By Tommy Acosta
Sedona AZ (April 1, 2020) – It’s not that I am religious or anything like that or that I went to Catholic school through high school before being derailed by The Beatles.
It’s just that it felt so wrong when I read the news about a pastor being thrown in jail for holding a service with his congregation in his church.
It left a bad taste in my mouth. I could understand the need to quarantine during the virus pandemic. But a house of worship where people congregate to be closer to God?
I don’t know. This is truly a tough one.
I thought according to the First Amendment people have a Constitutional right to assemble and to practice their religion with no interference from the government.
The First Amendment reads “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.”
We no longer can assemble. We no longer can go to church.
Now I guess, the old question as to which is stronger, the state or God, has been answered.
As put forth by Communists and now proven by our own government, the state apparently is.
It appears in the face of this pandemic, even God can be quarantined.
At least worshipers found peace and hope when gathered together on Sundays in His name. It provided some semblance of normalcy for the congregants. Not any more.
Instead, as a reward for their faith, they saw their pastor hauled off to jail and charged with serious crimes. God was not able to save him.
Yes. There is the health of the country to consider. What must be done to contain this pandemic must be done. Who can argue otherwise?
But at what cost?
Have we opened the door to totalitarianism? Will our Constitutional rights be returned when the virus ends?
Governors across the country have warned that they will shutter any house of worship that violates the stay-at-home rule. There is nothing any of the faithful can do but obey.
I guess they will simply have to dig deeper. Find God on a personal level. Worship with the family on the Sabbath. Or just hold services over the Internet as some already have begun to do here in Sedona.
Then there are the spiritualists who find God through meditation and other esoteric paths.
For them, no church is needed, as their place of worship is the present tense and wherever they stand.
The sadness is for those who no longer can go to church on Sundays and worship with next of kin, friends and fellow believers.
Still, they can’t quarantine God out of the faithful’s hearts and souls even though they have locked Him and them out of His house.
The question arises how much longer will the faithful remain thus shuttered? How much longer will their faith be enough to pull them through these dark times?
Only God knows.
God doesn’t care what you call her,
or where you call him from.
Just that you call.
Like baseball, dinner parties, happy hour, concerts, swim meets, et al,
congregating in places of worship will return in due time.
Faith at its very core is personal. Fellowship is integral but phones & skype
will have to suffice for now.
It may be a little harder on your knees, but how about gather a half dozen of
your fellow worshippers, head to one of our lesser crowded, informal trails &
find a great place in the red rocks to and have your own service.
Desperate times, creative measures.
Good to keep an eye on authoritarian creep, Tommy, but if history is any guide,
true believers will always be able to find their God.
Most governors have had the common sense not to take sequestration to the max. It is a blatant violation of the Constitution.
A stong common sense recommendation, that’s about as far as they can go. This isn’t China, this isn’t Russia or a dictatorship. Any civil court challenge, the state would lose, state being municipal all the way to federal.
You want to promote civil unrest? You already have idiot politicians letting criminals out of jail to prey on the community. Then at the same time threatening citizens with jail if they peacefully assemble which is their right? Probably something little demigod politicians should not attempt.
Most people have the common sense to follow logical recommendations from leadership that makes sense and has a strong reasoned structure behind it for the request.
“Most people have the common sense…” is the problem, or the flip side really. IMO the ultimate question is, Which is more important protecting society – and individuals since they make up ‘society’, or individual rights when those rights can harm society? We already accept so many daily restrictions and guidelines for the benefit of all. 90+% of Americans believe stay-at-home is a good idea. If church goers wouldn’t pose a threat to others no big deal, but they do.
Good point, Michael.
Thank God for people with common sense enough to follow strongly reasoned, logical recommendations in order to prevent gathering in tight space resulting in saved lives.
I think in the dictionary, it actually defines a “strongly reasoned, logical recommendation” as, “actions taken to limit public gatherings during a once-in-a-century global pandemic, with a case fatality rate of roughly 1%, with the potential of infecting billions of people, if left unchecked, with no human immunity of any kind.”
Save lives by hitting your knees wherever it’s safe.
Side note: I would bet on economically driven desperation about having enough food long before a sensible & temporary cessation of collective worship as a source of civil unrest. Just my two cents.
Our constitution is strong enough to sustain thru even these most tragic of times.
Although some of us may get unusually hungry, we’re still not, and never will be Hungary (google the first COVID-19 democracy casualty in Hungary for perspective).
“I would bet on economically-driven desperation about having enough food long before a sensible & temporary cessation of collective worship as a source of civil unrest.”
Its called “imminent domain,” the source of all mortal law, most of us have heard about it, this is the penultimate demonstration.
Probably will piss off some people. I have gritted my teeth in anger over that same question. My take on the constitutionality there of is this: It says, “Congress shall pass no law…” And Congress hasn’t.
The restrictions of the Constitution really apply only to what the Federal government may not do. The tenth amendment reserves to the States their sovereignty over all matters that were not explicitly and specifically ceded to the Federal. So we have to look to each individual State Constitution to see what it says.
As far as “THE” Constitution goes, there is nothing to prevent a single State from establishing a State religion or prohibiting peaceable assembly unless their State Constitution also prohibits it. Scary, eh.
Mike Schroeder, Anon Niemus and the rest of the right wing Constitutionalists are out of their minds. To hell with people worshipping or praying to whatever God they believe in if they are congregating in numbers that have been forbidden by the State. And the Bill of Rights gives no rights to those harming the state, like the coronavirus infested people not paying attention to the stay home orders. Even the so called faithful. You have no right to infect us. Listen to your leaders and do what you are told and maybe we will get out of this mess someday.The Constitution, the Bill of Rights and it’s Amendments are absolete in todays world. Time to rewrite them to fit the times. The founding fathers were ok back then but now it’s time to tear it all up and start all over again.
From the Arizona Republic this evening:
Will Humble, the executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association, offered an example from his family: The pastor of his parents’ church went on a ski trip and came down with COVID-19. Before he was symptomatic, weeks ago, the church still held services. Members of the choir became sick. They may have spread it to their networks of family, friends and co-workers.
“The virus finds whatever opportunity it can find to find a new host, to identify new host infect the new host, reproduce itself. … That’s the virus’s goal: Find a new host and reproduce,” Humble said.
Complete story here:
In any conversation or discussion it is useful to know exactly about what we are talking, is it not? In this instance, “God”.
So define that which is referred to as “God”?
I have been told by those who apparently are well versed in these matters that “God” is indefineable and my logical response is that if you cannot define what is “God” then in talking about “God” you haven’t a clue what you are on about.
This is not to cast aspersions on Tommy’s knowledege or wisdom, such as they are. Indeed, having perused so much of Tommy’s writing I suspect he has hidden depths yet to be revealed. And not necessarily murky depths, either, though it has to be said that no one achieved any degree of wisdom without losing an equal degree of innocence,
So, in order to discuss “God” I really do think it would be useful to define it/her/him, would you not agree? It is impossible to have a rational discussion about that which can not be defined.
I, of course, have a definition of that which is called “God” so I do know what I’m talking about when I speak of it. That may come across as arrogant but then, truth is often uncomfortable. This is not my fault.
This post is long enough so I’ll not write that definition now. May never write it though if anyone wants to know what it is, you only have to ask me … nicely.
Kind regards to all,
I want to know.
Tommy, you just had to ask, didn’t you …
Okay, that which some call “God” is Love.
Or, rather, “God” is the name some have given to Love in order to personify Love.
Love is not something one carries around to be dished out to the favoured few and although it can be felt, is not an emotion.
Love is the most poweful creative force/energy ever and is infinite in terms of how we understand time and space.
That it is creative means there is infinite imagination and infinite intelligence and an infinite mind. And infinite Life. And infinite consciousness. And is infinitely powerful.
Because it is not a physical/material entity it must be, for want of a better word, a Spiritual entity.
So when folks speak of “God” or “Jehovah” or “Allah” or whatever name.label they use to personify it, they are speaking of infinite conscious creative Life/Love/Spirit.
Many say “We are created in God’s image” and that has a grain of truth in it because what is the objective of Life other than to express it’s self?
Infinite Life expressing itself in an infinite number of forms in an infinite number of places, infinitely.
Thus there is only one Life expressed in many ways. We are individuated human expressions of that Life.
Whether expressed as a human, a dog, a tree or platypus, it is the same Life.
Life/Love/Spirit … three different words for the same thing and given a whole variety of names by proponents of various religious beliefs.
Thus ’tis true we are, in a sense, all One. Also ’tis true that “God” is in everyone and everything. I don’t like the label, “God”, much preferring a more realistic term: the “Great Spirit”.
And where will the “Great Spirit” be found? Pretty obvious, one would think. Everything is made up of atoms and atoms are mostly empty space. It is in that alleged empty space you will find the “Great Spirit” which is the very essence of what you are.
Who you are … well, that you define for yourself and if on examination you do not like who you are then you can change who you are.
There is always room for improvement . . . ?
How does one go about changing who they are? I mean, what you are you are and trying to change that changes nothing because you will always be who you are regardless of what you think you are. The changer remains the same.
I do like your God definition. All One!
Tommy … what you are is an individuated human expression of Life/Love/Spirit.
Over that you have no control.
Who you are … that you detrmine for yourself and if you do not like who you are you can change who you are.
Who you are … who you are is determined by what are your values, your beliefs, what you hold dear, your likes and dilike, your attitude, how you react/respond to external stimulii, what makes you happy, sad. angry, joyful, miserable etecetera; your levels of compassion, patience, tolerance and wiilingness to forgive and much more. These are the attributes which define who is Tommy Accosta.
While ’tis probably impossible to be totally objective when analysing self, when looking at the various attributes which define who we are we are sure to realise, if we are honest that we could be a li’l more tolerant and pershaps a li’l les sefish? Perhaps a li’l more loving and a li’l less judgemental?
Realising these things we endeavour to do something about them and as we so do, we cange … change who we are.
This, kind man, is the true evolution of humanity.
(FYO … still stopping @ grade 2)
Well said Intbel. Thanks for the compliments and accurate description. Yet, a lot of people would say I am a muckraking, trouble causing instigator of chaos stepping on the toes of the ignorant sheep pulsing to the beat of their fears.
That’s the thing, Intbel, you hit it completely correct. God is, as they say in places, a higher power as each chooses to define it.
Or a lower power, or a tree? Or love, hate and all things in between.
Faith and belief in god is personal and individually defined, regardless of those who point to their written record as proof. Millions of interpretations of the various sacred writings, used to justify the most holy of deeds, and the most dastardly of misdeeds.
YOu have your own heretofore secret definition of God; like Tommy has his, I have mine . . . and so on, so on, so on.
The point of the original thread was question of the legal and moral dilemmas surrounding a state ordering a temporary cessation of gatherings of more than a relatively small, but variable, number of people for the purpose of protecting public health (i.e. saving lives). This happens to included church services, but also photography workshops, AA meetings, Chamber or Commerce mixers.
Various states aren’t singling out any one group.
Back to your point though. It’s not arrogant to have your own definition of God; but thinking it’s the ONLY & CORRECT definition of God is the very definition of arrogance. Not to mention dangerous (see: Inquisition; rationale for slavery; Holocaust; all religious wars, ad nauseum).
Before you deign to give us yours, do you really want to venture down that road, Tommy’s invitation notwithstanding?
Derek von Briesen asks: Before you deign to give us yours, do you really want to venture down that road, Tommy’s invitation notwithstanding?
Yes. I like to live on the edge ?
Johnny Angel wrote: “The Constitution, the Bill of Rights and it’s Amendments are absolete in todays world.”
Um … do you mean absolute or obsolete, please? ?
A point I’d like to make, so will make it: a religious belief in God./ Allah or whatever is just that, a belief.
To a great extent our daily living is based on what we believe so it behoves us to examine the rational basis for them..
‘Tis my opinion that we could usefully delete our beliefs and acquire knowledge to replace them.
Beliefs may bring comfort where there is ignorance (or arrogance?) but there is no subsitution for knowledge.
Regards to all,
Anon: great point about states rights, in this instance, trumping any federal mandate.
Meanwhile, by noon tomorrow, the global COVID-19 statistics are going to
crest 1,000,000 confirmed cases and 50,000 cases.
Let me remind you, in 1918, according the CDC:
The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919. In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918.
*************It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.
Something to think about, folks.
It’s really simple: Don’t gather in large groups. You may infect yourself or others. It has nothing to do about God or religion. Use your common sense in avoiding large groups where you might infect others.
Steve, F.Y.O., I’ve delved into the science of viruses and bacterial infections and it seems that it is impossible to actually catch a virus.
Such a shame so many people are taken in by the fear porn.
You mean all those folks died for nothing? Wow!
Surprising I agree with Steve DeVol, it has nothing to do with God or religious freedom, rather common sense. However if you need to wear your religion on your sleeve and attend church to prove to others of your deep personally held beliefs, when you get to heaven, say hi to God for me. Flag Man!
Doesn’t look like The Beatles derailed you at all from the naivete of religious belief. That guy was arrested because he ignorantly gathered a bunch of even more ignorant gullible sheep (a term you used to use to label ignorance) during a time when we should ALL be practicing social distancing to avoid the spread of this deadly virus. He created a petri dish. That pastor was an idiot. But all of Florida is a petri dish thanks to their also most intelligent governor who waited from word from his lord and master, Trump to impose social distancing.
This virus is infecting nurses and doctors on the frontlines in hospitals here in New York due to unavailable personal protection equipment. You just posted a video of bodies being packed into a refrigerated truck on line the other day. This is real.
People are dying. And you you seriously write a piece fighting for the right to congregate during this horror? Which is the real you, Tommy? If you actually do believe in God, then the concept (as taught by those priests and nuns in Catholic school) is that He/She/It is everywhere with everyone at all times. Your body is the temple. You can communicate with Him/Her/It better in isolated silence than surrounded by yelling and coronavirus hands touching to so call “heal”. Let’s keep it spiritual, clean and protected from the sensationalism of phone evangelical drama. This could be Gods way of generated much needed introspection. . We’ll deal with the rights that are being taken away after this is over. At this moment the aim is not to be part of a petri dish.
excuse the impassioned typos. Not the message!
Pearlie said it for me. Yes!
God prefers that his children use the common sense that he hope they possess. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of idiots going to Walmart with no masks and bringing children with them. Just keep it up folks. If you have to be told everything, then there will soon be rules. These restrictions probably will be in place for up to a year according to the non governmental modeling that shows if we stay inside 30 more days and then go back to normal with no vaccine then it will take off quicker to higher highs. Hang on!
Tommy Acosta, you rang the bell loud enough that it woke some up enough.to have a ” say “.. Here’s mine.
The Constitution and Amendments are in print . No problem to read and understand.
Internet, phoning or shouting across the street allow communicating . Can provide the spiritual their worshiping needs even if a temporary substitute
The COVID-19 problem is solved with mitigation. It works.
We have common sense and history telling us we will continue. Have patience.
Valid issues which gets to How much can/should the Gov’t be allowed to do for Health & Public Welfare Issues & also which solution is the correct one. And more importantly are they Really acting in the Best interest of the vast majority of folks.
As far as for god. I can agree that Humans did not create this world but for Higher Powers I can see it more of it in Nature than Mankind. Anthropomorphic interpretation of the world. Nature does not modify or try to control people. Can Governments say the same…
Merl in using the word anthropomorphic you get the sole and highest award for the longest word in this series of letters.
Have you read my April 6th comments ? I do not think we are on the same subject.
I was in the sewer business when I retired and when faced with difficult problems I used spectroscopy and advice from researchers with doctor degrees. Not applicable here nor available.
Please use what I wrote 4/6 as an outline or guide to follow so as to tell me what you are trying to say.