Aslam Abdullah | Clarion India
The Supreme Court decision to allow worship centers to hold their services without any physical restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis is the last nail the US needed in burying hope to save lives. By a margin of 5-4, the ultra-right judges decided that religious places are exempt from physical restrictions because the first amendment allows them religious freedom. It’s a fateful decision to expose the most vulnerable to the unprecedented crisis brought by the hitherto uncontrollable pandemic. Justice Sonia Sotomayor called the Supreme Court’s ruling blocking COVID-19 restrictions for religious services in New York a decision that “will only exacerbate the Nation’s suffering.”
The decision gives a glimpse into the future supreme court rulings and the impact of religious lunatics on legal opinions.
It is a Republican-controlled right-wing Christian evangelist leaning court, and most of its decisions would echo the sentiments of right-wing Christians. To expect anything else from six Republican nominated judges would be a mistake. These judges are motivated by their understanding of religious text and their constituency.
Their main concern is not to defend citizens’ interests but to serve a religious clergy that has long been trying to impact public offices’ governance.
Religious clergy, regardless of its orientation, is the biggest promoter of unscientific ideas and practices. It refuses to acknowledge the universality of and reality of physical laws, as is evident from its response to the pandemic. The logic it uses to defy these laws is rooted in the mystical powers of God. Since God gives and takes life, people should not worry about death. Pandemic is not the cause; God is the one one who decides to recall a human. People will die even if they maintain social distance or wear a mask.
In their views, the scientific advice to maintain social distance or take extra precautions is useless because death will find its victim in every situation.
Science is nothing but the discovery of God’s pre-ordained laws spread throughout the universe. The recognition of these universal laws manifests the ultimate submission to God. However, the clergy has always been at the forefront of denying these laws.
The Covid-19 is a contagious disease. Maintaining social distance and taking precautions to stop its spread by avoiding handshakes or wearing a mask is not an infringement of freedom or right to assembly but a safety measure. The clergy refuses to acknowledge this reality, not because it does not understand it, but because it wants to prove its autonomy and power over its congregants. The clergy is more concerned about its power and authority than people’s life and safety. Absurd, how much this idea is, the Supreme Court has aligned with it.
Another reason for the clergy’s insistence on not following science is the financial interests of religious institutions. More people bring in more money. A restricted number means limited income.
However, the point that the clergy fails to address is that God is above space and time. People can relate to him everywhere and anytime. He does not a specific place because he is the owner of the universe and does not need a particular number to determine his followers’ sincerity because he is free from all praises.
The Supreme Court’s decision will put the lives of millions of religious people at risk and prove a major contribution in the spread of the pandemic when the country needs all the resources to fight it.