Christianity

Jehovah’s Witnesses cancel in-person conventions globally, first time in religion’s history

July 10, 2020

 

For the first time in the history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization, they will be holding their worldwide annual conventions virtually.

Last year, more than 14 million people attended these conventions. In the US alone, Jehovah’s Witnesses typically hold 800 conventions with an attendance of nearly 2 million.

Global attendance spans 240 lands, making it the largest convention organization in...

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Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases.

July 9, 2020

 

Weeks after President Trump demanded that America’s shuttered houses of worship be allowed to reopen, new outbreaks of the coronavirus are surging through churches across the country where services have resumed.

The virus has infiltrated Sunday sermons, meetings of ministers and Christian youth camps in Colorado and Missouri. It has struck churches that reopened cautiously with face masks and social distancing in the pews, as well as some that defied lockdowns and refused to heed new limits on numbers of worshipers.

Pastors and their families have...

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Supreme Court broadens scope of ministerial exception

July 9, 2020

 

The Supreme Court has ruled that religious school teachers who perform a religious role, even if they are not ordained, and even if religious instruction makes up a small part of their overall responsibilities, are subject to a ministerial exception from civil rights protections afforded to other employees.

The 7-2 ruling on Wednesday (July 8) hands religious institutions a big win after a momentous defeat last  month when the high court ruled that gay and transgender people are protected from workplace discrimination. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and...

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Two COVID-19-ravaged churches take different recovery paths

July 8, 2020

 

The paths of two New York City churches diverged this week — one reopened and one stayed closed. But they have shared a tragic fate, together losing at least 134 members of their mostly Hispanic congregations to the coronavirus.

Saint Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Queens, where at least 74 parishioners have died from COVID-19, on Monday hosted its first large-scale in-person services since mid-March: an English-language midday Mass and a Spanish one in the evening. At Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan, with a death toll nearly as high, the...

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We have a story to tell: Indigenous scholars, activists speak up amid toppling of Serra statues

July 8, 2020

 

Jessa Calderon initially felt numb watching the Junipero Serra statue topple to the ground as it was yanked from its platform with yellow rope tied around its neck.

Within minutes, she was in tears.

“I began to cry hysterically. It was like a sense of relief,” said Calderon, a descendant of Gabrielino-Tongva and Ventureño Chumash, who witnessed the toppling on June 20 in downtown Los Angeles.

Calderon and other California Native people prayed and left offerings, including medicinal herbs, at a makeshift altar before activists took down...

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Maine, Vermont next in fight over aid to religious schools

July 2, 2020

 

A U.S. Supreme Court decision that says states can’t cut religious schools out of programs that send public money to private education could breathe new life into efforts to force Maine and Vermont to help fund religious educations.

A lawsuit by three families in Maine who want the state to pay for for religious school tuition is already pending in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

A separate case in Vermont that would allow students from religious schools to participate in a program where high school students could take college courses...

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Filipino American who had strict religious upbringing launches Queer Youth of Faith Day

July 1, 2020

 

When Jun Young came out at the age of 45, he thought back to his childhood.

He was raised in a Catholic household in the Philippines, where he was taught early on that being gay was against God's will. So when he realized around the age of 12 that he was attracted to other boys, he kept it locked away for more than three decades.

"I felt like I didn't really have a choice," Young told NBC Asian America. "I couldn't really come out or accept that I was gay or even explore what that meant without giving up my faith. And my faith was so important to...

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The Street Corner Where George Floyd Was Killed Has Become a Christian Revivalist Site

June 30, 2020

 

In the month since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, the scene of his death has become a sprawling unofficial gathering place and mourning site. The city has blocked off the intersection to traffic, and visitors flock to 38th Street and Chicago Avenue to pay their respects with flowers, signs, and murals. Volunteers hand out food and water, and musicians and speakers provide a raucous soundtrack for the...

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Asian American churches hold march through Chinatown, calling for unity with Black communities

June 29, 2020

 

Chinatown’s Chinese Christian Union Church and Bronzeville’s Progressive Baptist Church have existed for more than a century just 1.5 miles apart on Wentworth Avenue.

But the two churches have rarely interacted or helped each other — until Sunday.

With coordination from the Asian American Christian Collaborative, leaders and members of the two churches — as well as many other Asian religious organizations in the area — marched through Chinatown to call for increased unity between the Asian and Black communities...

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‘Your fight is my fight’: Latino clergy and faith leaders rally behind Black Lives Matter

June 26, 2020

To pastor Rosa Cándida Ramírez, it’s evident the same institutional systems that dehumanize immigrants perpetuate the mistreatment of Black Americans.

“We cannot say that immigrant lives matter, if we can’t say that Black Lives Matter,” said Ramírez, 31, who helps lead the largely Latina and immigrant La Fuente Ministries in Pasadena, California.

At La Fuente Ministries, it’s not uncommon for church members to speak about their plight and rights as immigrants. Now, Ramírez said, they’re exploring what it means to be a congregation that also talks about...

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