A friend sent me a column by Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks, dated April 10, 2020, entitled “Sisolak abuses power with church service ban.” I read it with great interest, because I believe the young man is normally very detailed in his editorials but I hate to disagree with him this time.
I want to make clear, as I wrote several weeks ago, that I normally disagree with Governor Steve Sisolak; I did not vote for the man, but we need to understand that it is not easy to be in charge of a state, or especially a nation for that matter, during a situation of great danger.
The people who elected him elected him to protect the well-being of not only his supporters, but of every single citizen of the state of Nevada.
Mr. Joecks states that “On Wednesday Sisolak banned churches from in-person worship services of 10 or more during the coronavirus emergency.” According to Joecks’ column, Sisolak said that those violating his directive would face civil or criminal penalties.
I personally disagreed with the Governor regarding places he considers“essential,” considering the point that the majority of those places are not following orders of medical experts and they believe that simple alcohol can disinfect their areas when it is not true. We are not going through a situation of spring allergies and colds—this is a pandemic, if people know the true definition of the word pandemic.
Joecks says in his column that Sisolak is telling police to arrest people for going to church.
Regardless of whether I know Mr. Sisolak or not, I only know him because he is the new governor of the state where I grew up, but we both have been under one roof several times. He doesn’t know me from Adam, but when I said we have been under the same roof many times before it’s because we have been worshiping in the Home of Our Lord many times before.
I can tell Mr. Sisolak is a church-goer, because I have seen him praying in two different places at the Cathedral on Desert Inn Rd. and at the Joseph, Husband of Mary, Catholic Church, while I also was at the same time.
I personally don’t believe Mr. Sisolak is violating the First Amendment of the Constitution; he is just protecting the health of the people of the State of Nevada.
When a person really believes his or her faith is strong enough, they don’t need to go to a church, a temple, a synagogue, or any other place of faith to communicate with the Almighty. We can communicate with Our Lord on a personal basis.
I was born, raised and educated in the Catholic faith; I am not going to church because I don’t know who is sitting next to me or behind me. I don’t need anybody seeing me banging on my chest and saying “Mia culpa, Mia culpa.” I have a personal communication with Our Lord, and confess my sins to Him directly. Besides, didn’t He say “take care of yourself, and I will take care of you?”
Remember the old story of the man in the middle of a storm, waters were coming from everywhere. One person came with a boat, saw him on top of his roof and told him to get out of there and come with him, and he responded, “The Lord will save me.” Two other people came to his rescue and he said the same thing — then he drowned. In Heaven he faced the Lord and asked Him, “Lord didn’t you say you would save me?” And the Lord told him, “I sent you three people to save your life, but you didn’t want to listen.”
The last paragraph of Mr. Joecks reads: “At least there is one glaring loophole in Sisolak’s order. If the police arrest you for worshipping, just tell them you’re homeless.”
Wrong advice; first, you don’t lie to the police; and second, the police are not going to believe a word you say, because all homeless people in need of praising the Lord urinate, defecate, vomit, and even give birth to a child in one predominant location in downtown Las Vegas, and it happens to be my office in the jurisdiction of Councilwoman Olivia Diaz.
Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky,
email her at pviasmensky@lasvegas tribune.com.