During a press conference on Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, boasted about the lowering rate of novel coronavirus cases in the state while seemingly taking a jab at the faithful.
“The number is down because we brought the number down,” he told reporters Monday. “God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that.”
“A lot of pain and suffering did that,” the Democrat continued. “That’s how it works. It’s math. And if you don’t continue to do that, you’re going to see that number go back up. And that will be a tragedy if that number goes back up.”
The remarks come as leaders across the nation clamp down on the faithful. Some mayors, for example, have even banned drive-in church services, suggesting they somehow violate “social distancing” measures.
Far-left New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, showcasing another example of religious hostility, threatened to close down houses of worship permanently if they do not abide by his lockdown measures.
The hostility caught the eye of Attorney General Bill Barr, who issued guidance on Tuesday warning leaders to stop targeting the faithful.
“[E]ven in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers,” Barr said in a statement. “Thus, government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity.”
The Hill reported: “Barr added that the Justice Department filed a memo in support of a Mississippi church after congregants were fined $500 per person for attending its parking lot services. The Justice Department suggested in its filing that the city of Greenville, where the church is located, singled out the religious services after it declined to issue similar penalties on those attending nearby drive-in restaurants.”
“As we explain in the Statement of Interest, where a state has not acted evenhandedly, it must have a compelling reason to impose restrictions on places of worship and must ensure that those restrictions are narrowly tailored to advance its compelling interest,” continued Barr’s statement.
The AG added: “The United States Department of Justice will continue to ensure that religious freedom remains protected if any state or local government, in their response to COVID-19, singles out, targets, or discriminates against any house of worship for special restrictions.”
Gov. Cuomo has a track record of what’s been at least perceived as a hostile commentary and actions toward faithful conservatives.
For example, the Democrat celebrated an abortion-till-birth law by lighting up buildings pink, adding insult to injury for those who opposed the bill, including vocal faith leaders and followers.
Moreover, in 2014, Cuomo suggested conservatives, including the “Right to Life” groups by-name, leave the state of New York if they do no like his liberal policies.
“Their [conservatives] problem isn’t me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves,” he said at the time, adding, “Who are they? Right to life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay — if that’s who they are, they have no place in the state of New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”