These are harrowing times for all of us, and it is easy to panic. Which is why I’m so thankful we have a Governor who is not making knee-jerk decisions, but is carefully guiding us through this pandemic, weighing all the information along with basic rights. Governor Ron DeSantis purposely waited on issuing the statewide stay-at-home order, preferring local control among counties. And cities. When he did find the need to, his list of essentials that were exempted was broad and wise.
Governor DeSantis clearly understands the serious violation of liberties that are part of the broad actions in other states, even in the moment of a crisis. Maybe the most important is his decision to exempt churches, synagogues and places of worship from the shutdown. The media and others think this was terrible. Hardly! The First Amendment, the very first one, includes freedom of religion and freedom of assembly. It’s disappointing that so many people willingly toss into the iron hands of giant government such fundamental rights. Are we really so willing to abandon the rights that so many Americans died to deliver and protect, just for possible momentary safety in a crisis?
Governor DeSantis was right to exempt them. And the reality was that most all places of worship had already chosen to close their doors. That is how it should be done, by each church, not by the force of government. Wise leaders see and plan beyond momentary hysteria. Governor DeSantis has shown himself wise by ensuring these fundamental rights stay in the hands of Floridians, not the government.