case.

    Again I am sorry I terribly mis-wrote, and I am taking FULL ACCOUNTABILITY for it. But the situation is still what it is.

  29. Well, the U.S. Supreme Court did make a decision, but it was not the kind of reversal that people claimed it would be.

    The Court ordered that the churches can have INDOOR services but with a MAJOR catch, they cannot contain more than 20% capacity.

    This is a victory but hardly the “unrestricted” exercise of religion, right?

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