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Religious News from Around the Web March 23, 2020

Coronavirus Vaccine, Drive-in Church, Government Shuts Down Religious Services, Chinese Destroy Churches, Samaritan’s Purse, Sikhs Help, Justice Delayed, Religion Survey

Israelis Say Coronavirus Vaccine Soon Ready
According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, Israeli scientists will have a vaccine for the novel coronavirus very soon. Israel’s Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis congratulated the Galilee Research Institute on a scientific breakthrough. The institute has been developing the basic technology for four years, and chose to prove the concept using coronavirus before the pandemic struck.

How to Do a Drive-in Church

By J Bar wikimedia commons
Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples around the world are confronting the infectious Covid-19 virus and closing or coming up with other ways to continue to serve members, such as online sermons, a drive-in church, online classes, social media, confession by phone or even insisting on business as usual despite government orders to close.

Does Religious Freedom Disappear During Emergencies?
A lively debate has begun as to whether governments can order churches to cease operations in the name of public safety. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” says the Bill of Rights. And while good sense would probably land on the side of avoiding the disease by temporarily ceasing services, at what point do government dictates overrule the Bill of Rights? Can religious objections to immunization be invalidated? And can religiously intolerant countries like China use the virus as an excuse to accelerate the destruction of churches and arrest of religious leaders?

Chinese Communists Continue Destruction of Religious Houses
Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist government has continued blowing up pagodas, demolishing churches and removing crosses – as congregations worship at home to avoid the coronavirus – and knocking down Buddhist statues. According to Bitter Winter, the government is now even destroying churches that were government approved.

Samaritan’s Purse Sends Field Hospital to Italy
Italy’s death toll from the coronavrus has surpassed China’s and Samaritan’s Purse, a non-denominational evangelical Christian organization sent a 68-bed field hospital, 20 tons of medical equipment and 72 specialists to Cremona province, a region of Italy hard-hit by the virus. China has also contributed help to Italy.

Sikhs Help
The Parliament of Victoria, Australia recognized the Sikh community for “sewa” (selfless service) during the coronavirus crisis. Member of Parliament Craig Ondarchie thanked Khalsa Foundation Australia for cooking and delivering free meals to people isolated by virus restrictions.Sikhs have also helped provide food, water and essentials during the Australian bushfires, the civil war in Syria and drought in India.

SCOTUS Delays Religious Freedom Rulings
A number of religious liberty rulings have been delayed by the U.S. Supreme Court because of the virus pandemic. They include cases in which religious beliefs collide with LGBTQ activities, the rights of businesses and charities to operate in accord to their religious principles regarding same-sex marriage, abortion, birth control and other issues.

People Who Represent Religion to Americans
Who is the first person who comes to mind when you think of Judaism? Oddly enough, if you said “Jesus” you are in accord with most Americans. Moses was next. The Pew Research Center conducted a survey last year and asked respondents about Catholicism, Buddhism, evangelical Protestantism, Islam, Judaism and atheism.

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