If Liquor Stores Are Essential, Why Isn’t Church?

(This op-ed was first published in The New York Times on April 21, 2020.)

The new conundrums created by the coronavirus can be addressed by some very old materials: the principles of the First Amendment.

Illustration of people in white medical face masks. Concept of coronavirus quarantine vector illustration.

Churches and synagogues were tragically empty two weekends ago, among the holiest days of the year for America’s Christians and Jews. With few exceptions, the nation’s faithful found solace via computer screens and in solitary prayer, acquiescing to restrictions on their constitutional liberty that would have seemed unthinkable a few months ago.

But many are asking: How long must this go on? America was founded in no small part so that people of every creed and conviction could worship without hindrance, in accordance with conscience and tradition.

(Continue reading the op-ed on The New York Times’ page here.)

Michael McConnell is a law professor and director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School. Max Raskin is an adjunct professor of law at New York University.