Religious News From Around the Web August 3, 2020
Catholic Schools Closing, Do Religious Voters like Biden or Trump? John Lewis Mourned at Ebeneezer Baptist Church, Next SCOTUS Religious Liberty Case, Battle over in-person worship, Hajj Restrictions hit Muslims
Catholic Schools Closing Affects Low Income Students
At least 100 Catholic schools will close this fall, restricting options for low-income families and students of color who have chosen the Catholic schools as a safer and more studious alternative to public schools. During the pandemic, many parents can no longer afford tuition, which provides about 80 percent of a Catholic school’s revenue. The recent Supreme Court case, Espinoza vs. Montana Dept of Revenue may eventually allow some public support for religious education.
Do Religious Voters Like Trump or Biden Best?
As the election nears, both presidential candidates are courting the religious voter. The president fulfilled most of the promises he made to evangelical voters and has tried to reduce access to abortion and increase legal protections for faith groups. The former vice president garners support because of his strong personal faith, and he enjoys 90 percent support among Black Protestants who are registered voters.
John Lewis Mourned in Atlanta’s Ebeneezer Baptist Church
Civil Rights icon and member of Congress John Lewis was mourned and his life celebrated July 30 by dignitaries including three former presidents at the historic Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta once pastored by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Lewis led protesters in the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma, Alabama, where he was beaten by state troopers. In an essay Lewis asked to be read after his death, he wrote “In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.”
Next Religious Liberty Case Nears Supreme Court
The Supreme Court’s recent Bostock decision held that discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual identity was a violation of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But another case, Fulton v. Philadelphia will test whether a Catholic agency can be forced out of providing foster care because the agency will not place children with same sex couples.
In-Person Worship? The Battle Continues
“The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in a dissenting opinion to Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak. “But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.” However, Gorsuch was in the minority on the ruling, and so Nevada Gov. Sisolak’s order – restricting church attendance to 50 people while Nevada casinos, breweries, bowling allies and gyms may hold 50 percent of capacity – will stand.
Hajj Restrictions Hit Muslims
Coronavirus restrictions on the Muslim hajj have reduced the usual 2 million faithful to around 1,000 this year, and those that attend must be checked for illness and must be residents of Saudi Arabia. The restrictions have hurt local businesses which depend on the throngs of religious pilgrims for much of their annual sales.