The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is about the Constitution and the coronavirus. America provides all kinds of freedoms and liberties, and among these many freedoms is the freedom to assemble. Yet, this freedom is being curtailed in this time of emergency with the invasion of the coronavirus.
Various states and communities are limiting the size of groups that can assemble. Some states have said that groups must stay under 250 people, and others limited crowds to 100 people. Today the Center for Disease Control stated that groups should be less than 50 people. Do governments have the right to curtail our freedom to assemble?
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “Congress [and by extension all other governments] shall make no law respecting … the right of the people peaceably to assemble….” There it is in black and white! Yet, governments are limiting the size of groups that can assemble in America right now. How can they get away with infringing on American’s First Amendment rights?
Apparently, governments can get around the Freedom to Assemble rights of Americans by declaring a state of emergency. Numerous states have issued a state of emergency and President Donald Trump declared a national emergency a day or two ago. In an emergency and for the good of the general public, governments can temporarily infringe on the right of citizens to assemble.
Currently, the United States is in a state of emergency in our fight against a novel coronavirus that is spreading quickly throughout the world. It does not kill everyone, and some people can have it and not feel sick. The mortality rate is .3 to 15 percent of those who are infected depending on the age and health of the infected person. Experts expect 40 to 70 percent of the population to get the virus. There are more than 350 million Americans, so half that number is about 175 million. One percent of 175 million means that 1.8 million Americans would die. This number is ten times higher than that of the annual flu, and this is the reason why governments are infringing on the freedom to assemble.
The government first tried to contain the coronavirus, but it got loose in the population. The most effective tool available to fight the virus now is to keep it from spreading so quickly that it overwhelms the medical establishment. The tool is known as “social distancing” – putting space between people.
Social distancing is the reason why governments are curtailing the number of people who can assemble in one place. This is the reason why schools and universities, churches and businesses are closing or limiting contact. This is the reason why families are encouraged to stay home and limit contacts with the outside world. The fewer people who are available to the virus, the flatter the curve of infection will be. The goal is to keep the number of serious cases to less than what the medical establishment can handle.
President Trump called for the nation to observe a day of prayer nationwide today. I believe that this is a wise step. I know that there is power in united prayer. Will God hear our prayers and respond to our cries, or will He allow us to suffer the consequences of our wickedness? How can God bless a nation that allows hundreds and thousands of unborn babies to be killed every single day? How can He bless a nation that is as divided by contention as our nation is?
I believe that prayer is a good first step. I also believe that we need to come before Him in humility and repentance for our sins, and I believe that we need to do it sooner rather than later. If the coronavirus runs wild in our nation, we will see millions of people die. My question is, is this the “desolating scourge” spoken of in the scriptures? If so, we have no time to lose in worrying about losing our freedom to assemble!