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Religious Freedom and COVID-19

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Lawsuits have been filed by some religious groups because of certain restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19. One obvious concern about these lawsuits is that churches have been among the super spreaders of COVID-19. The spreading, obviously, has nothing to do with religion but with people holding in person gatherings without masks and then going out into the general community. An interesting consideration is that while politicians have made a religious freedom issue out of the COVID restrictions, most Americans (including religious Americans) do not see these restrictions as a threat to religious freedom.  As such, one might be inclined to speculate about the motives behind these lawsuits. Those who like political conspiracy might suspect that these lawsuits are aimed at helping Trump’s re-election chances by feeding his COVID narrative. Those who like a darker sort of conspiracy might turn to a horror-story style narrative: perhaps a secret sect that believes they have a role in the apocalypse by serving to rouse Pestilence (the horseman of the apocalypse). These conspiracy theories should, perhaps, be seen as crazy as the Plandemic conspiracy theory and dismissed out of hand. The most charitable speculation about motivation would, of course, be that the lawsuits are being brought because of a sincere and honest concern about violations of religious freedom by certain states. While motivations do matter morally and impact credibility, they have no bearing on the truth of a claim. As such, even if those claiming COVID restrictions violate religious liberty have nefarious motives, this has no relevance to the truth of their claim. To think otherwise would be to fall into an ad hominem fallacy (a fallacy in which some alleged defect in the person making the claim disproves the claim). So, the issue is whether COVID-19 restrictions violate religious freedom. I will focus on the moral issue and leave the legal issue to the courts. As a starting point, I will make. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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