Chris Cuomo on pandemic restrictions: Look, protesting is more urgent than going to church

Chris Cuomo on pandemic restrictions: Look, protesting is more urgent than going to church

Probably the only good news to come out of the COVID pandemic is that it’s finally settled, once and for all, the long debate over which Cuomo brother is the worst. It has to be Andrew, right?

I mean, no matter how stupid Chris sounds on the air, at least he hasn’t killed anyone.

Although, ironically, it also makes his “Fredo” nickname seem more apt. He’s dopey but harmless. It’s his brother, the guy in charge, who ends up ordering a hit on 6,000 senior citizens at the end of the movie.

Look at it this way. As bad as Chris’s logic is here, he’s describing Andrew’s actual policy. With one brother, this is nothing more than a brain fart let loose on the air at CNN. With the other, it’s the law of the land in New York State. Or it was, until a federal judge struck it down as unconstitutional.

“I feel badly for [Charlie Kirk] that he believes that that’s the world he lives in, that he’s being kept from going to church. Why? Because of a pandemic,” Cuomo said. “I want to go to church. I miss going to church. I understand there’s a pandemic. You know who else does? My priest understands it.”

Cuomo then evoked a common conservative talking point, which is to point out the hypocrisy of supporting protesters who take to the streets while banning things such as going to church.

“One has nothing to do with the other. You are dealing with people who are responding in this country to outrageous acts of social injustice,” Cuomo said. “To say, ‘Oh it’s the same as going to church,’ no, it isn’t.”…

“If you told people they couldn’t protest, if you invoked martial law about these types of situations, you would have chaos,” Cuomo said.

There were indeed people being kept from going to church by Andrew Cuomo in New York, at least at the time and day that they’re used to. Two months ago a federal judge found that his order limiting houses of worship, uniquely, to 25 percent capacity was discriminatory given that retail shops were being allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. Worse, Cuomo slapped a limit on outdoor religious gatherings at the same time that he and America’s worst mayor were defending the right of BLM protesters to gather en masse for rallies. It wasn’t a question of which activity was more urgent or important, the court reasoned. It was a question of whether there was any compelling reason to draw one set of rules for people exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and another for people exercising their First Amendment right to practice their religion.

Woke epidemiologists tried to make a point similar to Cuomo’s last month about the supposedly unusual urgency of the protests. They framed their argument, dubiously, in terms of public health. Whereas religion and other freedoms could be back-burnered in the name of limiting community spread of COVID, they claimed, racism was so threatening to black Americans’ health that it simply had to be protested right now — in the form of huge mass gatherings, no less — as a higher priority than containing a once-in-a-century killer virus. Question: If scientists could prove that a protest crowd of, say, 1,000 people would end up seeding chains of transmission resulting in 50,000 coronavirus cases, would Cuomo deem that a price worth paying to have that protest happen? What about 100,000 cases?

That’s not as unlikely as it seems. A new study shows that a conference in Massachusetts attended by some 175 people at the end of February, just as COVID was lifting off in the U.S., eventually produced 20,000 cases of the disease and spread the virus to places as far-flung as Singapore and Slovakia, not to mention other U.S. states. We limited church gatherings in order to reduce the risk of further superspreader events like that. What makes protests so important that we should run that risk, or a bigger risk, in their case?

And what does he mean about “martial law” and “chaos”? If his point is simply that you can’t physically restrain people from turning out in the streets to protest an injustice, true enough. But you can certainly discourage it instead of cheerleading it like de Blasio and Cuomo’s dopey brother did. If anything, Cuomo is incentivizing religious believers here to emulate BLM protesters by taking to the streets en masse themselves, in the expectation that authorities will just have to roll with what they want to do in lieu of declaring “martial law.” Essentially, he’s calling believers chumps for actually complying with the governor’s rules.

If 50,000 Christians had decided to turn out for an open-air Sunday service in Central Park in the middle of June against Andrew Cuomo’s wishes, what would the reaction to that gathering have been on CNN, specifically during Chris’s 9 p.m. hour? Faith is crucially important for many people; it’s not like worshippers would have flouted the restrictions for something as frivolous as a block party. Would Chris have supported that on grounds that “chaos” might result if authorities tried to prevent it?

If not, then he’s telling people that BLM protests are not only more important than religious worship — an unintended commentary on wokeness as faith — but that they’re so important they get a singular carve-out from pandemic restrictions.

Exit question: If 50,000 people show up in Times Square tomorrow, packed closely together, to protest the wave of looting, rioting, and arson that’s hit multiple American cities, including New York, how do we think the Cuomo boys would feel about that vis-a-vis COVID rules? Looting is an “injustice” too, after all.

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