The Supreme Court and Your Freedoms

iVoterGuide: ‘The Court’s Opinion Affirms Why Freedom of Religion is the First Right Listed in the First Amendment’

December 21, 2020

AUSTIN, Texas — Last week,SCOTUS gave temporary victories to a Colorado church and New Jersey religious leaders that challenged their respective state coronavirus restrictions on the number of people allowed at prayer services, vacating lower court rulings and calling for the cases to be reconsidered after the court shot down similar prohibitions in New York.

In response to these rulings, iVoterGuide president Debbie Wuthnow stated, “Our founding fathers recognized that God is the source of our freedoms, and therefore religion and morality are cornerstones of a free society. Because a person’s beliefs dictate his actions, religion is a key component to securing a stable society. In contrast to our founders, many elected officials today only pay lip service to religion, while consigning it to a lower tier of protection. The Court’s opinion affirms why freedom of religion is the first right listed in the First Amendment.”

In the Colorado case, the High Plains Harvest Church sought an injunction against the state’s limits on the number of people allowed at services and the Supreme Court granted the relief in a 6-3 decision.

In the New Jersey case, the Supreme Court similarly vacated an October District Court ruling, instructing the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to send the case back to the District Court for reconsideration in light of the New York case.

In the New York case, the religious groups claimed that Gov. Andrew Cuomo unfairly targeted religion by holding services and houses of worship to a stricter standard than other “essential” services and businesses.

“The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty,” the court’s ruling in that case said.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a scathing opinion regarding Cuomo’s prohibitions. “[I]t turns out the businesses the Governor considers essential include hardware stores, acupuncturists, and liquor stores,” Gorsuch wrote. “Bicycle repair shops, certain signage companies, accountants, lawyers, and insurance agents are all essential too. So, at least according to the Governor, it may be unsafe to go to church, but it is always fine to pick up another bottle of wine, shop for a new bike, or spend the afternoon exploring your distal points and meridians. Who knew public health would so perfectly align with secular convenience?”

iVoterGuide is a one-stop resource for candidate ratings and election information. In 2020, iVoterGuide’s expert researchers gave an in-depth analysis —and overall rating— from a Christian and conservative perspective for 7,500+ candidates in more than 3,000 races nationwide.  Additionally, iVoterGuide offers election dates, registration deadlines, polling locations, and other information needed to help Americans vote wisely and identify candidates on the ballot who share their values. Related tools are also available to inform family, neighbors, and business associates about getting their own personalized ballots. iVoterGuide is helping to restore the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and traditional American values.

View the media page for iVoterGuide here. For more information on iVoterGuide, visit ivoterguide.com or follow iVoterGuide on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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To interview a representative from iVoterGuide, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.