Sleight of hand.
It’s the currency of the magician, to distract with one hand while he picks your pocket with the other. And it’s the tactic of the schoolyard bully, to misdirect using one fist so he can slam you with the other.
And it’s precisely what Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) is doing on a legislative/political level with his promotion of what some are mistakenly, sheepishly, accepting as a positive: the Georgia “Faith Protection Act.”
Said titular act is a proposal in the state legislature that, as Breitbart’s Brian Kraychik notes, the governor on Wednesday applauded during an interview for the website’s satellite radio show.
’I want Georgia to be known as a sanctuary state for people of faith,’ Kemp declared. ‘I think we’ve seen around the country there have been a lot of people in power, especially governors around the country, that have denied people that right of religious freedom, if you will, to be able to worship.’
And, like a carnival barker, Kemp wasn’t finished.
’It’s very frustrating for a lot of people in Georgia, including myself,’ Kemp said. ‘We never shut churches down. We asked our pastors and faith leaders across all denominations to work with us and help us flatten the curve and stop the spread, but we also know, and even with a pandemic, it’s important for us to be able to worship.’
Which is attractive sentiment, but also is attractive distraction.
Because this is the same man who, on April 2, 2020, issued an Executive Order clamping “emergency” restrictions on all private businesses unless those businesses were magically deemed “Critical Infrastructure.”
Watch both hands, because the one he’s waving is a distraction.
It’s a distraction not only because of his hypocrisy – or his differing standards regarding his purported respect for churches and his disrespect for voluntary association in private businesses. And it's a distraction because such a wondrous new statute is supposed to be unnecessary in the first place.
Though the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution only applies to Congress, Kemp might want to consider the fact that HIS OWN STATE CONSTITUTION prohibits the government from interfering in peaceful religious worship.
He swore an oath to protect and defend both it and the U.S. Constitution, so perhaps it’s worthwhile to remind him of what appears on its first page.
Paragraph III. Freedom of conscience. Each person has the natural and inalienable right to worship God, each according to the dictates of that person's own conscience; and no human authority should, in any case, control or interfere with such right of conscience.
Perhaps Kemp doesn’t consider himself human? Or, perhaps he hasn’t read the Georgia Constitution he promised to uphold.
If he did read it, he would know that this “Faith Protection Act” is supposed to be unnecessary, and that pushing the new bill implicitly reasserts the bogus claim that all the other restrictions the Governor pushes on private businesses and gatherings are acceptable.
And if he’d have the integrity to abide by the U.S. Constitution, he would see that this absolutely is not the case.
The list of ways that state “lockdowns” and “gathering restrictions” breach the U.S. Constitution is long and shocking.
They are clear attacks on the Contract Clause (Article One, Section Ten, Clause One), which states, in part, that no state shall interfere with the obligation of private contract. That means that if any business owner had made agreements with employees, customers, suppliers, or contractors prior to the “lockdown order”, said “order” is null and without force. It is verboten by the US Constitution.
Lockdown mandates also are infringements of the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unwarranted (a real warrant, issued by a publicly visible judge) searches and seizures. They breach the Fifth Amendment prohibition against the deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law. They breach the Sixth Amendment assurance of a trial by jury, the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment (how can one be punished if one has not been charged, tried in a court, and found guilty of a crime?), and they breach the Fourteenth Amendment’s reiteration of the Fifth Amendment’s command for due process of law.
And, returning to his own state constitution, Kemp might want to read its reiteration of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
Paragraph XIII. Searches, seizures, and warrants. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation particularly describing the place or places to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
And, of course, even if both documents “allowed” lockdowns (they clearly do not), there is a deeper level of ethics that prohibits this kind of thuggery. It’s the fundamental recognition that no one has the inherent right to threaten someone else.
Lockdowns – of any private-sphere, voluntary act – are threats of state violence against peaceful people. Period.
Governor Kemp’s fatuous virtue-signaling to religious people disregards that fundamental reality about lockdowns, disregards his own state constitution, and is an insult to the U.S. Constitution.
Beware the politician who waves one hand, because the other is a closed fist, ready to punch with all the power the state can muster – regardless of the “rules” of its own designers.