Hollywood studios and SNL liberals have unwittingly provided a legal shortcut for millions of restaurants and places of worship to open their doors in spite of repressive Covid-19 lockdowns. According to The New York Times, businesses — even churches — may simply invoke the SNL loophole to avoid the “Rona” police. Is it legal? Let’s take a look.
Since March, the dictatorial, liberal governors in both California and New York essentially declare their states to be faith-free zones. They lumped synagogues and churches in with entertainment venues like theaters or concert halls and placed in the most restrictive category of COVID lockdowns. Those who dare worship facing the risk of arrest and fines. As well as the full liberal hypocritical moralistic virtue-signaling screamfest from Corona Karens.
Supreme Court Steps In
On Thanksgiving Eve, the high court struck down New York’s color-coded coronavirus regulations that had effectively shuttered Jewish and Christian houses of worship. In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett formed a strict constructionist block to restore constitutional protections to worshippers in New York state. Joining the lawsuit, the synagogues argued Governor Cuomo’s order precluded them from conducting services for all of their congregants.
The 5-4 majority ruled Gov. Cuomo lacked legal authority to issue his executive order restricting attendance at houses of worship. The Court held Cuomo’s “executive order violated the right to the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment, particularly when secular businesses in the area are allowed to remain open,” reported the Scotus Blog.
The new justice on the court made the difference. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who replaced the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, galvanized the new majority. The justices found Cuomo’s order “effectively barred in-person worship at affected churches – a ‘devastating’ and ‘spiritually harmful’ burden on the Catholic community.” Ruling Cuomo’s order was subject to the most stringent constitutional test, known as strict scrutiny, the majority ruled the order failed that test, finding “[t]here is no evidence that these synagogues and churches have contributed to outbreaks, and other, less restrictive rules could have been employed
There’s More Supreme Court Relief coming to California
This week the Court ordered a federal district court to review a southern California Church’s challenge to Governor Gavin Newsom’s (D) order restricting indoor worship services in light of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. Plaintiff Harvest Rock Church argued Newsom’s COVID-19 restrictions imposed arbitrarily limited in-person worship services. His argument based on the number of cases in the county where the house of worship is located. But also violated the right of its parishioners to freely exercise their religion.
Supreme Court Ruling
The court vacated the District Court’s ruling and remanded the case “for further consideration in light of Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, 592 U. S. ___ (2020).”
The Court clearly rules that houses of worship are not the same as theaters or concert halls. The First Amendment specifically grants special constitutional protection to exercises of faith.
But the effort to reestablish what seems obvious from a plain reading of the First Amendment was costly and took years.
Governors may tap the never-ending supply of taxpayers’ funds to exhaust the zeal and limited finances of churches and synagogues through years of litigation. So what’s a church to do?
Why bother with the First Amendment battlefield?
Churches and Restaurants should “Self-identify” as Entertainment Production Companies
As Shakespeare might say, “The play is the thing, wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” According to The New York Post, the examples of hypocritical democrat rulers range from “California Gov. Gavin Newsom dining maskless and indoors with lobbyists at the tony French Laundry restaurant the same week he warned against Thanksgiving gatherings. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot having her hair done and joining in a riotous Joe Biden victory celebration in violation of her own restrictions — then having the gall to call her actions ‘essential activities.’”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was unmasked at a hair salon receiving a cut and blow
Saturday Night Live avoided New York’s rigid regulations by simply “casting” members of the live audience. By paying each $150 to sit and watch as paid “staff.”
According to The New York Times, “the New York health department confirmed that SNL had followed its reopening guidelines.”
Two can play at that game. In today’s “new normal,” churches and restaurants may turn food and worship into play in order to survive. Houses of worship, or restaurants for that matter, can follow SNL’s lead by paying people to eat, play, or worship. As the song goes, “That’s Entertainment!” In the newly self-identified entertainment venue, worshippers or restaurant-goers could legally circumvent the COVID-19 restrictions as paid staff members.
To stick it to liberal blue-state governors who issue soul-crushing edicts, churches, and restaurants can now invoke the Saturday Night Live Employment Law loophole: Pay parishioners to attend services.
Danny Presti, Mac’s Public House in Staten Island
This should be good news for co-owner Danny Presti, of Mac’s Public House in Staten Island. Presti was arrested by five sheriff deputies for re-opening his restaurant in defiance of state and city mandates reported Fox News. Presti should take a page from the SNL comedians: Invite supporters to return to Mac’s Public House as “paid” staff. These same restaurant patrons can eat, then perhaps leave a “tip” for their kind generous “boss” Presti.
And don’t forget Hollywood of course, because hypocrisy reigns supreme there as well. Newsom has exempted the entertainment industry from his COVID business mandates. In Los Angeles, Pineapple Hill Saloon owner Angela Mardsen’s amateur video went viral when she showed how her tented, outdoor restaurant was forced to close because of COVID-19 restrictions while an elite exempted Peacock Network production company fed its crew literally a few yards away with the exact same open-air tents and tables, according to the New York Post.
Marsden’s life earnings and ten-year life investment being shattered by state government restrictions. On the video, Marsden complained, her voice cracking with emotion:
“Everything that I own is being taken away from me and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio.”
It’s time for Marsden to put on a cooking show, call herself a production company, and pay her audience to eat and applaud. Call it the Saturday Night Diner.
Article by Kevin Fobbs & Susan Swift
About Susan Swift:
Susan Swift is an author, lawyer, wife, and conservative mother against progressivism. Susan provides a Christian conservative perspective on topics impacting American culture, individual liberty, and the family. She’s been a regular contributor to conservative news websites Politichicks.com and Breitbart.com and has authored two pro-gun children’s books : Good Guys with Guns At Home and Good Guys With Guns Abroad. She is co-author of Shut Yo’ Mouth! How the Left Plays the Race Card to Silence Conservatives and How to Stop It. She is co-host of New Right Network’s “American Exceptionalism” show. She is also President of March For Faith. Swift is also Director of Outreach and Development of Right to Life League.
About Kevin Fobbs:
Kevin Fobbs began writing professionally in 1975. Fobbs has written in the “New York Times” and the “Detroit News.” He also contributes to magazines like the Ann Arbor and Cleveland “Examiner” among others. The former daily host of The Kevin Fobbs Show on conservative News Talk WDTK – 1400 AM in Detroit. His wrote a Christian children’s book, “Is There a Lion in My Kitchen.”
Fobbs obtained a political science and journalism degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1978. He attended Wayne State University Law School. He spearheaded and managed state and national campaigns as well as several of President George W. Bush’s White House initiatives in areas including Education, Social Security, Welfare Reform, and Faith-Based Initiatives.