Attorney General William Barr speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Monday, March 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
This week, we’ve seen a culmination of various state and local officials playing petty dictator in response to the Wuhan virus. Whether it’s ticketing people for going to drive-in churches, which doesn’t spread the virus in the least, or banning parents from buying car seats, these politicians and police departments have decided they have the power to suspend the Constitution at their whim.
My colleague Nick Arama wrote extensively about what Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is doing. Be sure to check that out by clicking here. Just today, the Raleigh Police Department in North Carolina joined in on the stupidity.
Protesting is a non-essential activity.
— Raleigh Police (@raleighpolice) April 14, 2020
Now, the DOJ is throwing down the gauntlet, letting these wannabe tyrants know that they can’t continue to arbitrarily target certain groups.
DOJ begins crackdown on local tyrants who tried to criminalize religious exercise. https://t.co/0K5xH84Nzi
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) April 14, 2020
Here’s the full letter per Rep. Jim Jordan.
Great decision by Attorney General Barr.
Governments shouldn’t be able to discriminate because you’re going to church instead of the grocery store.
Religious liberty wins! https://t.co/M7CBVU76AP
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) April 14, 2020
This is long overdue, though I understand why the DOJ needed to wait for these people overstep before making this move. There’s no excuse to ban religious services where people are staying in their cars or telling people they can’t even go to another person’s house. I don’t care how bad this virus gets, there are lines which simply shouldn’t be crossed. Nowhere in the Constitution is there a provision to allow the full suspension of rights because some elected official declares a public health emergency.
While some say this is a temporary, necessary evil, I say that’s foolish. These precedents won’t be going away if we allow them to stand. The DOJ needs to come down hard on anyone violating the rights of American citizens. Gov. Whitmer is at the top of that list. Trading freedom for security is not a bargain Americans should ever be willing to make. There are ways to socially distance and mitigate the spread of the virus without taking a torch to our rights. We should all be pushing for that result instead of tolerating these tyrannical impulses from our representatives.