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Old 27th November 2020, 04:40 PM   #321
Pooneil
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Justice Sotomayor argues that strict scrutiny shouldn't automatically apply simply because the order mentions religious institutions specifically. I'm on the bubble about that one.
No doubt it shouldn't automaticly. In my understanding, the enumerated rights have been held to a closer standard that "penumbra" rights. I don't really know that either case has been made fully here. However when seeking injunctive relief, I tend to see people seeking to exercise their rights as having some benefit of the doubt. I await New York's full legal case for further consideration.

Quote:
The debate will and should continue. Gov. Cuomo remains somewhat defiant. We'll see if this is just posturing, and whether he can work with the religious leaders in question to fashion a set of restrictions that satisfies all the concerns. I gather he still believes he's already done that.

I don't follow NY politics, but his compromise seemed to be to rezone the plaintiffs to less restrictive classes subsequent to the lawsuit. Any type of "compromise" that can be rescinded after a court engagement deserves some scrutiny.

The plaintiffs seem to be saying that the government has had enough time to think this through and come to remedy that does not restrict them based on an analogy to movie theaters. They seem to want their houses of worship to be viewed differently from commercial establishments and as entities that have the ability to act responsibly in a way that commercial establishments cannot. If that understanding is accurate, then it seems to me to be a argument worth hearing.

Last edited by Pooneil; 27th November 2020 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 27th November 2020, 08:19 PM   #322
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Originally Posted by Pooneil View Post
In my understanding, the enumerated rights have been held to a closer standard that "penumbra" rights.
Rightly so. And like it or not, free exercise of religion has been written into the Constitution as an enumerated right. So there we are. But should it be the controlling interest in every issue where it can be plausibly interjected? Here religion is important because the core of many religious practices -- in-person group ceremony -- is directly burdened. The tap dance is over whether it has been burdened to a greater or lesser extent than practitioners of comparable rights. The majority wants to cherry pick the context. And so, perhaps, does the dissent. I understand this is sort of how legal arguments go.

But beware the slippery slope. The dissent wants to make sure that the mere mention of religion doesn't invoke the specter of burdened fundamental rights and therefore require running the gauntlet of strict scrutiny on matters that don't strictly merit it. Given the Court's current makeup, this is a concern for me.

Quote:
However when seeking injunctive relief, I tend to see people seeking to exercise their rights as having some benefit of the doubt.
Preliminary injunctions do that. The movant must show a likelihood to succeed eventually on the merits. The court hearing the motion has to prognosticate the success of arguments that largely haven't yet been made or rebutted. That means giving one party or another the benefit of irreducible doubt.

As the Chief Justice correctly notes, injunctive relief should not be routine. It's an extraordinary remedy. Courts decide what is lawful to do. The political branches of government decide what is a good idea to do. The Chief Justice agrees that the restrictions on houses of worship was previously too harsh. But in reference to your point, he thinks plaintiffs haven't done enough to show they deserve the specific benefit of the doubt here. I think that's a sensible, measured response.

Quote:
I don't follow NY politics, but his compromise seemed to be to rezone the plaintiffs to less restrictive classes subsequent to the lawsuit. Any type of "compromise" that can be rescinded after a court engagement deserves some scrutiny.
The majority's view. It wasn't a re-zoning in the sense of geographical redistricting (although claims of gerrymandering the zones appears) so much as noting that the epidemiological data warranted downgrading them from red to orange. See the second section of the Order I cited. This effectively granted them the relief they sought, which was not full restoration of attendance, but rather a greater allowance for occupancy than 10-25 congregants.

Justice Sotomayor illustrates that this upgrade was the consequence of the draconian red-zone restrictions previously in place. I'll come back to this.

But yes, what's to keep things from changing and the red-zone restrictions from being reinstated at 4:30 pm on some Friday or Saturday night? It's a pie-crust promise: easily made, easily broken. All signs point to a seasonal escalation of COVID-19. Plaintiffs in this case have every reason to suppose they'll flip back to red at some point as winter progresses. But that doesn't justify the handwringing from the majority, in my opinion. If the red-zone restrictions have to be reimposed, and the plaintiffs have to refile their motion to enjoin those restrictions, it isn't foregone that it will happen on such an emergent basis.

The thing I was going to come back to :--

Populations that have seen the greatest success in mitigating coronavirus transmission endured short-lived but highly-draconian measures to quickly stop the spread. Americans have tended toward the opposite: half-measures that do little to achieve long-term eradication and rely mostly on voluntary compliance. J. Sotomayor notes that clamping down on gatherings in New York red zones had the predictable and desirable effect of slowing the spread, which -- if continued -- would ultimately result in the restoration of full rights of assembly and full rights of in-person worship. The insistence on voluntary half-measures only, with many exceptions, simply prolongs the period of restricted activity because it doesn't ultimately solve the problem.

This undermines the argument that we can sustain these mandates for only so long before we have to let the Constitution reassert itself. When the Court says, "You can only impose this level of restriction, and you can only impose it for so long," it intrudes upon the discretionary powers reserved to the political branches to manage a crisis. The Chief Justice gets it. Yes, at some point the judiciary has to step in and say, "Enough is enough." But it has to do so on grounds that don't sound like decisions we should be electing people to make.

Quote:
The plaintiffs seem to be saying that the government has had enough time to think this through and come to remedy that does not restrict them based on an analogy to movie theaters.
Which I'm not sure is really the analogy. I work routinely at three live-action theaters. One has been shuttered since March. The other has shifted to a carefully-orchestrated online-only presentation format. The third has been reopened with careful protocols to protect cast, crew, and audience -- 25% capacity. Obviously these are not essential business. But they are still businesses. People's livelihoods are at stake. My day job grants me the privilege of working in a legitimately essential business, but not everyone has that luxury. And those people have rights to commerce too.

The government of New York has thought it through, and they have provided a remedy that distinguishes houses of worship from theaters. Theaters are closed -- and this is the New York theater industry, in which I have several friends. Houses of worship aren't close. The presumption that the defendants are on the hook to distinguish houses of worship from essential places of business is something the Court invented.

Quote:
They seem to want their houses of worship to be viewed differently from commercial establishments...
And they have been. They don't make the cut as "essential businesses." Or as businesses at all, apparently, in the state taxonomy. And as non-commercial places of public accommodation, they would have ordinarily been subject to complete closure. But Gov. Cuomo's Order calls them out specifically to say they can still meet on a limited basis. The dissent points out that in terms of other entities similarly situated, houses of worship are already getting a break.

The majority upends this to say that houses of worship should automatically be comparable to essential places of business. Houses of worship enjoy a special First Amendment protection, to be sure. But only handwaving connects this to New York's previously-established hierarchy of business. The Order respects the distinction between businesses and houses of worship. The Court does not. The Governor sensibly relates houses of worship to a greater category of privately-owned places of public accommodation. The majority's reasoning is based on a proposed equivalence they did not expose to scrutiny, and for which they cite no authority.

Quote:
...and as entities that have the ability to act responsibly in a way that commercial establishments cannot.
Which commercial establishments? In what way? While the majority quotes plaintiff briefs arguing that "essential" businesses can accommodate as many patrons as they wish, there is nothing beyond plaintiffs speculation to support the contention that this is what they do or would want to do. Government cannot presume that religious leaders will categorically behave more responsibly than the proprietors of essential businesses. Or even of non-essential businesses. That inappropriately favors religion.

Quote:
If that understanding is accurate, then it seems to me to be a argument worth hearing.
I agree it's an argument worth hearing even if that understanding isn't accurate. In this day and age, understanding what should be meant by religious liberty serves all interests. Protecting my First Amendment rights as an atheist relies upon vigorous debate over what First Amendment protections mean for everyone. If any of it can be exposed as favoring religion over the absence of religion, correcting it means we all win. It means we all have continued faith in the wisdom of our jurists to navigate treacherous waters.
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Old 27th November 2020, 11:18 PM   #323
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
What other organisations are they referring to?

Longer quotations in a new CNN article:

Gorsuch
Quote:
"So, at least according to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians. Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience? ... The only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn't as 'essential' as what happens in secular spaces. Indeed, the Governor is remarkably frank about this: In his judgment laundry and liquor, travel and tools, are all 'essential' while traditional religious exercises are not. That is exactly the kind of discrimination the First Amendment forbids."Supreme Court's scientifically illiterate decision will cost lives (CNN, Nov. 27, 2020)

Kavanaugh
Quote:
"The State argues that it has not impermissibly discriminated against religion because some secular businesses such as movie theaters must remain closed and are thus treated less favorably than houses of worship. But under this Court's precedents, it does not suffice for a State to point out that, as compared to houses of worship, some secular businesses are subject to similarly severe or even more severe restrictions ... Rather, once a State creates a favored class of businesses, as New York has done in this case, the State must justify why houses of worship are excluded from that favored class."

Sotomayor and Kagan
Quote:
"But JUSTICE GORSUCH does not even try to square his examples with the conditions medical experts tell us facilitate the spread of COVID-19: large groups of people gathering, speaking, and singing in close proximity indoors for extended periods of time ... Unlike religious services, which 'have every one of th(ose) risk factors,' ... bike repair shops and liquor stores generally do not feature customers gathering inside to sing and speak together for an hour or more at a time. ('Epidemiologists and physicians generally agree that religious services are among the riskiest activities'). Justices of this Court play a deadly game in second guessing the expert judgment of health officials about the environments in which a contagious virus, now infecting a million Americans each week, spreads most easily."
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Old 28th November 2020, 09:58 AM   #324
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Quick reminder, guys: there's a Nominate button in the lower left hand corner of each post for outstanding use of the language.
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Old 28th November 2020, 12:29 PM   #325
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
It means we all have continued faith in the wisdom of our jurists to navigate treacherous waters.
As always, thanks for your thoughtful and interesting posts. There is a lot to sort out in this question alone. I hope our legislators and jurists do it well. And I hope people push back where they find it to be unfair or discriminatory. Hopefully we can reach a balance.

Last edited by Pooneil; 28th November 2020 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 28th November 2020, 12:35 PM   #326
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Gorsuch
He cherry-picks a few of the most frivolous-sounding businesses designated as essential. He then concludes that this selection coincidentally aligns with "secular convenience." Well, yeah, that's the sort of specious conclusion you can draw when you cherry-pick your evidence. It's purely circular reasoning. No, you don't get to shop for a new bike; the essential service on the list is bicycle repair -- very important in a state whose major city includes people for whom bicycles are their only form of transportation.

And he's factually incorrect in saying that the Governor decides which businesses are essential and which are not. That determination is made in New York by a private-public partnership corporation. Churches aren't included, because they aren't businesses as this group intends the term. That's why the Order specifically calls out houses of worship as their own category, and restricts them according to the same criteria as for secular gatherings of comparable potential size.

Quote:
Kavanaugh
Like Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh simply declares that houses of worship must be wedged into the same hierarchy as businesses, although I see no authority in New York law for doing so. The Order operates at a higher level, relying upon the prior designations to say what to do if you're a business, and then designating a different policy for houses of worship -- because houses of worship are different than businesses for the purpose of this kind of regulation.

The requirement Justice Kavanaugh invents out of whole cloth requires New York to justify why it does not include houses of worship in the most favored class of businesses. That justification is that houses of worship are not businesses, and were thus designated a class by themselves, and given more favorable treatment than they would have received had they been businesses.

Quote:
Sotomayor and Kagan
JJ. Sotomayor and Kagan make persuasive arguments on the grounds of why gatherings are forbidden but retail, manufacturing, and so forth are allowed to continue: because they differ in the risk of transmission. It's persuasive, but kind of a red herring. You don't get put on the list of essential businesses because you can operate at a low risk of infection. You get put there because what you do is important enough to accept the risk, regardless of how your business is conducted.

A better argument would have been to note the hidden premise in the majority's argument. Houses of worship were classified as large gatherings in closed venues which, under New York's executive authority, are treated the same whether the gathering has any commercial purpose or not. I feel this is what these Justices were going with this, but I feel it needed to have been made clearer.

While J. Sotomayor seeks to disqualify strict scrutiny as the level of review, I don't believe she can really do that. The most conspicuous activity associated with the free exercise of religion -- group worship -- is directly burdened by the Order. In other cases, the mere mention of religion wouldn't incur strict scrutiny. But I don't think you can write this off as a mere mention.

That said, I think the majority, perhaps seeking to rebuke an outspoken Democrat, make an inferior Constitutional argument. Houses of worship should be distinguished from other large-gathering restrictions because an additional fundamental right is at stake, not because business has anything to do with it. They are entitled to strict scrutiny and narrowly-tailored restrictions because they are gathering as a religious practice while others similarly situated are not.

Or at least that's the argument I would have made. And since IANAL and I have zero chance of being appointed to the Supreme Court, take it for what it's worth.
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Old 28th November 2020, 12:42 PM   #327
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Originally Posted by Pooneil View Post
There is a lot to sort out in this question alone.
Yup. The willingness of the legal profession to sort out these extremely thorny questions is what appeals to me as a lay onlooker. While lawyers get a bad rap sometimes in society, you can learn a lot by studying how the conscientious ones think and how they're taught to think.

Quote:
I hope our legislators and jurists do it well. And I hope people push back where they find it to be unfair or discriminatory. Hopefully we can reach a balance.
It behooves both sides to agree on middle ground. But we seem to do this poorly as a society nowadays. And I have very little faith in Congress or state legislators to draft a good-faith (pun intended) compromise. Somewhat more faith in the courts, but I think we're starting to see what kind of questionable reasoning we can expect from the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future.

Oh, well. We only lose when we stop talking about the issues with as much decorum as we can muster.
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Old 1st December 2020, 04:14 PM   #328
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
This post is dedicated lovingly to the memory of Loss Leader, who would have completely eviscerated it.
I do miss his insight.

Maybe if you could expand on some of your ideas below you wouldn't have to feel like you left something for LL to pick at . . .

Quote:
Rightly so. And like it or not, free exercise of religion has been written into the Constitution as an enumerated right. So there we are. But should it be the controlling interest in every issue where it can be plausibly interjected? Here religion is important because the core of many religious practices -- in-person group ceremony -- is directly burdened. The tap dance is over whether it has been burdened to a greater or lesser extent than practitioners of comparable rights. The majority wants to cherry pick the context. And so, perhaps, does the dissent. I understand this is sort of how legal arguments go.

But beware the slippery slope. The dissent wants to make sure that the mere mention of religion doesn't invoke the specter of burdened fundamental rights and therefore require running the gauntlet of strict scrutiny on matters that don't strictly merit it. Given the Court's current makeup, this is a concern for me.



Preliminary injunctions do that. The movant must show a likelihood to succeed eventually on the merits. The court hearing the motion has to prognosticate the success of arguments that largely haven't yet been made or rebutted. That means giving one party or another the benefit of irreducible doubt.

As the Chief Justice correctly notes, injunctive relief should not be routine. It's an extraordinary remedy. Courts decide what is lawful to do. The political branches of government decide what is a good idea to do. The Chief Justice agrees that the restrictions on houses of worship was previously too harsh. But in reference to your point, he thinks plaintiffs haven't done enough to show they deserve the specific benefit of the doubt here. I think that's a sensible, measured response.



The majority's view. It wasn't a re-zoning in the sense of geographical redistricting (although claims of gerrymandering the zones appears) so much as noting that the epidemiological data warranted downgrading them from red to orange. See the second section of the Order I cited. This effectively granted them the relief they sought, which was not full restoration of attendance, but rather a greater allowance for occupancy than 10-25 congregants.

Justice Sotomayor illustrates that this upgrade was the consequence of the draconian red-zone restrictions previously in place. I'll come back to this.

But yes, what's to keep things from changing and the red-zone restrictions from being reinstated at 4:30 pm on some Friday or Saturday night? It's a pie-crust promise: easily made, easily broken. All signs point to a seasonal escalation of COVID-19. Plaintiffs in this case have every reason to suppose they'll flip back to red at some point as winter progresses. But that doesn't justify the handwringing from the majority, in my opinion. If the red-zone restrictions have to be reimposed, and the plaintiffs have to refile their motion to enjoin those restrictions, it isn't foregone that it will happen on such an emergent basis.

The thing I was going to come back to :--

Populations that have seen the greatest success in mitigating coronavirus transmission endured short-lived but highly-draconian measures to quickly stop the spread. Americans have tended toward the opposite: half-measures that do little to achieve long-term eradication and rely mostly on voluntary compliance. J. Sotomayor notes that clamping down on gatherings in New York red zones had the predictable and desirable effect of slowing the spread, which -- if continued -- would ultimately result in the restoration of full rights of assembly and full rights of in-person worship. The insistence on voluntary half-measures only, with many exceptions, simply prolongs the period of restricted activity because it doesn't ultimately solve the problem.

This undermines the argument that we can sustain these mandates for only so long before we have to let the Constitution reassert itself. When the Court says, "You can only impose this level of restriction, and you can only impose it for so long," it intrudes upon the discretionary powers reserved to the political branches to manage a crisis. The Chief Justice gets it. Yes, at some point the judiciary has to step in and say, "Enough is enough." But it has to do so on grounds that don't sound like decisions we should be electing people to make.



Which I'm not sure is really the analogy. I work routinely at three live-action theaters. One has been shuttered since March. The other has shifted to a carefully-orchestrated online-only presentation format. The third has been reopened with careful protocols to protect cast, crew, and audience -- 25% capacity. Obviously these are not essential business. But they are still businesses. People's livelihoods are at stake. My day job grants me the privilege of working in a legitimately essential business, but not everyone has that luxury. And those people have rights to commerce too.

The government of New York has thought it through, and they have provided a remedy that distinguishes houses of worship from theaters. Theaters are closed -- and this is the New York theater industry, in which I have several friends. Houses of worship aren't close. The presumption that the defendants are on the hook to distinguish houses of worship from essential places of business is something the Court invented.



And they have been. They don't make the cut as "essential businesses." Or as businesses at all, apparently, in the state taxonomy. And as non-commercial places of public accommodation, they would have ordinarily been subject to complete closure. But Gov. Cuomo's Order calls them out specifically to say they can still meet on a limited basis. The dissent points out that in terms of other entities similarly situated, houses of worship are already getting a break.

The majority upends this to say that houses of worship should automatically be comparable to essential places of business. Houses of worship enjoy a special First Amendment protection, to be sure. But only handwaving connects this to New York's previously-established hierarchy of business. The Order respects the distinction between businesses and houses of worship. The Court does not. The Governor sensibly relates houses of worship to a greater category of privately-owned places of public accommodation. The majority's reasoning is based on a proposed equivalence they did not expose to scrutiny, and for which they cite no authority.



Which commercial establishments? In what way? While the majority quotes plaintiff briefs arguing that "essential" businesses can accommodate as many patrons as they wish, there is nothing beyond plaintiffs speculation to support the contention that this is what they do or would want to do. Government cannot presume that religious leaders will categorically behave more responsibly than the proprietors of essential businesses. Or even of non-essential businesses. That inappropriately favors religion.



I agree it's an argument worth hearing even if that understanding isn't accurate. In this day and age, understanding what should be meant by religious liberty serves all interests. Protecting my First Amendment rights as an atheist relies upon vigorous debate over what First Amendment protections mean for everyone. If any of it can be exposed as favoring religion over the absence of religion, correcting it means we all win. It means we all have continued faith in the wisdom of our jurists to navigate treacherous waters.
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Old 1st December 2020, 05:25 PM   #329
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Maybe if you could expand on some of your ideas below you wouldn't have to feel like you left something for LL to pick at . . .
The problem is that's the sum total of my insight. This is where a trained and experienced lawyer would have to come in and point out all the reasoning I got wrong because I don't know all the things a lawyer knows.
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Old 2nd December 2020, 02:16 PM   #330
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
The problem is that's the sum total of my insight. This is where a trained and experienced lawyer would have to come in and point out all the reasoning I got wrong because I don't know all the things a lawyer knows.
Or the trained lawyer could just joke about how long your posts are. You know, to avoid showing that they aren't really trained in that area of the law at all.
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Old 3rd December 2020, 03:02 PM   #331
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Ooops, they did it again.
Quote:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a blow to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s pandemic-related ban on indoor religious services, siding with a church that defied the policy and challenged it as unconstitutional religious discrimination.

The decision followed a similar action by the justices on Nov. 25 that backed Christian and Jewish houses of worship that challenged New York state restrictions in coronavirus hot spots.

The justices, with no noted dissents, set aside a lower court ruling that rejected a challenge to Newsom’s policy by Harvest Rock Church Inc, which has several campuses in the state, and Harvest International Ministries Inc, an association of churches. Both are based in Pasadena, a city in Los Angeles County.
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Old 5th December 2020, 03:40 PM   #332
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I am not sure what this means: Can the governor still ban indoor services or can't he?
Quote:
The unsigned order, which contained no noted dissents, seems to leave in place for now the Democratic governor’s substantial limitations, which in some places serve as a ban on indoor services.
Supreme Court sides with California church protesting coronavirus restrictions (WP, Dec. 3, 2020)
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 5th December 2020, 06:03 PM   #333
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The catholic church in Mexico has embraced all gov restrictions from the start. The odd little fundy cults not so much.

Communion isn't as used as it had been before and no breach of faith considered. There is hope for some.
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Old 6th December 2020, 12:20 PM   #334
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A quick Google search seems to confirm it.
Examples of both attitudes:
Catholic Church cancels Guadalupe pilgrimage over pandemic (AP, Nov. 23, 2020)
'Enter through the back door': secret church services in Mexico and Brazil defy Covid-19 rules (TheGuardian, June 17, 2020)

In Denmark, the attitude of the churches to the pandemic has been pretty sensible. I haven't heard of any back-door congregations.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 8th December 2020, 03:56 PM   #335
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In the New York case, the plaintiffs weren't asking to be fully exempt. It's important to know this. They wanted a relaxation of what they felt were overly draconian limits: either 4 or 25 occupants in meeting halls that normally held hundreds if not up to a thousand. They didn't want to hold back-door worship services or pack the halls. They were quite willing to accept reduced capacity, masks, social distancing, temperature checks, and all the other reasonable precautions.

The Mormon church here in Utah has endorsed all the state and local restrictions. Masks are being worn, and services are limited to situations where indoor distancing can occur.

As usual, it seems a lot of people are trying to be reasonable. But the few who aren't will be the ones to get all the attention.
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Old 13th December 2020, 08:55 AM   #336
dann
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Yes, that does sound reasonable. Not as bad as I thought.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 14th December 2020, 02:14 AM   #337
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One of the really crazy ones, pastor Greg Locke, Global Vision Bible Church:
"There is no pandemic!"

CNN questions pastor who falsely says Covid-19 is a 'fake pandemic' (Dec. 10, 2020):

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 14th December 2020, 05:08 AM   #338
Ulf Nereng
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
A quick Google search seems to confirm it.
Examples of both attitudes:
Catholic Church cancels Guadalupe pilgrimage over pandemic (AP, Nov. 23, 2020)
'Enter through the back door': secret church services in Mexico and Brazil defy Covid-19 rules (TheGuardian, June 17, 2020)

In Denmark, the attitude of the churches to the pandemic has been pretty sensible. I haven't heard of any back-door congregations.
It's the same in Norway. I assume it's because the priests are getting their wages whether the congregation stays at home or goes to church. They don't get tithes from online sermons, but they don't need it anyway. That's different in countries that don't have state funding of religions.

There has been one or two incidents with muslim congregations breaking the rules, though. Perhaps congregating i more important to them?
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Old 14th December 2020, 01:08 PM   #339
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I have heard of only one incident with Muslims in Denmark. There were a few more than allowed at the time, but they were outdoors and they kept their distance, so it wasn't really a problem and wasn't treated as one - except by a few anti-immigration idiots online.

As soon as their regular income is secured, Scandinavian preachers seem to be able to live happy and fulfilling lives without private jets ... and often even without faith!
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 14th December 2020, 01:23 PM   #340
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I have heard of only one incident with Muslims in Denmark. There were a few more than allowed at the time, but they were outdoors and they kept their distance, so it wasn't really a problem and wasn't treated as one - except by a few anti-immigration idiots online.

As soon as their regular income is secured, Scandinavian preachers seem to be able to live happy and fulfilling lives without private jets ... and often even without faith!
Yet you get people filling stadiums for Benny Hinn

https://medium.com/@iselinaspen/i-on...g-772d47a3c4d1

You are not immune to such preachers.
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Old 15th December 2020, 03:53 AM   #341
dann
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Yet you get people filling stadiums for Benny Hinn
We do?! I've never heard of him. If he had filled stadiums in Denmark, I am pretty sure I would have.

Quote:

I have no idea where that is supposed to be.

Quote:
You are not immune to such preachers.

Did anybody claim that we were? But where are they? I don't see them anywhere. Icke was here a few years ago, but he didn't exactly fill any stadiums:
Samtlige 545 pladser var udsolgt (Information.dk, Oct. 27, 2018)
All 545 seats were sold out.

(And it's not because we don't have stadiums to fill.)


ETA: I have googled "Benny HInn" + Denmark, and it turns out that he was here in 2006, in Forum (Wikipedia) in Frederiksberg, where I live:
Gyngetur af Guds højre hånd (Nordjyske.dk, May 2, 2006)
A swing by the right hand of God (The article pokes fun at the experience)
Apparently, 7,000 seats (out of 9,000) were sold, so the stadium (rather small, but still ...) wasn't exactly full in spite of busses from the Pentecostal church (Wikipedia) in Denmark (currently 5,000 members) taking them there.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 15th December 2020 at 04:18 AM.
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Old 18th December 2020, 04:18 AM   #342
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Ansatte i kirker frygter smittespredning til jul: Opfordrer til at aflyse gudstjenester (DR.dk, Dec. 18, 2020)
Staff in churches fear spread of infection for Xmas: Call for church services to be cancelled

Xmas is the only time of the year when (some) churches in Denmark are used to full capacity, but the staff of some churches fear that Xmas church services this year may turn into super-spreader events.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 18th December 2020, 07:10 PM   #343
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Yet you get people filling stadiums for Benny Hinn

https://medium.com/@iselinaspen/i-on...g-772d47a3c4d1

You are not immune to such preachers.
The author says that she went to a Benny Hinn show in Israel, and the picture appears to be from an Italian site, so it may not even be from a stadium in Denmark. That's not to say that all Danes are immune to this sort of thing, of course, but I doubt that any preacher of that ilk could fill a stadium like the one in the article.
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Old 18th December 2020, 07:23 PM   #344
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Churches here in Norway can have a maximum of 20 persons inside at once during Xmas. There will probably be some outdoor events, though, which allows up to 200 persons in one place. I'm guessing most will just watch the televised events.
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Old 19th December 2020, 01:16 AM   #345
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Sørine Godtfredsen advarer mod at lukke kirker til jul: 'Du kan ikke sammenligne kirker med fitnesscentre og Røverkøb' (DR.dk, Dec. 18, 2020)
Sørine Godtfredsen warns against closing churches for Christmas: 'You cannot compare churches with gyms and bargain offers'

Godtfredsen is one of the few belligerent vicars in the Danish State Church, so I'm not really surprised that she would want more members of her congregation to get infected. She openly disagrees with the employees who have asked for the churches to be locked down for Xmas. See post 342.


ETA: The Minister of Churches disagrees with her:
Kirkeminister vil ikke frede julegudstjenester: Sender restriktioner til nyt gennemsyn (DR.dk, Dec. 18, 2020)
Church minister will not exempt Christmas services: Restrictions to be re-examined
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

Last edited by dann; 19th December 2020 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 19th December 2020, 01:00 PM   #346
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Originally Posted by dann View Post

Sørine Godtfredsen warns against closing churches for Christmas: 'You cannot compare churches with gyms and bargain offers'

I have to agree with Sørine here. Gyms and bargain offers are things with tangible benefits.
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Old 24th December 2020, 11:12 AM   #347
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She argued that as long as food shops remain open, churches should be open, too. You know, soul food!
Anyway, the whole church establishment ended up recommending that all Xmas services be cancelled.
Præster, provster og biskopper: Drop julens gudstjenester (DR.dk, Dec. 23, 2020)
Vicars, provosts and bishops: Drop the Christmas services

I bet Sørine thinks it's the end of Christianity, but the rest of the Danish State Church doesn't seem to be concerned that this is the case.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 24th December 2020, 11:18 AM   #348
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
She argued that as long as food shops remain open, churches should be open, too. You know, soul food!
Anyway, the whole church establishment ended up recommending that all Xmas services be cancelled.
Præster, provster og biskopper: Drop julens gudstjenester (DR.dk, Dec. 23, 2020)
Vicars, provosts and bishops: Drop the Christmas services

I bet Sørine thinks it's the end of Christianity, but the rest of the Danish State Church doesn't seem to be concerned that this is the case.
Whose faith is so weak that it requires weekly injections of public participation?

Even Jesus Himself managed to spend forty days and forty nights in the desert without attending the Temple.
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Old 25th December 2020, 01:00 AM   #349
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He had an awful lot of faith in Himself!
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 28th December 2020, 10:08 AM   #350
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Whose faith is so weak that it requires weekly injections of public participation?
I don't think it's necessarily a weakness of faith. I don't need ISF in order to be a good skeptic, but participating regularly in it is comforting, affirmational, and restorative. Wanting to pursue associations with like-minded individuals -- especially in hard times -- isn't a weakness in my book.

But of course that's not really the complaint. Assembling with others is certainly pleasant, but it's irresponsible under circumstances where doing so increases tangible risks to others. And it becomes offensive to insist upon it as some abstractly inalienable right when others are sacrificing their own much-needed associations. Transforming the practical benefit of group worship into something that has to be legally preserved at seemingly all costs transforms it from a social question to a political question. It smacks of churches vying for power over society in a way that rivals the government. I think the responsible free exercise of religion has to take a more charitable look at what exemptions ought to be sought, and not just seek them because they can be legally coerced from others.

Quote:
Even Jesus Himself managed to spend forty days and forty nights in the desert without attending the Temple.
But going on a walkabout in the desert was, as I understand it, an accepted form of worship in Judaism back then. But your point remains: insisting that weekly group gatherings must be allowed at all costs does rather convey a sense of weakness. Another lesson from Judaism is that the "unclean" (both biologically and ritually) were not permitted to enter the synagogue or temple. Scripture tells believers what their priorities should be in this exact circumstance.

My great fortune in living in a desert is its opportunity for social distancing. Without venturing too far from my house, I can be in a place where I'm two kilometers from the next nearest person.
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Old 28th December 2020, 12:29 PM   #351
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I don't think it's necessarily a weakness of faith. I don't need ISF in order to be a good skeptic, but participating regularly in it is comforting, affirmational, and restorative. Wanting to pursue associations with like-minded individuals -- especially in hard times -- isn't a weakness in my book.

But of course that's not really the complaint. Assembling with others is certainly pleasant, but it's irresponsible under circumstances where doing so increases tangible risks to others. And it becomes offensive to insist upon it as some abstractly inalienable right when others are sacrificing their own much-needed associations. Transforming the practical benefit of group worship into something that has to be legally preserved at seemingly all costs transforms it from a social question to a political question. It smacks of churches vying for power over society in a way that rivals the government. I think the responsible free exercise of religion has to take a more charitable look at what exemptions ought to be sought, and not just seek them because they can be legally coerced from others.

But going on a walkabout in the desert was, as I understand it, an accepted form of worship in Judaism back then. But your point remains: insisting that weekly group gatherings must be allowed at all costs does rather convey a sense of weakness. Another lesson from Judaism is that the "unclean" (both biologically and ritually) were not permitted to enter the synagogue or temple. Scripture tells believers what their priorities should be in this exact circumstance.
That too.

Quote:
My great fortune in living in a desert is its opportunity for social distancing. Without venturing too far from my house, I can be in a place where I'm two kilometers from the next nearest person.
I have a few walking trails nearby. The few other walkers and I pass at a two metre distance. Though, occasionally, a walked dog really wants to get closer for a head rub or a pat.
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Old 4th January 2021, 10:47 PM   #352
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Iceland:
Quote:
Police are investigating after at least 70 people were counted by reporters at mass at Reykjavík’s main Catholic church yesterday, despite the national ten-person assembly limit. Police counted 51 leaving through the main entrance, but some were believed to have still been inside, or exited through side doors.

Police were notified after several other masses earlier in the day were also believed to break the assembly limit. The priest says he does not want to turn any worshippers away; adding that the church is very large and he believes more than ten should be allowed, as long as the two-metre rule is in place and face masks are worn. The church was also reported on Christmas Eve for a service with at least 50 attendees.
Church in COVID trouble (RUV.is, Jan. 4, 2021)
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 6th January 2021, 10:16 AM   #353
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Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria ignore COVID advice for Epiphany (EuroNews, Jan. 6, 2021)
Epiphany: Thousands of Orthodox Christians ignore COVID warnings (AlJazeera, Jan. 6, 2021)
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 2nd February 2021, 01:54 PM   #354
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1 in 132 Israeli ultra-Orthodox adults over 65 has died of COVID-19 - Death toll is 3.6 times higher than for the general Israeli population of that age group, Health Ministry figures show (TimesOfIsrael, Dec. 29, 2020)

Quote:
At the immediate heart of the tensions is the refusal of some elements within the community to observe tough lockdown regulations that ban gatherings of more than five people inside and 10 outdoors.
More widely, police actions against them are seen by many Israelis as a long overdue effort to end the exceptionalism that has characterized the ultra-Orthodox for decades. It's allowed them to shirk military service, live on state benefits and often act as king makers in Israeli politics, critics and political rivals say.
Violence and slurs from some of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jews in battle over coronavirus lockdowns (CNN, Jan. 29, 2021)
Quote:
"Millions of families and children are locked in their homes and abide by the rules while thousands of Haredim crowd the funeral, most of them even without masks," Mr Gantz tweeted describing it as evidence of "unequal enforcement".
"We will not agree to the continuation of an ineffective fake lockdown. Either everyone is locked down - or everyone opens. The days of indulgence are over."
Covid: Thousands attend Israel funeral for orthodox rabbi (BBC, Jan. 31, 2021)
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 5th February 2021, 02:37 PM   #355
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Wow! Just as well the Haredim (Ultra Orthodox Jews) are only 12% of the population, or Israel would be on the top of the list of the most impacted countries, per capita, in the world.

I wonder if it is just common stupidity, or if the Haredim followers think they are being protected by their faith, in the same way as those Christians who claim immunity, because they are "washed clean by the blood of Jesus."
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Old 5th February 2021, 03:16 PM   #356
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Wow! Just as well the Haredim (Ultra Orthodox Jews) are only 12% of the population, or Israel would be on the top of the list of the most impacted countries, per capita, in the world.

I wonder if it is just common stupidity, or if the Haredim followers think they are being protected by their faith, in the same way as those Christians who claim immunity, because they are "washed clean by the blood of Jesus."
Seems that the stronger a person's religious convictions are, the more detached from reality they become, regardless of their chosen deity.
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Old 6th February 2021, 11:42 AM   #357
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I have been following Israel's numbers since they became the country with most people vaccinated, and they haven't been doing particularly well so far. They have moved up the list of countries with the most Covid-19 deaths per million, from #62 to #52 today:
7/1-21 #62: 383 (3,527) 3,468 905
22/1-21 #56: 464 (4,266) 6,159 1182
6/1-21 #52 550 (5.057) 4,468 1,124
The other numbers are 1: deaths per million, 2: (total Covid deaths), 3: new daily cases, and 4: ICU patients.

Of course, it takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to work, and it takes a couple of weeks (or more) for those infected to be hospitalized and either recover or die, so the pandemic may have stopped being a serious problem in Israel by the end of this month, but it seems like Netanyahu's consideration for the religious sentiments of his voter base has ruined the effects of Israel's many lockdowns, thus providing the lockdown opponents with arguments:

Quote:
"Lockdowns can lower the prevalence of disease, but in the end, they do not affect the number of sick or dead people,” said Dr. Yoav Yehezkelli, member of the Common Sense Model and the PECC who helped design Israel’s programs for dealing with an epidemic.
(...)
Critics cite as a prime example of politically driven decision-making the lack of enforcement of Covid-19 guidelines in many ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, where schools often remain open, and huge weddings and funerals continue to take place.
Israel would be in a much better place, many medical experts say, had Netanyahu not abandoned the so-called traffic light strategy to enforce lockdowns.
Israel's previous coronavirus czar, Ronni Gamzu, tried to implement that strategy, but was blocked by Netanyahu because many of the red areas are ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods that are strongholds for the embattled prime minister. Not wanting to alienate the ultra-Orthodox, who represent 12 percent of Israel's population, Netanyahu opted for the current across-the-board approach.
Israel's handling of coronavirus seems like a success. Residents tell a different story. (NBC News, Feb. 6, 2021)
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 6th February 2021, 01:46 PM   #358
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Thanks for the input dann. I am stunned by this excerpt:

"Lockdowns can lower the prevalence of disease, but in the end, they do not affect the number of sick or dead people,” said Dr. Yoav Yehezkelli, member of the Common Sense Model and the PECC who helped design Israel’s programs for dealing with an epidemic.

This is an example of common sense?
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Old 6th February 2021, 06:48 PM   #359
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Thanks for the input dann. I am stunned by this excerpt:

"Lockdowns can lower the prevalence of disease, but in the end, they do not affect the number of sick or dead people,” said Dr. Yoav Yehezkelli, member of the Common Sense Model and the PECC who helped design Israel’s programs for dealing with an epidemic.

This is an example of common sense?
Hey. As Einstein pointed out, "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen".*

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* or maybe not. As with all quotes from famous people. (I did ask Alexa but she said that she "did not know that one".
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Old 6th February 2021, 09:27 PM   #360
Thor 2
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Hey. As Einstein pointed out, "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen".*

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* or maybe not. As with all quotes from famous people. (I did ask Alexa but she said that she "did not know that one".

Well it does sound somewhat dubious.
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