How does that whole "separation of church and state" thing go again? I understand that the government can't tell you who, what, or how to worship, but doesn't it cut both ways? Aren't government officials forbidden from selectively enforcing laws based on their personal religious beliefs? Aren't they bound by the U.S. Constitution?
"By the power vested in me as District Attorney of San Luis Obispo County, I declare San Luis Obispo County a sanctuary county for worship and praise in church," SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow declared on July 4, during a celebration at Sculpterra Winery after Gov. Gavin Newsom—in a continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19—issued a statewide health order forbidding live music, including singing and chanting in church.
"When we're releasing the real criminals into our community but we're trying to criminalize those that are dedicated to exercising their First Amendment rights, we've gone wrong, and I won't allow that to happen in San Luis Obispo County while I'm the District Attorney," Dow intoned, referring to Newsom's release of nonviolent state prisoners with fewer than 12 months remaining on their sentences in a further bid to slow the pandemic.
My first thought concerns Dow's "while I'm the District Attorney" statement. Trust me, Danny-boy, that can be rectified during the next election. My second thought is do you read the news, Dan? How about CDC reports?
"Large gatherings pose a risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission," the CDC stated. "Among 92 attendees at a rural Arkansas church during March 6 through 11, 35 (38 percent) developed laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, and three persons died."
Newsom's order isn't forbidding people from practicing Christianity, only temporarily from singing for their own safety! Dow's pompous statement about refusal to prosecute is an empty political stunt. Get serious! Who's going to police houses of worship? It's going to be complaint driven, just like other infractions of state orders, and step one will be educating those ignoring the orders. The real problem is that Dow's statement is downright dangerous.
By standing up and declaring SLO County a "sanctuary county for worship and praise," he's encouraging people of faith to ignore the state order and put their health at risk. Are you trying to kill off SLO County's Christians, Dan? You monster!
Like SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson and his July 6 address to a North County Tea Party meeting in which he denigrated Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and flouted health orders to wear masks in indoor public spaces and outdoors when social distancing isn't possible, Dow seems to have a terminal case of "tell the people what they want to hear." Both of these elected pols took to heart the "know your audience" lessons in marketing class but seemed to forget—or never learn—ethics, integrity, and their constitutional oath. Guess what, Danian (like Bennifer or Brangelina), you're part of the judicial branch, not the legislative branch. You don't make the laws. You enforce them!
And sweet baby Jesus, Dan, your inconsistent thinking is becoming a public joke! First you post photos on your Facebook account about the July 21 BLM protests that shut down Highway 101, announcing, "This is illegal." Then the city of SLO put out a press release saying the police department worked closely with the DA's Office on its decision to arrest protest organizer Tianna Arata on July 21.
Three days later, the DA's Office tweets about the same event, saying, "Please know that it is premature for the District Attorney's Office to make any determination on the case that is currently being investigated by the San Luis Obispo Police Department of the evidence and make a factual determination of whether criminal charges should be filed in court."
Wait, what? I don't know which side of your mouth to believe.
And Dan, bro, what are you doing with your official SLO County Government website? It's not your personal blog, dude. It's surely not the place to post a religious video in which you double down on your asinine July 4 statement, incongruently bringing up how a million Americans have died defending the First Amendment in war. Are you counting the 258,000 Confederate soldiers who died defending slavery? I mean, jingoism aside, were our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in any way protecting the First Amendment or simply protecting U.S. interests in the Middle East?
And then you—again!—bring up Newsom letting out state prison short-timers, asserting, "It would be in my opinion the very definition of insanity if we simultaneously branded a person of faith as a criminal for singing in their house of worship." Good grief, man! You know as well as I that no one is going to be thrown in state prison for ignoring a state health order! You're grandstanding like an insane wackadoodle!
The bottom line is elected officials like Dan Dow and Ian Parkinson are an embarrassment. They're more interested in telling whoever's in front of them what they want to hear than taking a stand to protect and serve the general public. Be a Christian, be a Jew, a Muslim, a Satanist, an agnostic—be yourself! Just don't listen to these two nitwits. They're interested in your vote, not your safety. Δ
The Shredder hopes you stay safe, sane, and sexy. Send comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.