Charles Darwin (
by Steve Timmer
Aug 15, 2020, 3:00 PM

New religion seeks to lure old and infirm to their deaths

Implementing the tenets of the Prophet Darwin

Sporting names Cornerstone, Land of Promise, and Lifespring, names right out of Elmer Gantry, three evangelical churches hired adolescent oppositional disorder legal specialist Erik Kaardal to sue the governor and his administration for preventing parishioners from gathering in large numbers, squeezing together, singing on each other, and laying their potentially virus-infested hands on one another.

“Governor Walz wants to prosecute Minnesotans for religious attendance,” says Kaardal. But that’s not quite right. The lede from the article:

Three churches in Minnesota on Thursday sued Gov. Tim Walz, Attorney General Keith Ellison and other officials over state executive orders that require that people wear masks and follow social distancing practices during religious services in connection with combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Erick is prone to exaggeration.

You really have to wonder, though, what would impel the shepherds of these flocks to pack them together into potential contagion? Here’s the answer, right out of Erick’s mouth:

As a result [of] the threat of prosecution by the attorney general and county attorneys, religious attendance at the churches has declined.

Yes, Erick, I am sure you’re right. The prospect of gasping for breath and dying has nothing to do with it.

I would love to see a poll that asked the question: Why are you staying away from church?

a) I am afraid of our Muslim attorney general hauling me off to jail, or

b) I think our senior pastor is trying to kill me; I left the church some money in my will.

Horse apiece.

If you fail to see the collection plate issue here, you just aren’t paying attention. I understand the problem; really I do. It’s the same issue that everyone who relies on visits, patronage, or support from the public has.

But I don’t think being a church gives it a super spreader license.

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Update: Here’s a little more from the same Strib article:

Kaardal’s statement noted that other states have excluded churches from COVID-19 mask mandates.

“Those states have recognized that you cannot criminalize religious attendance at houses of worship for any reason,” Kaardal said. “Christians of all denominations, Muslims, and Orthodox Jews are bound by their faith to worship together. Time-honored rites and rituals, including prayers, singing, communion, and a laying of hands in blessing, are among those elements that comprise the free exercise of religion.”

“[Y]ou cannot criminalize religious attendance at houses of worship for any reason,” is a blanket statement that does not stand up to scrutiny. I commend an article that discusses the police power (where laws about public health: vaccination, quarantine, etc., come from) and the Free Exercise Clause.

The Public Health Implications of Religious Exemptions: A Balance Between Public Safety and Personal Choice, or Religion Gone Too Far?

Does the law or order serve a compelling public interest?  Does it address that interest in the least restrictive way?

Erik has some fancy lawyering to do here.

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Update 8/24: The leadership of the United Methodist Church has recommended that in-person worship not be commenced until at least the beginning of 2021.

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