Protesters can take to the streets, some violently, and that is okay by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo—the mob does not have to abide by social distancing rules—but religious New Yorkers cannot congregate in their houses of worship lest they imperil the public health. Well, the jig is up.
U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe issued a preliminary injunction on June 26 saying that de Blasio and Cuomo exceeded their authority by putting restrictions on people of faith while simultaneously condoning the protests.
By allowing the protests, they were “encouraging what they knew was a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules.” In doing so, de Blasio and Cuomo “sent a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.”
Two Catholic priests and three Orthodox Jews sued and won. They were represented by the Thomas More Society.
The anger that religious New Yorkers have for their mayor and governor was building all spring. Take, for example, what de Blasio tried to do.
“Anyone who tries to get in the water, they’ll be taken right out of the water.” That’s what de Blasio recently said about his coronavirus policy. Who will take them out of the ocean? The cops. Can there be beach parties? Not unless everyone is at least six feet away from each other. If they are not, the cops will get them as well.
What if the beach-goers swell to the thousands and take to the streets, standing arm-in-arm, to protest racial injustice? Is that okay? Yes. Shouldn’t the cops enforce social distancing? No, not at all. What if the protesters get violent? No problem, the cops will go easy.
What if, instead of protesting, a very small group of people want to go to a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple? They don’t want to protest, just pray. They pledge to stay six feet apart. They promise not to engage in violence. Can they do so? No.
When a reporter for a Jewish newspaper asked him how he can justify throngs taking to the streets in a mass assembly, but cannot approve of a small church service, he got indignant. “Four hundred years of American racism, I’m sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services.”
In other words, de Blasio decided to “privilege” protesters, many of whom suffer the pangs of “white privilege” (it is not the sons and daughters of the working class who are trashing the city), all because he thinks that protesting racism justifies jettisoning his shutdown.
What if the object of the protest was his racism? He has repeatedly promoted policies that discriminate against Asian Americans by denying them their earned seats in New York’s elite public schools. He likes racial quotas. His contempt for these “people of color” surely merits a protest. Would he allow it?
Would he allow black and Hispanic parents to protest his racism? Many minorities want school choice, and they overwhelmingly favor charter schools. Private, parochial, and charter public schools are doing more to promote upward social mobility than the public schools ever have. Why does he always seek to deny black and brown New Yorkers the same avenue to success that white rich people have? Would he give the green light to a protest against his racially discriminatory policies?
More recently, de Blasio lashed out at Rev. Franklin Graham—who brought medical staff to Central Park to attend to coronavirus patients—because the minister thinks marriage should be between a man and a woman.
De Blasio and Cuomo have lost the respect of practicing Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and those of every other religion. They got creamed in court, which is exactly what they deserve.