Catholic League Decries Andrew Cuomo’s ‘Tyrannical Edict’ Targeting Orthodox Jews

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at th
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Catholic League president Bill Donohue has censured New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his malicious targeting of Orthodox Jews in a recent edict against the coronavirus.

In a new autocratic move, Mr. Cuomo plans to “shut down all churches, synagogues and schools — private, religious, and public — in an attempt to quell the spread of the disease,” Dr. Donohue notes.

“We know religious institutions have been a problem,” Cuomo threatened. “If you’re not willing to live with these rules, then I’m going to close the synagogues,” in reference to an uptick in coronavirus infections in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in New York.

AP reported Monday that many Orthodox Jews “feel the city is singling them out for criticism.”

“People are very turned off and very burned out,” said Yosef Hershkop, a Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn who works for a chain of urgent-care centers. “It’s not like we’re the only people in New York getting COVID.”

The governor also warned that he would deploy the police to enforce his edict. If there are too many people entering a house of worship, he said, “the state police officer is down the block, and he will come help you.”

Donohue said that the authoritarian language employed by Cuomo was “chilling” and has extended to Catholic churches and schools as well.

There are two major problems with Cuomo’s order, Donohue added. First, “his authority to execute it is in serious doubt” and second, “his decision to blanket Catholic churches and schools—where there are no problems—is discriminatory.”

Donohue has also underscore Cuomo’s hypocritical double standard in permitting violent mobs to go on “a rampage attacking innocent people, destroying property, looting, and tying up traffic in an illegal demonstration” last June, while making a show of force by cracking down on people of faith.

Last summer, both New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo “expressed sympathy with the thugs,” Donohue said, and police were ordered to stand down.

In late June, U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe issued a preliminary injunction saying that by allowing the protests, de Blasio and Cuomo were “encouraging what they knew was a flagrant disregard of the outdoor limits and social distancing rules,” Donohue observes.

Cuomo’s duplicity is also in evidence in his contempt for Catholic churches and schools, which he has penalized despite the fact that there has been no spike in coronavirus in any Catholic church or school in the Archdiocese of New York or the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“Why is he penalizing Catholic institutions, which are not a problem, but is allowing commercial establishments in these same neighborhoods to conduct business as usual?” Donohue asks. This is “a profound injustice” to the Catholic community.

Last March 25, Cuomo ordered recovering coronavirus patients to be sent to nursing homes, leading to over 4,300 deaths, a measure branded “a death sentence,” Donohue notes. Cuomo has since sought “to compensate for his initial incompetence by shutting down New York indefinitely.”

“The man is a wreck,” Donohue concludes, and his “politicization of Covid-19 is a national disgrace.”


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