Star Parker: Pandemic v. Protestors

Decent Americans who are feeling perplexed today shouldn’t be ashamed about it. There is good reason to be perplexed.

On the one hand, in the name of health and safety, we are being asked by government to compromise personal freedoms that we have always taken for granted: going to work, going to church, sending our children off to school, meeting our friends in our favorite restaurant.

We walk around wearing annoying masks and try to respect social distancing limits.

But decent Americans are perplexed because we would expect that allowing more government into our personal space would happen uniformly, that in allowing more government, we are all sacrificing together for some greater good, some greater necessity.

But instead, we look around and see chaos. We see no uniformity.

Protests, often violent, are sweeping our cities. The same public officials who tell us to keep our kids at home; who tell us to not pray in church, as we have always prayed; who limit our places of work and livelihood look the other way, often with approval, as hooligans tear apart our cities.

Greater demands from government should mean increasing respect for the law.

But we’re seeing the opposite: government making more demands while disrespect for the law increases across the nation.

We just saw a decision in the nation’s Supreme Court where a Nevada church petition to be treated equally to Nevada’s casinos regarding COVID-19 attendance limits was rejected with no explanation.

Justice Samuel Alito got to the heart of the matter in his dissenting opinion, saying: “For months now, States and their subdivisions, have responded to the pandemic by imposing unprecedented restrictions on personal liberty, including free exercise of religion. … Now four months have passed since the original declaration. The problem is no longer one of exigency, but one of considered yet discriminatory treatment of places of worship.”

“Calvary Chapel has also brought to our attention,” continued Alito, “evidence that the Governor has favored certain speakers over others. When large numbers of protestors openly violated provisions of the Directive, such as the rule against groups of more than 50 people, the Governor not only declined to enforce the directive but publicly supported and participated in a protest.”

I am looking at a photograph of a mass of protestors marching, shoulder to shoulder, through the streets of Oakland, California, this in the same state that is limiting church attendance to 25% capacity and prohibiting singing in church.

In May, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge by South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, to the state’s restrictions on church attendance. Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted in his dissent that secular businesses like supermarkets, restaurants and hair salons are not subject to the same restrictions as houses of worship.

A group of Orthodox Jewish Americans sued the New York governor and New York City mayor for lack of uniformity in gathering limits between houses of worship, and secular business activity, protests and demonstrations.

Going hand in hand with the rioting and violence is a nationwide surge in crime.

The Wall Street Journal reports increases in homicides in Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Kansas City.

At the same time, there is violence and damage from protesters in Seattle, Portland and Louisville.

We can’t have a free and civil society without law. And law means nothing if we can’t agree on what the law is and if it is not applied uniformly. Politics needs to follow law. Today’s chaos is symptomatic of law following politics.

Well-intentioned citizens cannot sacrifice their freedom in an environment like this.

We must take the initiative to open our schools, our churches and our businesses.

Amidst the chaos, citizens need to take control of their own lives. They have a civic duty to do it. It will help the nation and its recovery.



Star Parker is the founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and author of the new book “Necessary Noise: How Donald Trump Inflames the Culture War and Why This is Good News for America,” available now at

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  1. Sandsgrandmother

    Correct, we can not have a free and civil society without law, but when the law fails, then what is occurring now is what happens. We have a set of laws for the ordinary citizen, but we have two more levels of rules/laws that are different for the government, it’s departments and agencies that cause the door to open wide for corruption. Until all laws are the very same for ALL, you will always grow in the direction of civil unrest.

    One of the best things that could have occurred was grasping the opportunity to end one of the laws and open the door to a better society was the opportunity to remove immunity for all citizens from the harm they cause, no matter their position in life. When you grant immunity from harm, then the door to corruption expands.

    You need those in courts no matter the level of court system able to hold those who harm no matter the position in life to hand out just as harsh a punishment as if everyone comes from the same level of society no matter their names, connections, etc. Sad to say with the destruction patterns of certain people instead of being focused on changing things for the better , we are seeing a certain level of gratification coming from destruction they are causing which consequently ends opportunity to make better laws.

    Our laws have failed us significantly, and it goes hand in hand with our politicians; rather, they are Democrat, Republican, etc.

    • Sandsgrandmother- Amen to that. We can no longer vilify our opposing party while ignoring the wrongdoing of our own. We must all hold corrupt politicians accountable no matter whose side they are on. If they would lie, cheat, and steal from others, they will do the same to those of us foolish enough to support them.