The Right to Assemble … in Church

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by: Brent Smith

Last Friday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge granted Los Angeles church-goers the right to worship inside the Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, despite Governor Gavin Newsom’s draconian restrictions.

“Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon ruled that [Los Angeles County-based] Grace Community Church can continue to hold indoor services as long as worshippers wear face coverings and practice social distancing,” writes the Blaze.

For many conservatives, this was hailed as a major victory, striking a legal blow at the heart of the radical, anti-religion left.

Well, I guess, in one sense, it kind-of is, if one only considers the case superficially. But looking at this situation through a constitutionalist lense – even a Common one (get it?), it’s only a partial win.

And, I might add, this is the only way one should look at this.

The First Amendment states that “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. (emphasis added)

As an aside and with little imagination, one can see that Freedom of Assembly is closely associated with the freedom of speech, which the left holds so dear. Either one, without the other, is at the very least, less effective.

However, some may say, “Well, that’s just for the federal Government. This is about the States.”

Enter the 14th Amendment: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property…”

I would call this a deprivation of liberty, wouldn’t you?

Need more convincing?

Article VI, section 2: “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land…”

And judges, County, State or Federal, including the supreme Court, can neither grant citizens’ rights, take them away, nor hinder them in any way. Our rights, proclaimed in the Constitution are not bequeathed to us by any governmental authority. Because of this, they cannot be allowed to be tampered with.

No ones idea of safety can usurp my natural rights expressed in the Constitution.

The Governor of the State of California has subverted the United States Constitution. None of the Governors or Mayors have any right to usurp the US Constitution, under any circumstances.

And before anyone says that this wasn’t a law in California, it was merely a temporary mandate, let me stop you. If it carries the force of law, which this did, it’s treated the same way.

In addition, the Constitution is the rule book for government – the public sector. It was written and intended to stop at the water’s edge, so to speak.

By water’s edge, I mean that the Constitution was designed to stop at the line where public meets private. It is why the anti-federalists, like George Mason, insisted that a Bill of Rights be added to the Constitution. We can see why, and imagine what it would be like without.

It’s why this ruling wasn’t an overwhelming win. Yes this was a good ruling by the judge – almost. But even he went on to attach conditions to the citizens’ right to free assembly, by insisting they still wear masks and social distance. He too has no authority to dictate what citizens’ do, how many may congregate or what they must wear on private property, so he too is in breach of the Constitution.