Our very form of existence as the United States of America is based on the idea that the power of government is based on having consent of the governed. In other words we, free citizens, give government the power it has.
Phrased more eloquently, the Declaration of Independence declares:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, …
We are beginning to see damage to trust in public policy and confidence in government. Governors who continue to keep their economies locked up when there is no consent to do so and no justification for doing so are whittling away at that “consent of the governed” concept.
Politicians urgently need to pay attention to this. There is danger of long-term damage which nobody is going to like. More on the risks at the end of this post.
The growing resistance to the harshness of state policies is becoming more visible with each day that passes.
This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.
Many churches planning to open in California on May 31
I just came across this issue in the news. It has been brewing for a couple of weeks.
5/7/20 – San Bernardino Sun – Evangelical church leaders vow to reopen sanctuary doors early in Southern California – A number of churches in Southern California will be resuming worship services on May 31. I recognize several of the quoted pastors as being from churches in my local area.
5/17/20 – Victor Valley Daily Press – Hundreds of churches plan to open this month, likely ahead of state’s schedule – Several state senators and assembly representatives are mentioned along with several high visibility pastors asking the governor to open worship services soon.
Plans are moving forward to have a large number, possibly hundreds, of churches start worshiping on May 31, Pentecost Sunday.
Multiple comments point towards the urgent need for people to connect with their expression of faith, whether it be accomplished in a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque. All of those places of worship are foundational to life for people who gather there.
A letter sent to the governor identifies his orders as being
“…unconstitutional, but more importantly, detrimental to the health and safety of California families.”
Let me rephrase that assertion – Oh, by the way, your orders are in violation of the Constitution. As if that wasn’t a big enough issue, your orders are actually hurting the health of California citizens…
5/13/20 – CBN News (Christian Broadcasting Network) – “Not Asking for Permission”: Hundreds of California Churches Plan to Open May 31 – Article indicates there may be 500 churches planning to open on May 31. Plan would be for them to operate at 25% or 30% of capacity.
Attorney representing the churches has harsh words for the governor. I won’t quote him, but will mention that he is pointing to the governor ignoring the Constitution and holding on to his emergency power as long as he possibly can.
Several quoted pastors point to deteriorating health amongst their parishioners.
Other indicators of evaporating consent
Every few days an article like the following appears:
5/13/20 – Washington Examiner – Sheriff rejects call by Virginia governor to enforce lockdown, cites Constitution – The Culpeper County Sheriff is yet another elected official who somehow has found time to actually read the U.S. constitution (oops, sorry for the sarcasm). He was asked by the district health director to enforce the governor’s order to maintain the lockdown until May 28.
His quoted response:
“My response to that request is that we will not trample the constitutional freedoms of our citizens to enforce an edict of the governor”
The following article is the first I’ve seen along these lines…
5/16/20 – Washington Examiner – California town declares itself “sanctuary city” for businesses, opens up in defiance of stay-at-home order – Atwater, a city in central California voted to let all businesses open up, declaring they are a “sanctuary city.” As has long been established in the state of California, it is acceptable for government entities to declare themselves a sanctuary and then ignore laws of which they do not approve.
Motion by the city reportedly said:
“A resolution of the city council of the city of Atwater affirming the city’s commitment to fundamental rights of life, liberty, and property, and declaring the city of Atwater a sanctuary city for all businesses.”
Further efforts that are eating away at consent of the governed are things like emptying the jails while prohibiting worship services. A flood of news reports describe the details of which this article is a summary:
5/17/20 – Washington Examiner – A third of local county jail inmates released nationwide to stem coronavirus spread – A study by the Prison Policy Initiative calculated that 30% or more of inmates have been released from the typical County jail across the country. Some counties released over 50% of the inmates.
In addition the report cites many police forces are citing, then releasing offenders.
The deeper risk
There is a risk with every additional week the economy is shut down the economic devastation and health destruction will compound at a growing rate.
A more serious danger is that with every week that passes the credibility of government officials shrinks, compliance with the stay-at-home orders drops, and general respect for government fades. Such losses of credibility and respect will not quickly be regained.
It seems to me the deepest danger is the spreading perception that government policies are infringing on constitutional freedoms at the same time as those policies produce visible harm to people’s physical, spiritual, and economic health. Those perceptions will slowly chip away at the legitimacy of government officials. That is not a good place for us to be. Nobody, and I mean nobody at any point on the political spectrum, will like the results if that perception gains widespread traction.