Gov. Philip Murphy clearly does not understand the Constitution of the United States or the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. He admitted, rather dismissively, on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight that he and his administration did not consider the US Constitution when drafting his COVID-19 executive orders.
There is institutional ignorance in America about our founding documents, the very basis of our laws. At Rutgers University Law School in Newark, I participated in a panel discussion on the state of marriage in New Jersey after the state legalized parody marriage for homosexuals. It was a Phil Donahue like panel. Nine of supporters of homosexual marriage and three dissenters. Even the moderator was pro-gay marriage.
A question-and-answer period took place after the panel discussion. It needs to be said that the auditorium was reasonably full. Students who attended were given extra credit for being there regardless of their course of study. A young lady student attacked me stating things like, “You have this opinion all because of the Bible, because you’re a Christian.” After her short rant I asked her if she’d ever read the First Amendment. Her answer was yes. I asked her if she could quote the First Amendment. She was silent. I asked her “can you tell me what is the first freedom in the First Amendment?” Her answer was a quick and confident “freedom of speech.” I responded “wrong.”
Freedom of religion is the first of the five freedoms addressed in the First Amendment. There are 45 words in the First Amendment. The first 16 words addresses the freedom of religion, not from religion, constituting more than one-third of the entire First Amendment. So why did James Madison focus so much on the freedom of religion? Why does freedom of speech follow the freedom of religion? It’s very simple, you don’t have freedom of speech without the freedom to believe! In fact every freedom addressed in the Bill of Rights is predicated upon the freedom to believe.
The Murphy administration clearly does not understand our founding document which gives us the rule of law. The executive orders from Philip Murphy are worded vaguely regarding the freedom of religion, the practice of faith, the use, and gathering in houses of worship. That may be deliberate. What is abundantly clear is the enforcement of his draconian rules allegedly to mitigate the virus infringe on the liberties of New Jersey citizens. It is time to open New Jersey. People of faith have done their part. We waited and watched and obeyed the guidelines we were given because we were told that COVID-19 could kill us all. The models were wrong. Grossly wrong.
Yet the Murphy administration continues to needlessly restrict churches, synagogues, mosques, and meeting houses their First Amendment right to exercise their faith and their Right of Assembly.
Ministers, priests, imams, and pastors are opening up their places of worship. We don’t want to fight. We don’t want to go to court. But Gov. Murphy has left us no choice. We will gather to worship the Lord our God. We will use wisdom, common sense, and rational medical guidance. We will not take any undue risk or put anyone in harm’s way. We do not need Gov. Murphy’s permission to meet in our churches. Church Is Essential. Meeting the spiritual needs of all those Created in His Image is as much a necessary prescription as any other form of health care.
Below is a letter from a law firm that was sent to Gov. Murphy on behalf of a New Jersey church. It outlines the clear constitutional and legal rights of houses of worship. Executive orders, regardless of any emergency, do not suspend the Constitution of the United States. The Center for Garden State Families strongly urges Gov. Murphy and his administration to read and adhere to the Constitution of the United States.
The Center for Garden State Families has heard your calls, and we are here to inform and represent you in this time of crisis.
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