A federal judge ruled against Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order that restricts church and religious gatherings to less than ten people on Saturday, recognizing that events such as church services are protected by the First Amendment even in times of emergency.
The federal court issued a a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of Kelly’s order, citing that the state of Kansas has declined to formally prohibit similar events occurring at secular facilities such as factories and airports. The Democratic Governor pushed back against the ruling, suggesting that she intends to appeal the restraining order in a higher court.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, however, lauded the ruling, stating that church services were beyond the formal prohibition of state authorities.
“Today’s judicial ruling is a much-needed reminder that the Constitution is not under a stay-home order and the Bill of Rights cannot be quarantined. The Constitution protects our liberties especially during times of crisis, when history reveals governments too quick to sacrifice rights of the few to calm fears of the many.”
There’s reason to believe that only an extremely small minority of American church congregations are even holding dangerous events in which the coronavirus could be spread. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear organized a major crackdown on churches planning services on Easter Sunday, but ultimately clarified that his office could only identify 17 churches holding events, many of whom were presumably only hosting small crowds, in the entire state of Kentucky.
The vast majority of American religious institutions are behaving responsibly of their own accord. Heavy-handed attempts by state governments to shut down the churches while institutions such as liquor stores and abortion clinics remain open do a disservice to the antiviral strategy of social distancing.
City of Denver Unanimously Votes to Rename Columbus Park “La Raza Park”
There might come a time when nothing in the US is named after Christopher Columbus.
The Denver City Council unanimously voted to rename Columbus Park last week Monday, and now it will be named “La Raza Park.”
“La raza” is Spanish for “the race,” which has connotations with Latino identity politics. A Denver Post article tells us that the phrase “viva la raza” (long live the race) was the “rallying cry of the Chicano movement in the 1960s and ’70s.” The Chicano Movement encouraged Mexican ethnic and cultural solidarity with a particular emphasis on their indigenous heritage. The movement, however, rejected assimilation and thus the term “Mexican-American,” essentially branding themselves as the Hispanic version of the Black Power movement.
Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval claims that the unanimous vote was an act of officially naming a park that has “always” been unofficially called by its new name. “La raza is a word of unity and about celebrating community,” she said without a hint of irony.
The reason for officially renaming the park is about what you’d expect, namely because Christopher Columbus is irredeemably associated with colonialism and genocide and is thus not fit to be honored in any way, shape, or form.
Arturo Gonzalez, a retired professor, said that “Mexican Chicanos and Indigenous peoples have suffered genocide over the last 500 years. We live with that trauma. We continue to live with that trauma.”
Renaming parks, buildings, and schools that were previously named after so-called “problematic” or “white supremacist” historical figures is nothing new, of course, but the practice has accelerated over the past several months due to the hysteria following the George Floyd riots.
Big League Politics has covered many instances of this phenomenon. One of the most recent instances included a San Francisco school district renaming Abraham Lincoln High School because black lives apparently “didn’t matter” to him:
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