Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (below), a Democrat, did the right thing yesterday when she issued an executive order limiting church gatherings to no more than 10 people. That’s not an anti-Christian move, obviously. It was done to protect public health. (It would’ve been even better if she blocked these gatherings altogether, except for essential services.)
Her order was especially necessary given that 25% of Kansas’ COVID-19 cases have been traced back to churches.
But in true Kansas Republican fashion, GOP lawmakers have just overturned her order on a party-line vote. They want Christians to be able to infect the entire damn state.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt, also a Republican, made things worse earlier today when he told all law enforcement officials and prosecutors to ignore the governor. Now the lawmakers have followed suit.
… Legislative leaders met Wednesday afternoon and voted along party lines to strike down the directive.
“In our view, Kansas statute and the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights each forbid the governor from criminalizing participation in worship gatherings by executive order,” Schmidt wrote.
The order became effective on Wednesday.
It’s not a violation of religious freedom to ban large gathering as a whole. Kelly didn’t single out houses of worship. Even though the Republicans say publicly that choosing not to gather is a good idea, they are now giving pastors permission to do it anyway — which means all the safety measures residents are taking are meaningless since irresponsible Christians will be spreading the virus amongst themselves and their commnunities.
Republicans in Kansas just voted to kill people. Or at least put them in harm’s way. Their “pro-life” hypocrisy has never been more clear.
We know we can’t count on Christian pastors to do the right thing on their own. They need to be forced into it. But Republicans have given them the flexibility to infect their own congregations — over Easter, no less, when many churches rake in lots of money and there’s a clear incentive to meet — instead of protecting the people they’re meant to serve.