Religious News From Around the Web May 25, 2020

Holy Water Squirting, DOJ: Lockdown Violates Religious Freedom, Church Closures Illegal, Quoting Bible Illegal? Virus Closes Church Again, Separation of Church and State, Ramadan Alterations Not All Bad, Why The Red Forehead Dot?

Drive By Holy-Water Squirting
Water Pistol PixabayGrosse Point Park Catholic Priest Rev. Tim Pelc shot holy water into car windows with a squirt gun as they stopped by the steps of St. Ambrose Parish Church on Easter. He wore a mask, face shield and rubber gloves as further precautions against spreading the coronavirus.

USDOJ: California Lockdown Violates Religious Freedom
Governor Gavin Newsom's Death Penalty Moratorium Praised by CA Bishops“Simply put, there is no pandemic exception to the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.” said a letter from the United States Department of Justice to Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom. The letter also said the lockdown paced an unfair burden on houses of worship.

Religious Professionals Have Less Deaths from “Despair”
Despair pixabayDeaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide (called “despair”) have been identified as a public health crisis, and a recent study of 100,000 health care professionals showed that females attending religious services at least once per week had a 68 percent lower hazard of death from despair and a 33 percent lower hazard among men, suggesting that “religious service attendance is associated with a lower subsequent risk of death from despair.”

6th Court Rules Again that Kentucky Church Closures Illegal
Kentucky’s mandatory church closure orders were twice ruled unenforceable by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the first entrance by a federal appeals court into controversy as to whether government may order houses of worship closed. The 6th Circuit panel concluded unanimously that even though the law doesn’t explicitly discriminate against religion, there are so many non-religious exceptions that it is not neutral.

Irish Church Leaders Seek Guarantee that Quoting the Bible Will be Legal
Ireland is revamping hate crime laws making them so stringent that religious leaders are seeking assurances that quoting the Bible will not be a violation of the law. The Presbyterian Church says that freedom of speech must be protected as the “hate speech” laws are revised considering a number of high-profile cases where individuals were censured after referencing Biblical quotes on homosexuality

Church Opens, Closes Again With Virus
Catoosa Baptist Tabernacle Church led by Pastor Justin Gazaway in Ringgold, Georgia, opened for in-person services on April 26 but on May 11 decided to suspend “in-person worship services for the foreseeable future” after several families contracted the virus.

Coronavirus Alterations of Ramadan Not All Bad
Ramadan pixabayDuring Ramadan, Muslim families often break their fasts with friends and family. But the Coronavirus has put a halt to large community meals, and has significantly changed this year’s Ramadan celebration. Nevertheless, many Muslims say they have found a profound sense of connection and spiritual renewal while isolated, with less attention on the food, and more on worship.

The Case for Separation of Church and State
“Since Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion of Rome in the fourth century,” said author James Neal, “we have witnessed the corrupting influence of politics on Christian faith.” Neal goes on to chronicle the history of such church-state alliances and why the separation of church and state was so important to the Founding Fathers.

Why Do Hindu Women Wear a Red Dot on Their Foreheads?
The definitions of Hindu, Hindi, Indian, as well as some common misconceptions about the Hindu religion and what you can tell about a Hindu woman who wears the red dot.

The Faithful Must Take Responsibility for Stories of Hope and Faith
With technology comes false narratives that exploit and confuse, so in a time of “dislocation” it is up to the faithful to spread stories of faith and hope. Religion is replete with powerful stories that exemplify love and give people courage and those stories must be heard.