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BROOKLYN, New York, November 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Religious New Yorkers, both Catholics and Jews, are taking the fight against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s suppression of their right to exercise their religion to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On November 9, the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court, fighting Cuomo’s order to limit the number of people present in houses of worship at any given time to 10 to 25. Two Orthodox Jewish synagogues and their parent organization have now filed suit for the same reason.

In its application, the Diocese of Brooklyn stressed that the governor treats churches and other houses of worship much more harshly than commercial enterprises.

“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York respectfully requests a writ of injunction precluding enforcement of fixed-capacity limits imposed by Governor Cuomo on ‘houses of worship’ — and only ‘houses of worship’ — in designated geographic zones in New York, as applied to the Diocese’s churches,” the lawsuit states.

“The Governor’s latest restrictions cap church attendance at 10 and 25 people in so-called ‘red’ and ‘orange’ zones, respectively, regardless of the capacity of the ‘house of worship,’ and thereby effectively shutter all of the Diocese’s churches in those zones,” it continues.

“His Executive Order, moreover, expressly singles out ‘houses of worship’ by that name for adverse treatment relative to secular businesses, and does so in a way that is not narrowly tailored to any compelling government interest, in direct violation of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.”

The Diocese of Brooklyn argued that there has been no “COVID-19 spread” among its congregations since its churches were allowed to reopen and that thousands of its parishioners in Brooklyn and Queens have been deprived of their right to freely exercise their religion.

Meanwhile, businesses deemed “essential” by Governor Cuomo — including pet stores — have been allowed to stay open “without any capacity restrictions whatsoever” even in the red zones. In the orange zones, most non-essential businesses are allowed to open without capacity restrictions.

There are 1.5 million confessing Catholics within the geographical boundaries of the Diocese of Brooklyn, and the average weekly Mass attendance before the COVID shutdown was 230,000. Reflecting the multicultural population of the diocese, Mass is said in 33 different languages there.

In their lawsuit, Orthodox Jewish applicants Agudath Israel of America, Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills, Agudath Israel of Madison, Rabbi Yisorel Reisman of Agudath Israel of Madison, and Steven Saphirstein, the Secretary of Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills stressed remarks the governor has made targeting their community for suppression.

“The week of October 5, the governor instituted new restrictions designed to target the Orthodox Jewish community; those new rules are the heart of this case,” their lawsuit states.

“During an October 5 press conference, the governor stated that he planned to ‘meet with members of the ultra-Orthodox community tomorrow,’ threatening that ‘we’ll close the (religious) institutions down’ if ‘you do not agree to enforce the rules,’” it continues.

“He falsely claimed that the ‘ultra-Orthodox community’ was causing the ‘problem,’ (…) and described the COVID-19 cluster as ‘predominantly an ultra-orthodox cluster.’ (…) He continued to single out Orthodox Jews for over a week, stating that ‘(w)e’re now having issues in the Orthodox Jewish community in New York, where because of their religious practices, etc., we’re seeing a spread’ (…) and emphasizing that such restrictions are necessary because of “ultra-Orthodox communities, who are also very politically powerful.”

Moreover, the governor’s October 6 “Cluster Initiative,” which targets particular neighborhoods for “enhanced public health restrictions” and levies punitive fines, blatantly made the geographic area where Orthodox Jews live into a restricted zone, the lawsuit argues.

It also records that on October 9 Cuomo stated that “we have a couple of unique clusters, frankly, which are more religious organizations, and that’s what we’re targeting.”

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PETITION UPDATE (8/27/2020)

Thank you for continuing to SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks policymakers at all levels of government to reverse mandatory mask orders within their borders.

Facebook has restored the share link for this petition, saying that the decision to block it was a 'mistake...'

Please share with your Facebook friends, but we should all take heed of this warning: when an organization or individuals have to beg, plead and cajole just to express objective truths, it may be time to start looking for other social networking platforms.

Facebook needs to treat its users with respect, no matter their political persuasion. Moreover, Facebook needs to treat objective reality and facts with more respect.

One-size-fits-all oppressive government mask mandates must stop!

Healthy adults and children should not be forced - by the state - to wear masks when the risk of infection is low and the benefit of wearing a mask is highly questionable.

________________________________________________________________________________________

PETITION UPDATE (8/25/2020)

Facebook is actively censoring this petition, saying that some people find it 'abusive.'

How anyone could find alternate facts about oppressive mask mandates 'abusive' is incredible...that is, impossible to believe.

This is exactly the kind of censorship which Big Tech is getting a bad reputation for.

The fact that Facebook calls differing opinion and objective reality "abusive" says a lot about Facebook and their agenda to silence reason and logic, not just conservatives and Christians.

But, people are more intelligent than Facebook give them credit for.

And, the more this continues, the more reasonable people will look alternate platforms to share their thoughts and connect with their friends and family. The more that happens, the less revenue Facebook will generate.

All of us have a decision to make, and the time is coming where we might have to tell our Facebook friends that we are moving to another platform.

We are encouraging people to continue SIGNING this petition and SHARING it via other platforms such as Parler and Gab, and to share the link below with your family and friends on Whatsapp, Telegram, Threema and Signal.

Thank you!

________________________________________________________________________________________

One-size-fits-all oppressive government mask mandates must stop!

Healthy adults and children should not be forced - by the state - to wear masks when the risk of infection is low and the benefit of wearing a mask is highly questionable.

Please SIGN this petition which asks policymakers at all levels of government to reverse mandatory mask mandates within their borders

Public health policies should be based on science and logic, not on the type of political posturing and virtue-signaling which led Joe Biden to recently call for a national mask mandate.

And, public health policies certainly shouldn't lead to a situation where more people could become sick.

But, that is exactly what these mandatory mask mandates are doing.

Here are four inconvenient facts about masks:

1) Masks** are largely ineffective at stopping the transmission of viruses.

The vast majority of masks worn by the public are made from material which cannot filter-out viruses because virus particles are too small to catch or obstruct.  Wearing cloth masks to stop a virus is like putting a bee in a bird cage to keep it from flying away.

Wearing a mask for long periods of time ensures that the wearer has a warm and moist receptacle around his or her mouth, on which viruses and bacteria can land and accumulate.

Thus, masks are actually likely to have little effect in stopping the spread of COVID-19 acting as a barrier, but could actually make things worse acting as a receptacle.

2) Mandates which call for masks to be worn outdoors are both absurd and oppressive.

3) There are clearly documented hazards of wearing masks for long periods of time.

4) And, since school is on everyone's mind...

Notwithstanding the above information on the ineffectiveness of most masks against viruses, we don't know if asymptomatic children can even transmit the virus.

But, it was a reported in an article in the July 21, 2020 Uk Times that: "There has been no recorded case of a teacher catching the coronavirus from a pupil anywhere in the world, according to one of the UK government's leading scientific advisers."

And, we also know that children are extremely unlikely to get seriously ill or die from COVID infections. In any case, children cannot possibly be expected to wear a mask properly in a way that would cut transmission.

There are still a lot of unknowns about COVID-19, but we have grown in our understanding of this disease since the beginning of the crisis.

The knowledge we have gained should allow government and health authorities to make more nuanced policies than the current one-size-fits-all mask mandates.

Where are the legislative hearings in county commissions, and state, provincial or federal legislatures before these drastic actions are mandated? Where are the open and transparent debates among experts that provide our representatives with the necessary information to make good policy decisions?

The real pandemic is the panic and the resulting tyranny that is being caused by dictatorial governors, corporate media and the monopolistic Big Tech.

The truth is that COVID-19 is like a bad cold for most people; this is not ebola or the plague.

Of course, the very elderly and those with serious health conditions should take precautions or be quarantined, but the rest of society should begin the long process of returning to normality.

The frenzy to force everyone to wear a mask, at all times, has gone beyond all comprehension, and goes against science and logic.

Please SIGN this petition which asks policymakers at all levels of government to reverse any mandatory mask order within the borders of their county, state, province, or country.

Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Explosion in mandatory masking isn’t driven by science, but fear', PART I - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/explosion-in-mandatory-masking-isnt-driven-by-science-but-fear

'Explosion in mandatory masking isn’t driven by science, but fear', PART II - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/explosion-in-mandatory-masking-isnt-driven-by-science-but-fear-part-ii

OSHA Document on Surgical Masks and Respirators stating that surgical masks do NOT prevent airborne particles (e.g. viruses) from being inhaled - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3219.pdf

'PETER HITCHENS: Face masks turn us into voiceless submissives - and it’s not science forcing us to wear them, it’s politics' - https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8537489/PETER-HITCHENS-Face-masks-turn-voiceless-submissives.html

**Here, we are referring to the masks worn by the vast majority of the public, not to specialist masks or respirator-type masks.

***Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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“It is any wonder that religious New Yorkers are now seeking the shelter of the First Amendment?” a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial asked in response.

The WSJ also raised a metaphorical eyebrow at the State of New York’s response to earlier objections that it discriminates against religious believers.

New York says that the capacity limits “are generally applicable and neutral.” Indoor religious gatherings, the filing adds, “commonly possess ‘problematic features’ from an epidemiological perspective,” such as lengthy congregating, mixing of different households, and talking, singing or chanting. The comparable secular activities, the state argues, include concerts and theatrical performances. The state claims it “would have been justified in prohibiting altogether gatherings in houses of worship located in red and orange zones.”

That is some statement.

The WSJ quoted Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s recent description of the COVID emergency as “a sort of constitutional stress test” and his remark that “in certain quarters, religious liberty is fast becoming a disfavored right.”

“Here’s a chance to readjust,” the WSJ declared. “Pet stores: open. Churches: closed. Those might be New York’s priorities, but they aren’t the Constitution’s.”

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