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EXPLAINER: ERLC does not understand Bill of Rights


Southern Baptists pay for the progressive Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission to attack religious liberty. In a recent Explainer, the ERLC illustrated its ignorance of the US Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights as it justified the People’s Republic of California’s attack on worship services.

According to the ERLC, the Tenth Amendment gives states the power to regulate church services. They write, “The 10th Amendment, which gives states all powers not specifically given to the federal government, allows them the authority to take public health emergency actions, such as setting quarantines and restrictions on activities that can spread disease.”

That is not what the Tenth Amendment says. It says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Or to the people.

That is a rather different point. The people or the states retain rights and powers not explicitly given to the federal government. The states are restrained by their respective constitutions. And state constitutions contain their own equivalents to the Bill of Rights that prohibit attacks on religious liberty.

The Tenth Amendment is not carte blanche for the state to utilize its police powers to war on Christians.

The ERLC further errs when it defends a California ban on singing in churches. The ERLC claims, “Because state governments have broad quarantine authority, they have the ability to impose restrictions on churches that are neutral toward religion, neither favoring nor disfavoring any specific religion or religion generally. For this reason, a ban on singing/chanting or gathering indoors for worship services—whether in Christian churches or Buddhist temples—is likely to be ruled constitutional by a court. However, if the government forbade singing in churches during a pandemic and allowed choir singing in secular auditoriums, the state would likely be violating the religious freedom of believers.”

However, lawyers defending persecuted Christians in California claim the opposite.

“This ban violates our plaintiff’s constitutional rights under the First Amendment and Equal Protection clauses of the U. S. Constitution,” attorneys Tyler & Bursch claim. They filed suit in federal court to stop this infringement on religious liberty.

The complaint says, the governor and state of California banned “singing and chanting activities (“Worship Ban”) in places of worship while permitting the same activities in all other similarly situated indoor uses within the counties where Plaintiffs are located.”

The complaint goes further providing some details. Specifically, “Following Newsom’s more recent order issued on or about July 13, 2020, worship services, together with protests, fitness centers, offices for non-essential actors and personal care services, as well as day camps, hotels, shopping malls, childcare centers, schools, and music, tv and film production are permitted to remain open in the counties in which Plaintiffs are located. Singing and chanting, however, is only banned in places of worship.”

So much for the ERLC’s defense of this action.

Conservative Southern Baptists should be asking themselves—why do I pay the SBC to publish Progressive talking points?

Further, why is the ERLC led by a lifelong Democrat in Russell Moore?

Important questions. Now more than ever.

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