Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Friday that many governors are using the “coronavirus as an excuse” to attack freedom of religion, “this country’s bedrock right,” by keeping churches closed.
“Freedom of religion is, of course, this country’s bedrock right, it’s the reason the country was founded in the first place, and of course, it’s in the Constitution, right up there with freedom of speech,” Carlson said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“Those in power have used coronavirus as an excuse to extinguish all of it: churches were immediately closed all over the country, and people were threatened with arrest if they dared to worship. That’s still the case in many states.”
On Friday, President Donald Trump said if states do reopen houses of worship “right now” he will override their authority and do so himself. (RELATED: Judge Napolitano: Politicians Are Taking Our Rights Away In The Name Of Public ‘Safety’)
However, as Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo argued when Trump threatened to universally reopen the American economy, “We have a Constitution, we don’t have a king. And the Constitution clearly says the powers that are not specifically listed for the federal government are reserved to the states.”
According to a Reuters fact check, closing churches during a pandemic may not be unconstitutional either: “State restrictions on non-essential businesses and mass gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic are not unconstitutional; the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as existing statutes passed by state legislatures, empower governors to manage emergencies within their respective states.”
Governors have shut down churches because they attract more than 10 people at a time, making social distancing difficult. In closing churches as a “non-essential” service, Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said, “This virus is an invisible danger that could be present everywhere. We need to act with the strength we use against any other severe threat.”
But Carlson noted Friday that here is mounting evidence that lockdowns “can be loosened without increasing infections” and some governors did not think of closing liquor stores or abortion clinics for fear of people getting too close to one another.
The host said churchgoers have often meekly accepted the dictates of their governors but patience is wearing thin: “they are nice people and slow to anger, but believers are finally standing up to reclaim their rights.”
Carlson noted that in Minnesota, six catholic bishops have moved against the church ban instituted by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz and have allowed parishes to begin celebrating Mass again. (RELATED: Judge Napolitano Urges People To Push Back ‘Unconstitutional’ Lockdowns)
“Now, all of these people are legal American citizens, so the governors may not look kindly on them. They should just call themselves illegal aliens, and they will get free subsidies — probably won’t do that, though. But tonight, they are not alone. The president has announced that his administration supports the reopening houses of worship,” Carlson said.
Even though the administration tried to walk back that promise, Carlson noted that “governors do not have the power to veto the Constitution.”