By Jerry Bowyer, Crosswalk.com
The problem with the Statista map below is that it looks more cultural/political than it should. Bottom line: public safety is a government function. Church buildings must comply with building codes, for example. Church vans are limited by the speed limit same as any other vehicle. The churches distinct zone of authority is not primarily expressed in physical plant but rather in zone of authority. The clergy's authority is not limited to the church building. Pastors have authority over the spiritual life of members both in and out of the building. But civil authority over crime and public safety is also now limited by physical location. Magistrates have authority over matters of civil order inside the church building as well as outside. Fire Marshal trumps pastor when it comes to building occupancy even in the church building. The magistrate too is a minister of God with authority from Him.
But when cultural bias causes governors who are religiously or politically unsympathetic to churches to shut down the use of those buildings, they are no longer functioning as God-ordained ministers protecting the lives of their citizens.
For example, look at California versus South Carolina and Florida:
“According to a Pew Research Center analysisof recent state-level regulations, in-person religious services and gatherings are still continuing in many U.S. states. In fact, only 10 states have forbidden such gatherings in any form and California is one of them. That prompted legal action against Gov. Gavin Newsom by a group of churches who claim their First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is being infringed upon.
"Other states, including South Carolina and Florida, have deemed religious services essential alongside supermarkets and healthcare infrastructure. A total of 15 states have allowed religious gatherings to continue without any restrictions on their size while another 22 have said that they can go ahead if they are limited to 10 people or less. The CDC has recommended the cancellation of gatherings of 10 people or more and that if they do occur, a distance of at least 6 feet should be maintained between participants."
We should not have a map in which the most secular states are most likely to be orange. In my experience, religious people understand the views of secular people more than secular people understand the views of religious ones. We swim in a pop culture ocean (or is it swamp?) that is largely secular. This means that the cosmopolitans are actually pretty parochial when it comes to religion. They just don't 'get it' and therefore they don't see how life sustaining the institution is.