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If the Great Pandemic of 2020 has taught Americans anything, it should be that when it comes to totalitarian authority, the Democratic Party stands in a class all its own.
Another valuable lesson is that all too often, religious freedom takes a back seat to the dictates of moral busybodies eager to decide what’s good for you and your family.
The latest example of this is seen in New York, where Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared he may “close the synagogues” over a lack of compliance by the Orthodox Jewish community to coronavirus restrictions.
Cuomo suggested large gatherings of Orthodox Jews are responsible for an outbreak of several COVID-19 “clusters” in the state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: "I have to say to the Orthodox community tomorrow, 'If you're not willing to live with these rules, then I'm going to close the synagogues.'" pic.twitter.com/QWOPvZMbFI
— The Hill (@thehill) October 5, 2020
“I think it’s not just a New York City issue,” the governor told reporters on Monday. “You’re dealing with government saying to religions, ‘you shouldn’t have more than X people in your church or your mosque or your temple.’”
He said law-enforcement doesn’t have the resources to enforce restrictions in place due to the pandemic.
“I have to say to the Orthodox community tomorrow, ‘If you’re not willing to live with these rules, then I’m going to close the synagogues,'” Gov. Cuomo said, adding that it’s “a difficult conversation and you’re right on the line of government intrusion on religion.”
Cuomo temporarily closed public and private schools in a number of areas with large Orthodox populations, NBC New York reported. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had proposed the shutdown on Sunday.
The NBC affiliate noted that this was the second day of the Jewish holiday Sukkot, when Orthodox Jews would not be using phones or computers and would not have heard the news until sundown.
The actions didn’t go over well in the Orthodox Jewish community.
“People are very turned off and very burned out,” Yosef Hershkop, a Hasidic Jew who works for a chain of urgent-care centers, told NBC New York. “It’s not like we’re the only people in New York getting COVID.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson slammed Cuomo on Monday’s show, suggesting the Democrat “thinks the real problem is religious services.”
“In the country we lived in January we had a First Amendment that said government would not get in the way of the exercise of your religion,” Carlson said.
“People would have laughed at that — ‘we will close the religious institutions, period,’ he said, referencing Cuomo’s words. “Who do you think you are, God? You’re not, you are some stupid governor from a declining state.”
Fox News medical contributor, Dr. Marc Siegel, weighed in to say it’s the “science of fear.”
“This is fear, this is punitiveness,” he added. “And I want to tell our viewers a secret, you know why lockdowns occur … lockdowns occur because they don’t think they can control you.”
He went on to compare what’s happening to a science fiction series, warning that “we need our freedoms.”
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