Religious News from Around the Web April 13, 2020
COVID-19 and Religious Freedom, Sikhs Risk Safety to Help, Worldwide Fast for Healing, Latter-day Saints Open Temples in Unexpected Places, Children’s Medical Data to be Kept from Parents?
Will COVID-19 Change the Way People of Faith Interact?
Passover 2020 is April 8-16, Ramadan is April 23-May 23, Easter was either April 8 or April 12, and each fell in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, which changes many things. Will meeting, singing, celebrating separately – or perhaps online – change the nature of these holidays, or once the danger has passed, will people of faith embrace these holidays with renewed appreciation? Many churches will be empty on Easter, even though some – citing the First Amendment – have planned in-person services as usual.
Virus Vs. First Amendment
Most churches do the right thing and suspended services to protect members and the public. Governments violate the First Amendment and order church services to cease, even arrest pastors, and order drive-in services halted – and the latest in religious freedom battles are under way.
Religious Freedom Cases Before Supreme Court
Meanwhile, a number of religious freedom cases are before the U.S. Supreme Court, some postponed until the virus subsides. Included are: state funds used to pay for religious education; “job discrimination” based on religion; religious objections to providing birth control as required by the Affordable Care Act, foster care restrictions based on religion; public transit refusing religious ads, and more.
Sikhs Risk Safety to Help During Pandemic
Sikhs, known for their willingness to help in troubled times, have plunged into the pandemic, providing free vegetarian meals to people around the world, from India to Australia and New York City.
Faith in the Frontlines with COVID-19
The United Nations credits a long list of religious groups and interfaith alliances with helping the public during the Coronavirus crisis, including Islam, Scientology, Bahá’í, Judaism, and more including a Multi-faith Religion in Action group.
Worldwide Fast for Healing
Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, called for a wworldwide fast on Good Friday April 10 saying “I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.” Many other faiths also observed a fast on Good Friday, and a Facebook page dedicated to it has a half-million members.
Bill Would Keep Child’s Medical Procedures From Parents
According to the California Family Council, California’s SB1004 would require health insurance companies “to hide from parents ‘sensitive’ medical procedures given to their adult and minor children.” The bill, sponsored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, (D) Santa Barbara, includes abortions; drug abuse, mental health treatment; and some transgender hormones and sex-change operations.