These are the best and worst American states to live in during the current crisis
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January 26, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – As the Biden regime teases another national lockdown and Americans worry about their civil liberties and the basic right to peaceably assemble, the divide between blue and red states is becoming increasingly obvious. The following is a list of what I think are some of the best and worst states for pro-life Catholics and freedom-loving Americans, based on the availability of the Sacraments in the traditional rites, homeschooling laws, and coronavirus regulations.
These rankings are based on publicly available data and anecdotal information. This list should also not be taken as suggesting that these are the only good or easy places to live as a Catholic or pro-lifer; in addition to the need to evangelize rabidly secular places, many people are unable to relocate because of jobs or family. And of course, even in the darkest of places, there are still little pockets of light where families can carve out a safe community, live the faith, and educate their children. There are also likely some big positives to living in states not on this list.
Best: South Dakota, Florida, and Idaho
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has made a name for herself as a rising star in the GOP. She never shut down her state because of the coronavirus outbreak. There is no statewide “mask mandate” (although individual businesses and local jurisdictions, as is the case all around the country, try to force people to wear masks) and the economy is thriving.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) rates South Dakota as a state with “moderate regulation” related to homeschooling.
Rapid City is home to a Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) parish.
The most notable negative aspect of living in South Dakota is likely the frigid winter weather.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has also made a name for himself as a staunchly conservative governor. The Sunshine State has gone from being a swing state to at least light red, voting solidly for President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. DeSantis has vowed to never lock down his state again and refused to force his citizens to mask their faces (although, as is the case everywhere, some businesses and local jurisdictions try to do this anyway).
There is also beautiful weather and no state income tax.
There are seven Fraternity of St. Peter and eight Society of St. Pius X parishes or outposts that offer the Traditional Latin Mass, as well as some diocesan parishes that do. Ave Maria, a heavily Catholic town in southwest Florida around which Ave Maria University is situated, has also become something of a conservative haven.
Negative aspects of Florida life include hurricanes, humidity, and Catholic schools run by dioceses forcing students to receive vaccines derived from or even containing murdered unborn children.
The HSLDA rates Florida as a state with “moderate regulation” related to homeschooling.
Even before the coronavirus outbreak and social and political unrest of 2020 (and now 2021), Americans were flocking to Idaho.
The state has a large population of traditional Catholics, particularly in Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.
Brandi Swindell, the pro-life activist who founded Stanton Healthcare, described her fellow Idahoans as “rugged, independent, kind, and free to live our lives without government intrusion and extreme regulations.”
Swindell told LifeSiteNews, “As a fourth-generation Idahoan born and raised in Boise, I can attest that Idaho is an incredible state to live in. From the great outdoors to our independent libertarian streak, we are a freedom-loving people.”
“We have a solid pro-life leaning legislature, a vibrant faith community, and a beautiful refugee community that we fully embrace,” explained Swindell. “We are known for our niceness and kind way. People are fleeing liberal run states [and] cities to [come to] Idaho. We are one of the fastest growing states in the nation.”
“However, as with any state, growth can bring change that is not always positive,” she warned, noting that the capital city of Boise recently elected a new radically pro-abortion mayor who cast a vision of “free and accessible” birth control and abortion.
And Planned Parenthood sued Stanton Healthcare for parking its mobile center on Stanton’s own property near their abortion facility (“Thankfully, the judge quickly dismissed the frivolous case,” said Swindell).
Swindell also noted that the Idaho legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, and Congressional delegation “have voiced support for the powerful life-affirming work of Stanton. That is what sets Idaho apart.”
“As a lifelong resident of Idaho, I welcome people of good will moving to my home state because of all we have to offer,” concluded Swindell. “But I worry, along with my fellow Idahoans, that if the values we embrace aren’t honored and respected we could lose what truly make us the ‘Gem State.’”
Another positive element of the state: Idaho’s homeschooling laws are among the least burdensome in the country, according to the HSLDA.
Worst: New York, California, Michigan, Oregon, Washington state, and Washington, D.C.
New York, California, and Michigan are all ruled by far-left governors who have presided over some of the country’s strictest lockdowns and worst coronavirus outcomes. Out-of-state travelers to New York must produce a negative COVID-19 test and then quarantine for three days anyway, although it’s unclear how strictly this is enforced.
The New York legislature is also considering a bill that would allow health officials to detain “suspected” disease carriers for 60 days and force them to receive vaccines and “preventive medication.” Bill A416 would enable the governor or his “delegees,” “including, but not limited to the commissioner or the heads of local health departments” to “order the removal and/or detention” of anyone who “presents a potential danger to the health of others,” in officials’ estimation.
Notably, the provisions in Bill A416 apply not only for COVID-19 but for any “illnesses that may pose a threat to the public health,” in the event that the governor declares “a state health emergency.”
Criteria used by left-wing governors to declare health emergencies have grown increasingly subjective during the COVID-19 crisis, with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer naming “racism” a public health crisis in April, for example.
I put Oregon and Washington state on the list mostly because their big cities are plagued by Antifa riots and far-left policies.
California’s lockdown has allowed strip clubs to remain open but forced churches to close. Its leaders, like pretty much all left-wing rulers, have shown themselves to be total hypocrites who flout their own “stay-at-home” and anti-restaurant rules. The state is a bastion of Communist-socialist-Democrat policies and big government bureaucracy.
Washington, D.C., meanwhile, has been transformed into what is essentially a warzone, with military checkpoints in the streets and citizens asked to show their “papers,” and a heavy national guard presence expected to last at least until March.
President Joe Biden has also signed an executive order mandating anyone on federal property cover his or face with a mask. Practically speaking, that’s basically all of D.C. (Granted, the federal government owns a lot of land in free states, too, but it’s unclear how a lone Grand Canyon hiker would get dinged for showing his face.) D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s coronavirus policies have similarly been nonsensical and seemingly politically motivated, and have notably not seemed to apply to the Black Lives Matter rioters for whom she named the plaza outside the White House.
Honorable mentions: Texas, Missouri, and Kansas
I couldn’t bring myself to put Texas on the list of best states to live in because Gov. Greg Abbott has not been good on forced masks and the state has arguably some of the worst patient and parental rights laws in the country. These laws allow anyone deemed “brain dead” by doctors to have life support and care removed immediately. They also allow anyone not “brain dead” but on life support (even a patient on dialysis, who is able to talk and do “normal” things) to have that support removed by a hospital. Families are given 10 days to find a facility willing to take their loved ones, or the plug is pulled.
However, the “spirit” of the people of Texas is definitely freedom-minded. Pro-life activist and filmmaker Jason Jones moved his family from Hawaii to Texas in 2020 because of the coronavirus lockdown. (Hawaii should probably be on a “dishonorable mention” list; the state has basically been destroyed by lockdowns.)
“In late June it became clear to me that Hawaii would continue indefinitely with their ham-fisted thoughtless lockdown, which included 14-day quarantines for returning residents,” Jones told LifeSiteNews, explaining he made the choice “to relocate my organization Movie to Movement and my family to the mainland. Our movie Divided Hearts of America was scheduled for release in the fall and I would have to travel for the film and its promotion. I was also concerned about Hawaii’s food security.”
The famed filmmaker added, “Transnational trade agreements decimated our local agriculture industry and our dependence on shipping for our food exacerbated by the failure of our political leaders to give Hawaii an exception to the Jones Act [make] the people of Hawaii very vulnerable. I decided to deploy to the mainland to continue the mission of Movie to Movement to promote a culture of life while also continuing to advocate for the people of Hawaii.”
The traditional sacraments are available in parts of Texas, and there’s at least one good bishop, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler. Homeschooling laws are pretty lax. There’s also been a left-wing effort underway to “turn Texas blue,” which because of the electoral college would completely change every future presidential election in favor of the left. So, there’s a need for more conservatives to be in Texas. Texas Right to Life has also been working for years to scrap the Lone Star State’s 10-day rule and brain-death law.
Missouri has a freedom-loving undercurrent and some of the least burdensome homeschooling regulations in the country. Gov. Michael Parsons has delegated some coronavirus/shutdown decision-making to counties rather than enacting a centralized approach. Missouri is also the only state without an operating abortion facility right now.
The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, are famous for their music after recording several CDs of traditional Catholic chants and hymns. The community is located in Gower, north of Kansas City.
There is an oratory that is part of the Archdiocese of St. Louis that offers the traditional Sacraments. The Institute of Christ the King’s St. Francis de Sales Oratory, one of the most beautiful traditional Catholic churches in the country, is also in St. Louis, just like the SSPX. The Institute of Christ the King has another oratory on the other side of Missouri, in Kansas City.
And speaking of Kansas: Like Missouri, the people of Kansas seem to have a freedom-loving undercurrent despite their Democrat governor. In Kansas City, Kansas there is an FSSP parish. St. Marys, Kansas (the town does not use an apostrophe in its name) is home to a thriving community of traditional Catholics, most of whom are under the care of the SSPX. The HSLDA rates Kansas as having “low regulation” related to homeschooling.
These lists are by no means exhaustive, and I’m sure there are many other states that are wonderful places to live in as a Catholic. It will be interesting to see where people move in the coming years, and if there continues to be an exodus from liberal states like California and New York.