Religion & Liberty Online

Rev. Robert Sirico: COVID-19 lockdown orders are the state-mandated ‘marginalization of religion’

(Photo credit: Acton Institute.)

Perhaps nowhere is the disconnect between private citizens’ views and those of the government clearer than when it comes to the role of religion in society. Acton Institute President and Co-founder Rev. Robert A. Sirico told a nationally syndicated radio program that state orders that effectively ban clergy from caring for sick patients represent “the marginalization of religion as a non-essential service,” and this “flies in the face of our entire history as an American republic.”

“Who knows best what is needed?” Rev. Sirico asked on the Monday, May 11 episode of The Dan Proft Show, which airs nationally on the Salem Radio Network from 9 p.m. to midnight Eastern time.

Allowing the government to bar clergy from nursing homes and other facilities where pastoral care is needed “sets the precedent,” Rev. Sirico said.

It sends a message that somehow religion is marginal. The access to clergy to hospitals is another example of it. You have food service and you have people who clean those rooms, but you can’t have a clergyman stand by the bedside of a dying person and send them off into eternity?

Such a mindset, he said, is rooted in secularism and scientism. It also legitimizes government intervention in church affairs:

They regulate our soup kitchens. They regulate our schools. They regulate our hospitals and our orphanages. And this is just another way of intruding.

The 14-minute interview also discusses churches receiving federal bailouts, why he doesn’t like the word “capitalism,” why the free market is the best system for a free society (as discussed in his book Defending the Free Market), why confiscatory taxation forces religious parents to pay twice for their children’s education, and how Americans must be “far more innovative than thinking of the state as the first resource that we turn to in everything.”

You can listen to the full program below:


If you prefer to listen to podcasts on an iPod or similar device, you can download the MP3 here.

You can download additional episodes of the show here or here.


Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson (@therightswriter) is an Eastern Orthodox priest and served as Executive Editor of the Acton Institute (2016-2021), editing Religion & Liberty, the Powerblog, and its transatlantic website. He has extensively researched the Alt-Right. Previously, he worked for LifeSiteNews and, where he wrote three books including Party of Defeat (with David Horowitz, 2008). His work has appeared at, National Review, The American Spectator, The Guardian, Daily Caller, National Catholic Register, Spectator USA, FEE Online, RealClear Policy, The Blaze, The Stream, American Greatness, Aleteia, Providence Magazine, Charisma, Jewish World Review, Human Events, Intellectual Takeout,, Issues & Insights, The Conservative,, and The American Orthodox Institute. His personal websites are and His views are his own.