Trump Went There! Will COVID Restrictions Impact All Religions Equally… Or Nah?

Written by Wes Walker on April 20, 2020

There are several underlying assumptions upon which the entire shutdown of society hinged. Most during Easter and Passover complied with all of them. But what happens if the next group doesn’t ‘buy-in’?

First, was blind faith in our experts. If the received wisdom of our experts had been seriously challenged, none but the most authoritarian of states would have had the political capital to shut down the global economy over a new disease with such an uncertain outcome as this one.

In the same way we have people opting out of flu shots, many in the public would have shrugged and ignored all the warnings until it got to the point when even the most optimistic experts would realize that we were past the point where containment was even an option.

Second is a sense of civic responsibility to our neighbors.

A moral obligation of doing no harm to a neighbor, of not taking advantage of a neighbor, or endangering a neighbor is a recurring theme through both the Torah (or Old Testament) and the Christian Bible. The American culture — though increasingly secular — has been more deeply shaped by Judeo-Christian morals and ethics than even most radical secularists could possibly imagine.

If the public genuinely believes that social distancing regulations are sparing our neighbors or fellow-citizens (whether we know them personally or not) from exposure to a potentially dangerous or even lethal disease, many of us will voluntarily (keyword, voluntarily) forgo the exercising of certain rights (but not the rights themselves) until the danger has passed.

A group that feels no strong connection to an outside culture — or a sense of national identity — may not be similarly motivated by such an impulse.

Third, is respect for authority.

Certain belief systems hold a natural affection for good laws and orderly conduct. So long as there is a certain level of goodwill towards the people and institutions overseeing the creation and enforcement of those laws, the laws will probably be followed without much thought to whether those laws are justified.

Other groups hold some other authority as higher than civil laws and those who would enforce them. Some would object because they have attached themselves to an outlaw culture such as gang involvement.

Others would reject them in what they would consider a righteous cause. It’s what our own Forbears are remembered for in 1776, it’s what led Christians to be eaten by lions or locked into gulags rather than denounce Christ. And it’s the choice that will lead many Muslims to choose between a civil authority forbidding obedience to their god and the commandment of their prophet.

I think we’ve all seen enough clips of streets clogged with prayer mats during peak traffic hours to have a good idea of how this is going to play out.

So Trump did what he does best… something that ties the media up in knots.

He pointed directly at the elephant in the room and started talking about it.

With Passover and Easter in the rearview mirror and Ramadan fast approaching, Trump asked the impertinent question by retweeting several Paul Sperry tweets:

This one really is worth discussing in its own right:

But we all know the press would be FAR more interested in a controversy that might paint Trump in a bad light than they are in passing along good news about America.

True to form, the press followed up on this one:

He was obviously ready and waiting for the question. If the reporter was hoping for a ‘gotcha’ question, he was sadly disappointed.

A reporter asked the president about the tweet. Trump was also asked if he believed that imams would encourage their congregants to disobey social distancing guidelines.

‘I just had a call with imams,’ Trump said.

‘I just had a call with ministers, rabbis. We had a tremendous call with the faith leaders.

‘No, I don’t think that at all. I am someone that believes in faith.

‘And it matters not what your faith is but our politicians seem to treat different faiths very differently.

‘And they seem to think and I don’t know what happened with our country, but the Christian faith is treated much differently than it was, and I think it’s treated very unfairly.’

…Trump then said that Democrats ‘go after Christian churches but they don’t tend to go after mosques.’

The president then added: ‘And I don’t want them to go after mosques! But I do want to see what their event is.’

Ramadan, which begins sundown this Thursday, is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. — DailyMail

Trump handled this just right. The question isn’t whether one religious group or another will defy the demands of the government. We’ve seen several instances where the demands of the government overstepped any justifiable grounds, and religious communities obeyed God and their conscience rather than an arbitrary dictate from a public official.

The REAL question is will the government’s response to any opposition, and their enforcement of the state’s will be in line with the obnoxious scrutiny put on some churches at Easter.

Like the 5 squad cars and 8 or 9 officers that showed up for a Church meeting despite the fact that it completely fulfilled the no-more-than-ten-in-the-building requirement.