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Old 05-22-2020, 11:21 PM
Mr Downtown is offline
Chicago Savant
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,543

A constitutional question: Let my people go . . . back to church

It's obvious that a president can't "override" state executive orders in order to reopen churches, mosques, and synagogues. (The Constitution simply doesn't give such "police power" to the federal government.) But it got me thinking about state governors giving preference to churches and letting them open before, say, folk music coffeehouses. It's hard for me to see how that could pass muster with the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, since the distinction is clearly the presence or absence of religious practice.

Yet it seems to me that many zoning ordinances do distinguish between buildings for religious assembly and other businesses where a similar number of persons might assemble in a group. Is it simply a matter of not having been challenged on Establishment Clause grounds, or is my analysis missing something?


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