Roughly four out of 5 — 80% — of all Americans say houses of worship should be subject to the same social distancing rules as other organizations. Specifically:
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that U.S. adults overwhelmingly say houses of worship should be required to follow the same rules about social distancing and large gatherings as other organizations or businesses in their local area. About eight-in-ten Americans (79%) take this position, four times the share who think houses of worship should be allowed more flexibility than other kinds of establishments when it comes to rules about social distancing (19%).
On this question, Americans seem to align with two recent Supreme Court orders, which rejected lawsuits claiming that state restrictions on worship violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. At the same time, many state and local governments have carved out exemptions for religious institutions from pandemic-related restrictions.Source: PRC. (August 7, 2020). Americans oppose religious exemptions from coronavirus-related restrictions. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from: https://www.pewforum.org/2020/08/07/americans-oppose-religious-exemptions-from-coronavirus-related-restrictions/
Yes, by all means, we all have the God-given, Constitutionally-protected right to freely practice our religion. Says so right here in our First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Regardless of whether your religious beliefs include beating children into unconsciousness or unnecessarily risking the lives of others by refusing to wear PPE or practice simple hygiene in the middle of a pandemic, however, neither of these two behaviors are allowed under the simple and commonly accepted moral code of modern society, much less local, county, state, federal and Constitutional law.
In fact, the common thread running through the Constitution is the protection of people, both again external forces as well as from dictators and even one another.
Let me put it another way:
If PPE and hygienic procedures work — as they undeniably do — the government has absolutely ZERO lawful authority to prohibit people using PPE and proper hygiene from attending church.
Before you latch onto that point while blinding yourself to all else, the following also holds true: You do not have any right whatsoever — religious, moral or or lawful — to behave in a way that exacerbates the spread of a pandemic pathogen and/or endangers the lives of others.
Churches whose members refuse to wear a mask can indeed be lawfully shut down until their harmful behavior changes.
Please — FOR THE LOVE OF GOD — wear a mask.