A California judge in San Diego has ruled that the state cannot take any action to prevent strip clubs from “being allowed to provide live adult entertainment,” and must allow them to reopen. The owners had argued their First Amendment rights were being violated and the judge agreed.
Meanwhile, places of worship are making the exact same argument about their First Amendment rights and remain closed. Apparently, sinful activity has more rights than godly pursuits.
In fact, this is a case study in why lockdowns are unfair and invariably arbitrary. So far, the courts have mostly given the government a free hand in this public health crisis, but how much longer is this “state of emergency” going to be used to violate the Constitution with impunity?
Religious-liberty advocates said that the case could pave the way for lifting coronavirus restrictions against churches. Paul Jonna, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, which is representing churches challenging the restrictions, expressed confidence that this decision bodes well for the churches. If strip clubs are entitled to constitutional protections, then churches are as well, he told the Free Beacon.
“If you’re going to accept that argument that dancing nude is protected speech that’s so significant that it overcomes the government’s interest in regulating its citizens with COVID-19 orders, then obviously the divine worship of God, which is expressly mentioned in the First Amendment, should be held to a higher standard,” Jonna said.
It’s ludicrous. And it reveals the unserious nature of the government’s response to the pandemic. Why do some businesses get to remain open while others close? In San Deigo, the latest round of lockdowns will allow barbers and beauty salons to stay open, but limit bars, restaurants, and gyms to outdoor business only.
Churches in California have been locked in legal struggles with state authorities for months as churches of different denominations take legal action to try to end the indefinite limitations on indoor services. Jonna said that the San Diego decision highlights “the absurdity” and double standards that have defined the state’s approach to lockdowns.
“A judge who understands the Constitution will recognize the absurdity of the current state of the law,” he said. “I think it’s a good sign that judges are starting to question whether the government has a legitimate interest in regulating any business or industry at this point.”
The stupid and arbitrary nature of the lockdown leads to violations of logic and common sense like this on many fronts. You can open restaurants but customers can only remove their masks to put food in their mouths? You can sell drinks inside a bar but can’t bring a beer to the curb? Bureaucrats and regulators are having a field day coming up with more and more inventive ways to order citizens’ lives.
And the Constitution be damned.