Patterico's Pontifications

11/26/2020

Supreme Court Strikes Down Cuomo’s Limits on Religious Services

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:12 pm



[guest post by JVW]

The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 ruling, yesterday placed an injunction upon New York State and the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ability to enforce the limitations on religious gatherings that they had imposed in response to coronavirus outbreaks over the past several months.

The opinion is located here. As a Cliff’s Notes version, here are some snippets starting with the Per Curiam order of the Court (which was either written by Justice Thomas, Alito, or Barrett; my money is on Alito):

Not only is there no evidence that the applicants have contributed to the spread of COVID–19 but there are many other less restrictive rules that could be adopted to minimize the risk to those attending religious services. Among other things, the maximum attendance at a religious service could be tied to the size of the church or synagogue. Almost all of the 26 Diocese churches immediately affected by the Executive Order can seat at least 500 people, about 14 can accommodate at least 700, and 2 can seat over 1,000. Similarly, Agudath Israel of Kew Garden Hills can seat up to 400. It is hard to believe that admitting more than 10 people to a 1,000–seat church or 400–seat synagogue would create a more serious health risk than the many other activities that the State allows.

[. . .]

Members of this Court are not public health experts, and we should respect the judgment of those with special expertise and responsibility in this area. But even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten. The restrictions at issue here, by effectively barring many from attending religious services, strike at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty. Before allowing this to occur, we have a duty to conduct a serious examination of the need for such a drastic measure.

Concurrence from Justice Gorsuch:

As almost everyone on the Court today recognizes, squaring the Governor’s edicts with our traditional First Amendment rules is no easy task. People may gather inside for extended periods in bus stations and airports, in laundromats and banks, in hardware stores and liquor shops. No apparent reason exists why people may not gather, subject to identical restrictions, in churches or synagogues, especially when religious institutions have made plain that they stand ready, able, and willing to follow all the safety precautions required of “essential” businesses and perhaps more besides. The only explanation for treating religious places differently seems to be a judgment that what happens there just isn’t as “essential” as what happens in secular spaces. Indeed, the Governor is remarkably frank about this: In his judgment laundry and liquor, travel and tools, are all “essential” while traditional religious exercises are not. That is exactly the kind of discrimination the First Amendment forbids.

Justice Kavanaugh, also concurring:

In light of the devastating pandemic, I do not doubt the State’s authority to impose tailored restrictions—even very strict restrictions—on attendance at religious services and secular gatherings alike. But the New York restrictions on houses of worship are not tailored to the circumstances given the First Amendment interests at stake. To reiterate, New York’s restrictions on houses of worship are much more severe than the California and Nevada restrictions at issue in South Bay and Calvary, and much more severe than the restrictions that most other States are imposing on attendance at religious services. And New York’s restrictions discriminate against religion by treating houses of worship significantly worse than some secular businesses.

Chief Justice Roberts, who joined the liberal bloc in voting against the injunction, attempted to strike a fine balance between the sides. While conceding that the governor’s orders “do seem unduly restrictive,” the Chief tried to punt the issue on the basis that New York had since moved the area affecting the plaintiffs into a less-restrictive zone:

It is not necessary, however, for us to rule on that serious and difficult question [of whether the restrictions run afoul of the Constitution] at this time. The Governor might reinstate the restrictions. But he also might not. And it is a significant matter to override determinations made by public health officials concerning what is necessary for public safety in the midst of a deadly pandemic. If the Governor does reinstate the numerical restrictions the applicants can return to this Court, and we could act quickly on their renewed applications. As things now stand, however, the applicants have not demonstrated their entitlement to “the extraordinary remedy of injunction.”

The Court’s three remaining leftish bloc, Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, agreed with the Chief that there is no need to decide upon Constitutional issues unless the plaintiffs were once again placed into the most restrictive zones. They also don’t believe the Constitutional issue is a clear-cut as the majority or the Chief seems to believe, and ought to be determined first by the Court of Appeals before being taken up by the Court. In the dissent, Justice Breyer writes:

We have previously recognized that courts must grant elected officials “broad” discretion when they “undertake to act in areas fraught with medical and scientific uncertainties.” That is because the “Constitution principally entrusts the safety and the health of the people to the politically accountable officials of the States.” The elected branches of state and national governments can marshal scientific expertise and craft specific policies in response to “changing facts on the ground.” And they can do so more quickly than can courts. That is particularly true of a court, such as this Court, which does not conduct evidentiary hearings. It is true even more so where, as here, the need for action is immediate, the information likely limited, the making of exceptions difficult, and the disease-related circumstances rapidly changing. [The quotes above are from the Court’s earlier decision South Bay United Pentacostal Church v. Newsom, and citations have been omitted.]

It’s notable that Justice Amy Coney Barrett likely provided the decisive vote for the majority, unless we choose to believe that Chief Justice Roberts would have suppressed his desire to defer the decision for another day had Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lived (and presumably voted with the left bloc). As we start to swing into Advent and Hanukkah, Christians and Jews not just in New York but nationwide can feel comfortable that the highest Court respects our First Amendment rights against arbitrary and capricious edicts from government.

Happy Thanksgiving to all the blog’s readers and commenters, especially those who suffer through my posts.

– JVW

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:01 pm



[guest post by Dana]

In spite of 2020 being the long punch in the gut it’s been, we still have much to be grateful for. I hope everyone enjoys the day because, no matter what side of the political aisle you fall, we are all abundantly blessed by simply living where we live and the opportunities we have to express ourselves and let our opinions fly.

A blessed day to you and yours.

–Dana

11/25/2020

Trump Pardons Michael Flynn (ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:37 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Ths is not at all surprising:

From NPR:

The pardon brings an end to a long-running legal odyssey for Flynn, who was the only member of the Trump administration to be charged as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, and then cooperated extensively with prosecutors. But he ultimately reversed course and accused the government of trying to frame him.

Flynn went to so far as to withdraw his first plea of guilty and substitute a second plea of not guilty, even though he’d acknowledged the underlying conduct that was against the law and been close to receiving a sentence.

ADDED:

–Dana

The GOP Has a Bold and Sweeping Agenda Post-Trump: Punish Trump Critics

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I thought I wanted the GOP to win the Georgia runoffs. I thought we needed a check on Biden’s worst impulses. But if Republicans are going to use their Senate majority to continue the cult of Trump, they deserve to lose. And if this Axios story (warning: three days old; moldy punditry is good punditry!) is to be believed, that’s exactly what they have in mind:

Republicans are making plans to torpedo some of President-elect Biden’s prospective Cabinet, agency and judicial nominees if the GOP keeps its majority, aides involved in the discussions tell me.

What we’re hearing: Top targets include political names and civil servants who spoke out loudest against President Trump, forced out his appointees or became stars in the impeachment hearings — like Sally Yates and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — as well as longtime targets of conservative media, like Susan Rice.

Now, I have not heard that Alexander Vindman has been nominated to anything — although it is my belief that Biden should re-hire Vindman, Chris Krebs, and another unfairly fired figures. (I think Biden should revoke Jared Kushner’s security clearance as well, but that’s another discussion for another day.) But the idea that the GOP is going to continue to be motivated by petty personal Trump beefs even after Trump is gone is further evidence that the capture of the party is complete.

Right now, as we speak, the party is busy working to cost itself the runoffs by convincing voters that the election was stolen from Trump, which will have the effect of either demotivaing them to show up in January, or positively refusing to vote for the GOP senators in some kind of weird supposed payback for God knows what.

President Donald Trump’s lies about the election being stolen from him are having an unintended consequence: There are now members of his base who are advocating for Republicans not to vote in the Georgia runoff for two vital Senate seats.

. . . .

A faction of Trump’s base — including a PAC with ties to Roger Stone — has taken Trump’s conspiracy-mongering and attacks on Kemp and Raffensperger as a call to sit out the runoffs. Those rumblings have been significant enough that on Monday, Donald Trump Jr. felt compelled to weigh in with a tweet in which he dismissed talk of withholding votes from Perdue and Loeffler as “NONSENSE,” adding, “We need ALL of our people coming out to vote for Kelly & David.” . . . The irony, however, is that the Trump fans Don Jr. admonished are simply taking their cues from his father, who continues to push baseless conspiracy theories about the election being stolen from him even after he halfheartedly endorsed the General Services Administration’s move on Monday night to officially begin the transition to Biden.

Indeed, I realized this morning that any GOP candidate for president in 2024 is going to feel obligated to pay lip service to the idea that Biden stole the election from Trump. Anyone who pointedly refuses to do so will lose the insane chunk of Trump’s base — a large enough chunk to sink anyone’s chances. And since I can’t vote for anyone who pretends this election was stolen, I will likely be unable to vote GOP again in 2024.

Let me know when y’all want to grow up and be adults again, GOP politicians. Until then, I will remain out.

11/24/2020

Intramural Fighting in a One-Party State

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:05 pm



[guest post by JVW]

The excellent news outlet, CalMatters, has a pretty fascinating story about a quiet standoff between two ambitious Democrat politicians regarding taxpayer dollars and an influential and progressive public relations firm [note: all links in quote below are from the original article]:

The unpaid invoices piling up in Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office had climbed to more than $34.2 million.

It was Nov. 2. Since early September, his staff had been wrangling with the staff of State Controller Betty Yee over whether Padilla’s office had the budgetary authority to pay for a $35 million contract it had awarded to public affairs firm SKDKnickerbocker to run a statewide voter education campaign called Vote Safe California. The secretary of state’s office maintained that it did have budgetary authority. The controller’s office, which approves payments, maintained that it did not.

With the two agencies at an impasse, SKDKnickerbocker was left to shoulder millions of dollars in costs for a campaign explaining new pandemic voting procedures. One invoice for a month’s worth of media buys on TV, radio, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat topped $11 million, and two others topped $9 million, according to documents obtained by CalMatters through a public records request.

On Oct. 20, about two weeks after the controller’s office publicly said it would not approve payment of the contract, Padilla sent an email to Yee.

“Betty,” he wrote. “To support the payment of the voter education program the Secretary of State’s office has been directed to conduct by the Governor and the Legislature, I’m attaching background materials of how similar contracting on behalf of counties has been done previously by the SOS as well as other state departments/agencies.”

“I hope this addresses any remaining questions or concerns.”

Two days later, Yee’s chief counsel sent an email to Padilla’s chief counsel. “Our position remains unchanged,” Rick Chivaro wrote. “Moreover … the (State Controller’s Office) will not be making any further considerations regarding this matter.”

According to the terms of the contract, an impasse on paying the invoice would ultimately force SKDKnickerbocker to eat the costs, now nearly $35 million. No matter how much work the firm did for the Biden/Harris and other Democrat campaigns, that is a huge chunk of change to be denied for work which you provided.

Secretary of State Padilla, as we have mentioned earlier, is in consideration for the United States Senate seat about to be vacated by Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris. Controller Yee is running to be vice-chair of the California Democrat Party and has been mentioned as the possible first female governor of California once Gavin Newsom is through ruining the state. Though the two of them are apparently seeking different positions, the sheer number of ambitious Democrats combined with the relatively low number of prestigious offices — not to mention the jungle primary system — ensures that any election will likely be hotly contested.

In this dust up, Secretary Padilla is playing the role of the Sacramento insider, shoveling taxpayer money to a powerful agency whose help he might need down the road. Controller Yee is positioning herself as a reformist Democrat, working on behalf of the taxpayer and unafraid to take on entrenched relationships within her own party. In this battle I have to abandon my old schoolchum Alex and declare myself a part of Team Betty, since I object to the degree in which elected officeholders have seen fit to abuse their power and blithely toss around money during the pandemic. SKDKnickerbocker should learn a valuable lesson that when contracting with the Golden State you should get your fee paid before you deliver your work.

– JVW

Should Trump Be Prosecuted? A Mueller Prosecutor Says Yes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I have already said that I think Trump should be prosecuted after he leaves office, if prosecutors believe a case is warranted. His numerous acts of obstruction are documented in the Mueller report and include directing his White House counsel Don McGahn to prepare a false memorandum documenting a lie about whether Trump had ordered McGahn to fire Mueller. (He had but wanted McGahn to say he hadn’t.) Trump also directed Michael Cohen to make payments to porn stars to hush them up during his campaign about his sexual dalliances with them from years before. These payments constituted campaign finance violations, acts for which Cohen was himself prosecuted. If the person who made the payment should be prosecuted, so should the person who ordered the payment. If presidents and former presidents are never prosecuted for crimes they commit, they become above the law, and are in this sense like kings.

Andrew Weissmann, one of the Mueller prosecutors, agrees in an op-ed published in the New York Times:

[A]s painful and hard as it may be for the country, I believe the next attorney general should investigate Mr. Trump and, if warranted, prosecute him for potential federal crimes.

. . . .

The evidence against Mr. Trump includes the testimony of Don McGahn, Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel, who detailed how the president ordered the firing of the special counsel and how when that effort was reported in the press, Mr. Trump beseeched Mr. McGahn to deny publicly the truth and, for safe measure, memorialize that falsity in a written memorandum.

The evidence includes Mr. Trump’s efforts to influence the outcome of a deliberating jury in the Manafort trial and his holding out the hope for a pardon to thwart witnesses from cooperating with our investigation. Can anyone even fathom a legitimate reason to dangle a pardon?

His potential criminal liability goes further, to actions before taking office. The Manhattan district attorney is by all appearances conducting a classic white-collar investigation into tax and bank fraud, and the New York attorney general is engaged in a civil investigation into similar allegations, which could quickly turn into a criminal inquiry.

Weissman says it would put the president above the law to immunize him for all his crimes, especially since some of them were committed before he was elected:

Because some of the activities in question predated his presidency, it would be untenable to permit Mr. Trump’s winning a federal election to immunize him from consequences for earlier crimes. We would not countenance that result if a former president was found to have committed a serious violent crime.

Sweeping under the rug Mr. Trump’s federal obstruction would be worse still. The precedent set for not deterring a president’s obstruction of a special counsel investigation would be too costly: It would make any future special counsel investigation toothless and set the presidency de facto above the law. For those who point to the pardon of Richard Nixon by Gerald Ford as precedent for simply looking forward, that is not analogous: Mr. Nixon paid a very heavy price by resigning from the presidency in disgrace for his conduct.

Also, that pardon was wrong — I know, an unpopular view.

Weissmann’s conclusion: “In short, being president should mean you are more accountable, not less, to the rule of law.”

That has not been the case under Donald Trump, and it is one of the key reasons I voted against him. It has to change.

11/23/2020

More ‘Do As I Say and Not As I Do’ With White House Holiday Party In The Works (ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:10 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Despite California’s Gov. Newsom continuing to reel from criticism for his ill-advised decision to violate state Covid-19 guidelines when he and a large party ate indoors at a local eating establishment and Speaker Pelosi forced to seriously scale back plans for an indoor dinner reception for new members at the Capitol because of criticism, the White House seems intent on violating its own guidelines by hosting a holiday party:

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, cautioned against holiday gatherings on Good Morning America on Monday and said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines apply to everyone, including the Trump administration, as First Lady Melania Trump is already planning a holiday reception and the White House outbreak continues to grow.

When asked about the White House’s holiday plans, which will likely be large and indoors, Adams urged all Americans to have small and “smart” celebrations and said the nation is at a “dire point” in the pandemic with increased cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Adams said he wants everyone to know that holiday parties risk becoming superspreader events and directed people to the CDC’s guidelines for holiday events, which he said apply to everyone, including people at the White House.

Mrs. Trump has already sent out invitations to the soiree slated for Nov. 30. Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham said that precautions were being taken to ensure a safe party:

The White House gatherings are scheduled to begin later this month, soon after the Thanksgiving holiday may give rise to another dangerous COVID-19 surge.

This year’s events will take place at least partly indoors, on the State Floor, according to Grisham, who added that there are “smaller guest lists” and that “masks will be required and available,” with social distancing measures encouraged and hand sanitizer stations posted throughout.

“Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations,” Grisham added. “All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food-safety guidelines.”

“Attending the parties will be a very personal choice,” Grisham said. “It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic decor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations.”

Politicians seem to believe that they alone are exempt from the rules that they establish and expect the rest of us to follow. We know that our personal decisions regarding Covid-19 should not be based on the foolish actions of the do as I say, not as I do crowd, whether they are medical professionals or elected officials:

If public health experts elected officials turn on a dime, and suddenly minimize the importance of public health measures they advocated until yesterday, it doesn’t mean public health measures are unnecessary. It means those particular “experts”elected officials are unreliable and you should not listen to them.

ADDED: Count New York’s Gov. Cuomo among the elected leaders who didn’t consider the optics in having his elderly mother travel to his home for the holiday dinner:

On Monday afternoon, Cuomo indicated he would be having a small dinner when asked about his plans in an interview on a local radio station.

“The story is, my mom is going to come up and two of my girls, but the plans change,” Cuomo told WAMC radio, the NPR affiliate in New York’s Capital Region.

A few hours later, Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, told Insider the dinner is off.

“As the Governor said, ‘The story is my mom is going to come up and two of my girls is the current plan, but the plans change. That’s my plan. I’m going to work — I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and Thanksgiving,’ and given the current circumstances with COVID, he will have to work through Thanksgiving and will not be seeing them,” Azzopardi told Insider in a statement early Monday evening.

He added: “Don’t tell his mom — she doesn’t know yet.”

The internet was quick to dunk on Cuomo, given how much he’s been telling New Yorkers to stay home and forsake a normal Thanksgiving due to the coronavirus pandemic and cases surging nationally.

In the Empire State, people are required to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people. While Cuomo’s gathering of four would not violate any rules, the age of his mother and the notion that he would still proceed with a holiday dinner angered people online.

–Dana

Do GOP Senators Keeping Silent About Trump’s Shenanigans Desrerve to Be Re-Elected?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:02 am



[guest post by Dana]

Carl Bernstein names Republican senators whom he claims have privately expressed their disdain at the behavior and actions of President Trump. However, most have remained silent in public. It’s good to know who they are when re-election time rolls around:

Political reporters in Washington, D.C., have been saying a lot of Republicans in Congress privately despise President Trump, but few have publicly criticized him — and likewise, few have publicly acknowledged his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. Carl Bernstein, one half of the journalistic duo that uncovered President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, named 21 names on Sunday night, saying that in private conversations, these Republicans senators “have repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump” and his fitness to be president.

The 21 senators he named include names you would expect, but also some surprises, like Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), and Senate Majority Whip John Thune (S.D.). The other 18 GOP senators are Rob Portman (Ohio), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Mike Braun (Ind.), Todd Young (Ind.), Tim Scott (S.D.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Richard Burr (N.C.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Pat Roberts (Kansas), and Richard Shelby (Ala.).

There are, however, Republican senators willing to make public stands when it comes to Trump. We know that Sen. Romney has been publicly vocal about Trump for quite some time, including breaking from his party and voting to convict the President on one of two charges, abuse of power. He was not hesitant about publicly claiming that the President needed to be removed from office. Along with Romney, a few Republican senators have been willing to publicly criticize Trump for his post-election shenanigans:

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, each of whom has been critical of Trump in the past, were the only Republicans to tackle the president’s actions head-on.

“There is a right way and a wrong way for the incumbent President to pursue his rights to contest what he perceives as election irregularities,” Collins said in a statement. “The right way is to compile the evidence and mount legal challenges in our courts. The wrong way is to attempt to pressure state election officials.”

She added, “The states should proceed to certify their election results as scheduled.”

Romney, in comments late Thursday, was harsher.

“Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election,” he said. “It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President.”

Trump, perhaps illustrating why Republicans fear his wrath, fired back in a tweet that Romney is a “RINO” — a Republican in name only — who got “slaughter[ed]” by Barack Obama.

Sasse said in a detailed statement that whenever Trump’s lawyers have had a chance to allege voter fraud in court, they have backed down “because there are legal consequences for lying to judges.” The senator singled out a Thursday news conference by Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, calling it a farce that provided no evidence of electoral malfeasance.

A few other senators have now publicly acknowledged Joe Biden as the President-elect, and encouraged President Trump to stop undermining democracy with a “pressure campaign” to change the election it o outcome:

There is no doubt that the vast majority of the senators who have chosen to remain silent have done so to protect their political futures. Self-preservation is a top priority. They are far less concerned with the undermining of U.S. elections than they are about positioning themselves for a re-election win when the time comes. Especially those in tough districts. But what does it say about an elected official who chooses to ignore a sitting President of the United States’ Herculean efforts to undermine our democracy, and harm the electoral system while constantly – and falsely – asserting that the election was “rigged” and that Biden could have only won through illegitimate means? If these elected officials cannot make a public stand against something as unprecedented and important as a sitting president waging a losing battle over an election outcome by making baseless claims of fraud and having them repeatedly rejected by the courts, why would voters trust them to stand up for, well, anything that concerns them?

After all, the futile efforts by our deluded President are not without likely long-term impacts on future elections:

Justin Levitt, a Loyola Law School professor who specializes in election law, called the Trump lawsuits dangerous.

“It is a sideshow, but it’s a harmful sideshow,” Levitt said. “It’s a toxic sideshow. The continuing baseless, evidence-free claims of alternative facts are actually having an effect on a substantial number of Americans. They are creating the conditions for elections not to work in the future.”

–Dana

Needed: A Faster Way to Test Vaccines

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Reading Nicholas Christakis’s book Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live (affiliate link), I ran across an interesting fact I had missed in the coverage of the Moderna COVID vaccine: it was developed in February 2020 — before many of us had even heard of the new coronavirus.

That testing has been accomplished this quickly is a miracle. But what if there had been some way to accelerate the testing? I’m not talking about stripping away currently necessary protocols, but a sea change in the way testing is done. Christakis mentions the use of genetically modified animals whose immune reactions are engineered to resemble that of humans. But the real advance, I think, is yet to be discovered: some form of rapid testing on cells that is proved to have similar outcomes to lengthy months- and years-long testing protocols.

It may be unachievable. But imagine if we could have started administering a vaccine for COVID-19 in late February or early March.

11/22/2020

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 116

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 9:57 am



It is Christ the King Sunday, and the end of our church year. A new year begins next Sunday with Advent. The title of today’s Bach cantata is “Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ” (O Prince of peace, Lord Jesus Christ):

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the sheep and the goats:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The text of today’s cantata is available here, and contains these words:

O Prince of peace, Lord Jesus Christ,
true human and true God,
you are a strong helper in need
in life and in death.
Therefore only
in your name
do we cry to your Father.

Alas, the agony is unspeakable
as is the threat of the enraged Judge!
Scarcely, since we still suffer this terror
that you, O Jesus, yourself have undergone,
can we cry to God in your name.

Yet consider,
O Jesus, that you are still
called a Prince of peace!
You wished to send us your word out of love.
Will your heart turn away from us now,
which otherwise revealed such great assistance?

. . . .

Illumine our minds and hearts as well
through the spirit of your grace,
so that we do not spread mockery about,
that would be harmful to our souls.
O Jesus Christ,
it is you alone
that can make this right.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

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