Kentucky to Quarantine Easter Churchgoers

Rand Paul still doesn't get it.

You might think everyone would have figured out the necessity for social distancing this far into the COVID-19 pandemic. You would be wrong.

NBC News (“Kentucky gov. announces mandatory quarantine for anyone who attends Easter services“):

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear implored residents to avoid gathering this weekend for the Easter holiday, warning that anyone who violates the state’s stay-at-home order will be subject to a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine.

Beshear said the state will record license plate information of people seen attending mass gatherings and turn that information over to local public health officials. Quarantine notices will then be delivered in person.

The announcement was made on Good Friday, one of the holidays leading into Easter Sunday.

“I hope everybody knows that even on a weekend like this we cannot have in-person gatherings of any type,” Beshear said, adding that at least seven churches in the state are still considering whether to hold Easter services.

“We absolutely cannot bring people together in one building like that because that is how the coronavirus spreads, and that’s how people die,” Beshear said.

Why not just order the churches closed? He has. Some are apparently “considering” opening anyway. Meanwhile,

All mosques and synagogues throughout Kentucky previously closed and none intend to hold services this weekend, according to the governor.

So there’s that.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s most prominent idiot has spoken up:

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican who is recovering from coronavirus, criticized Beshear’s order in a tweet.

“Taking license plates at church? Quarantining someone for being Christian on Easter Sunday? Someone needs to take a step back here,” Paul tweeted.

Being Christian on Easter Sunday will almost certainly not be a problem, especially in Kentucky. Recklessly risking the lives of your fellow Kentuckians, apparently, is a different story.

But Beshear, a Democrat, said “it’s not fair” for some people to violate the state’s stay-at-home order and risk spreading COVID-19 to others who are following the directive.

“This is just an example of personal responsibility,” Beshear said.

Oddly, Rand Paul used to talk a lot about personal responsibility. But, of course, he’s the same guy who was spreading the coronavirus around the Senate gym and cafeteria because, well, why not?

Meanwhile, 18,761 Americans are dead from the disease. Only 90 of them are from Kentucky. Beshear would like to keep it that way. Paul, apparently, not so much.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Libertarianism in America is nothing more than three-year-old toddlerism, foot stomping and screaming “You’re not the boss of me!!!” Notice how quiet most of them have been lately? So thanks, Senator, for reminding intelligent people how over-rated you are and how coasting on a father’s name doesn’t mean much.

  2. Teve says:

    Ted Cruz is tweeting that Democrats are persecuting Christians.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    I find it easy to sympathize with the neighbor who blind-sided Paul. Apparently being an ass isn’t just an act for the base.

    @Teve: Of course he is.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Remember when persecuting Christians meant feeding them to the lions? Now, trying to keep them from killing themselves and those they love equals persecution.

  5. de stijl says:

    Paul just came out of quarantine.

    He should know better.


    I’m not a Christian and I know this stuff better than these idiots do.

    Yesterday, Trump wished someone a “Happy” Good Friday. Seriously.

    There is a 100% chance that Trump has no idea what Good Friday represents. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Purportedly for our collective sins.

    Self identifying Conservative Christians voted for this man at something like 85-15. It’s astonishing. He is inadvertently mocking their faith through ignorance, yet he’s their guy.

    It’s as if they are more attuned to earthly, temporary rewards rather than that which is promised in heaven.

  6. de stijl says:

    I am not immune.

    I once wished someone a “Happy” Yom Kippur. She corrected me quite giddily. She was cool about it, but let me know how wrong and ignorant I was.

    Thereafter, I determined to research religious holidays before I opened my ignorant mouth again.

  7. Kari Q says:

    @de stijl:

    You mean it isn’t Happy Crucification Day? Is it Merry then? (Sarcasm)

    I said to a Jewish friend once “It’s not happy Yom Kippur, is it?” and she laughed like crazy and still tells her friends about it to this day. At least I provided entertainment value.

  8. CSK says:

    @de stijl: @Kari Q:
    I think when Trump says something incredibly stupid such as “Happy Good Friday!” Cult45 just pretends he didn’t. And if you point it out to them, they fly into a rage at you.

  9. charon says:

    Happy Good Friday!

    Other languages call it Holy Friday.

    In English “good” has an archaic usage as a synonym for “holy,” – Holy Friday being what “Good Friday” really is.

  10. de stijl says:

    @Kari Q:

    Cruxification took a day or two to kill you. Exposure and asphyixia. It was torture and meant as such.

    Most Roman cruxifictions were on an X rather than a T configuration of the timber. Easier to construct and much more stable.

    Roman ethics and morals are fascinating because they are so alien to modern day brains.

    BTW, that “Christians to the lions” thing would have been like the second card even the opening bout event in a proper arena.

    Roman society was routinely brutal to Others.

  11. de stijl says:

    Good from Old Germanic. Friday from Old Norse (Freyja or Frigg day).

    Most latinate languages call Friday some form of Venus Day.

    Etymology is fascinating.

    Do all languages that are predominantly latinate say the equivalent of “Holy Friday”?

  12. Kari Q says:

    @de stijl:

    I recall reading that death from crucifixion could take up to three days and asphyxiation was usually the final cause of death. Quite a different society and way of thought.

    Roman society was routinely brutal to Others.

    As were most societies at the time. The Romans, if I recall correctly, were actually somewhat less brutal than most and unusually open to bringing people into their society.

  13. de stijl says:

    English day names:

    Monday – day of the moon (Old English)
    Tuesday – Tiw’s day (Old Norse into Old English)
    Wednesday – Wodan’s day same as above
    Thursday – Thor’s day also same as above
    Friday – Freyja or Frigg’s day also also same as above. Rebecca Black just self-identified as queer, btw.
    Saturday – Saturn’s day (Latin to West Germanic)
    Sunday – Sun’s day (Latin to Old English)

    There is distinct difference between latinate day names and English ones.

  14. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Actually in the Charismtic (A subset of evangelicals) strain of Christianity it is “Happy” Good Friday. The concept of substitutionary atonement allows that both the death and resurrection of Christ are equally celebrated and distinct and complementary factors that add up to the eternal life promised to Believers.

    Also as an aside, there is also a distinction in the Evangelical strain between Christians and “Churchians”. The former understanding “the Church” in the context of the Greek and Jewish roots of the word to mean “the Assembly”…in other words the People are “The Church”. The former, often forsake the Hebraic and Greek roots of the faith and conceptualize their faith in terms of 19th-modern western European and American culture–which has the effect of leading them to wooden literal interpretations of almost every subject in their Bible. So for these people, going to a brick and mortar building and conducting service is the only efficacious form worship they can allow for. This lockdown is APREVENTING THEM FROM ACTIVELY WORSHIPING THEIR GOD. I would add that they believe this in spite of the Bibles clear revelation that the Spirit of God does not “live in Temples built by human hands…”

    To me, its fair to say that Churchians vastly outnumber Christians..which is why the Dalai Lama could (accurately) state that the worst ambassadors for Christ were actually Christians. It actually wasn’t always that way…there was quite a bit of debate amongst the early Church Fathers about whether the Faith was “come as you are” or would one have to demonstrate tangible works before being acknowledged as part of the Flock.

  15. de stijl says:

    This will sound like Western religious tourism, but Hindus have the best festivals and holy days.

    1. They have a huge pantheon. Monotheism has Good vs. Bad. Pantheistic religions are much more subtle. Good guys have faults, bad guys have noble intentions. Some of them have many arms to smite you, but she also has her good points.

    2. As an outsider, I love the concept of Holi. Dance, fun, toss dyes on one another.

  16. de stijl says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    In the acts vs. faith debate, I fall squarely in the acts camp, myself.

    If you believe something you need to show it by deeds.

  17. de stijl says:

    Monotheism shapes a culture into a black and white reckoning of threats.

    Into a B&W take on most things.

    Most problematically in us vs. Them scenarios.

    Infidels, heresy, all sorts of foolishness.

  18. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    toss dyes on one another

    The American version of this is using a mock AR.

  19. de stijl says:


    Libya has a national holiday called Italian Evacuation Day.

    That is fabulous and so awesome.

  20. de stijl says:

    @Kari Q:

    Rome was brilliant in that they openly were religiously tolerant of lands and peoples they’d conquered.

    Pay taxes, provide suitable young men as soldiers, and we’re super cool. We will erect a shrine to Ceres in your town as you are a grain growing region. Mess with that and we will kill you.

    Dudes were brutal. Arguably, extremely pragmatic.

  21. de stijl says:

    The Romans just ripped off the Greeks of Hellenistic religion and gave their gods a new name and sometimes a new skin.

    One to one analogs with a new name. Shameless. Efficient.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:
  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: That’s where the Catholic Church learned it.

  24. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @de stijl: That was also the Apostle Peter’s take when he stated that “Faith without works is dead…” My interpretation is that “believing” is not the same as mental assent of some fact or facts. It is in fact a way of moving within human terrain, society, and personal relationships that acknowledges and confirms the believers mental assent of certain realities. Shorter version–belief is a validation exercise and not an acceptance event as most Christians are generally taught.

  25. Mu Yixiao says:

    Step outside of the current crisis and look at this from a Constitutional perspective.

    The government is prohibiting persons from “peacefully gathering” and “practicing their religion”.

    I–100%–think that people should be “attending” Easter Mass (sorry, I was raised Catholic) via YouTube, TV, radio, or whatever other options there are. But I have serious issues with the government detaining people who choose to gather and celebrate the most important holy day of their religion.

    I spent 6 years in a county that uses “for the good of the people” as a blank check for authoritarianism.

    I bristle every time I hear that excuse used here.

  26. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    But I have serious issues with the government detaining people who choose to gather and celebrate the most important holy day of their religion.

    Let’s actually look at the constitution:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

    Check. Congress isn’t doing that.

    or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    Check. Congress isn’t doing that. Neither is local government.

    or abridging the freedom of speech,
    Check again. Congress isn’t doing that.

    or of the press;

    Check again. No issues here.

    or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,
    Check. Local governments have no such restrictions, and the Supreme Court has ruled, repeatedly that the 1st Amendment is not absolute. Why should churches get a pass from the current situation? Why not schools? Why not beaches. I, for one, would like to peaceably assemble at the beach with friends to have a political rally. Why can’t I do that?

    and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    Check again.

    This is a secular country. Why should religion get any exemptions that allowed to other entities?

  27. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Government is saying that your right to gather peaceably with others of your faith is prohibited for a short time because there is a large possibility that it will infect you and that you will also infect your family.

    If you choose to do so, please self quarantine for at least 15 days. No grocery run, no beer run. You violated the rules. I will shun you socially. I will call you out as a rule breaker.

    At this point, I give zero shits about about your qualms. Do not infect me or mine.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I wouldn’t say “need” as much as I would hold that what we really believe will reveal itself by the actions that reflect our values. Of course, the sticking point on that is that we tend to value more than one thing and that some of our baser values are longer held and sometimes have more pull than our more enlightened ones. Having faith is easy. Living that faith on a consistent day-to-day basis is more problematical. Particularly when the standard is “sinned against you in thought word and deed by what we have done and what we have left undone” and the measuring tool is “love God with our whole heart and love our neighbors as ourselves.”

  29. jim carter says:

    While I detest the abuse of authority exercised by the federal government, and the state, I see no one using the police power of a state to protect their citizens as justification for —suggesting—-stay at home.

    Police have a duty to protect one citizen from the hostile actions of another. A drunk driver is a menace to my family; a burglar is a threat to my possessions.

  30. grumpy realist says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The Constitutionality of quarantines has already been judged upon.

    You lose.

  31. KM says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    But I have serious issues with the government detaining people who choose to gather and celebrate the most important holy day of their religion.

    I say this as a person of faith who was looking forward to attending services in my grandmother’s church this year – the government is doing the right thing here. You do NOT have the right as a religious person to harm another and not acknowledging it as “harm” doesn’t negate it. The classic example is human sacrifice not being allowed even if it’s a tenet of a faith; you don’t get to kill people then use God to get a pass.

    They are being allowed to gather, despite it being an frankly stupid idea that will lead to deaths because this is America and we respect religion. Religion needs to respect America back and agree to self-isolate if they choose to engage in high-risk behavior. It’s a two-way street, after all. Religion has a duty to the country and the Bill of Rights as part of the social contract; they don’t get to do whatever the hell they want and secular society is just supposed to take it. Secular society as embodied in science and medicine reluctantly agrees to respect this madness as religious rights….. only for religion to $@&* all over secular society crying tyranny by being expected to keep their now-potentially infected selves indoors for a time as a fair compromise. In other words, religion is the one not being reasonable here.

    It’s not authoritarianism, it’s secular society reminding religion they’re not the boss here – they’re among equals and will be treated as such. You get exposed, you go into isolation to not spread disease. How you got exposed is irrelevant at this point. If they can’t function in a society that is trying hard to make reasonable accommodations for unreasonable behavior in trying times, that’s their problem. We’ve got bigger concerns then their pity party.