Christianity

Supreme Court sides with Amish who argued septic systems violate their religious beliefs

July 2, 2021

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday sided with an Amish community that is challenging on religious grounds a Minnesota county's requirement that its members install septic systems to treat wastewater.

The high court overturned a state court ruling that had sided with the county and asked the state's courts to review the case again in light of its recent ruling in favor of a Catholic foster care agency in Philadelphia that refused to screen same-sex couples.  

Fillmore County in 2013 began requiring that the Swartzentruber Amish, who reject modern...

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LGBTQ youth of faith pray, bond at 'Beloved Arise' group

July 4, 2021

Jessika Sessoms grew up in a conservative Black evangelical family, attended Christian schools and often heard that being gay was an abomination, until she understood that she was queer while studying to become a missionary.

The 23-year-old from Florida came out publicly last year and has found healing and a sense of community after joining Beloved Arise, a Christian nonprofit dedicated to celebrating and empowering LGBTQ youth of faith.

Maria Magdalena Gschwind, 20, from Germany, credits the U.S.-based group for inspiring her to study Protestant theology in college...

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Amish put faith in God's will and herd immunity over vaccine

June 28, 2021

When health care leaders in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country began laying out a strategy to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, they knew it would be a tough sell with the Amish, who tend to be wary of preventive shots and government intervention.

Early on, they posted flyers at farm supply stores and at auctions where the Amish sell handmade furniture and quilts. They sought advice from members of the deeply religious and conservative sect, who told them not to be pushy. And they asked three newspapers widely read by the Amish to publish ads promoting the vaccine. Two...

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For 3 weeks, clergy and immigrants fasted to pressure lawmakers for pathway to citizenship

June 30, 2021

(RNS) — For about two years, Rosa Gutierrez Lopez avoided deportation by taking sanctuary in Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, residing in the Bethesda, Maryland, church just nine miles from the White House.

Now, Gutierrez Lopez — who is living independently with her children after she was granted a stay of removal — is urging lawmakers to enact policies that offer a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants like herself.

Lately, she’s been back in church — but this time, at Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, D.C., where she has joined...

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Portland Congregation Races To Get Members Vaccinated Before Oregon Reopens

June 27, 2021

Oregon is counting down to reopening as the state's vaccination numbers tick up. Governor Kate Brown has established a threshold to lift most restrictions: 70% of Oregonians need to have at least one shot. The state is expected to reach that number in the coming days.

But at Highland Christian Center in Portland, the mood is not one of excitement.

"It feels like a war," says Senior Pastor Shon Neyland. "It feels like a war of attrition."

Source: ...

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The American church needs to reckon with its legacy in Indigenous boarding schools

June 24, 2021

(RNS) — Over the last few weeks, devastating news has come out of Canada: Residential schools, also known as boarding schools, often run by churches, have been under investigation, and the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children have been unearthed in the process. The most recent discovery, of 751 bodies in unmarked graves at a former residential school in Saskatchewan, reveals the ongoing legacy of settler colonialism.

While the Canadian government and churches in Canada attempt to respond to this, First Nations peoples are demanding Canada come to terms with its history...

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Religious institutions step up to help after Surfside tragedy, special mass to be held Friday

June 25, 2021

SURFSIDE, Fla. – The South Florida community is eager to help the victims of Thursday’s condominium collapse in Surfside, including religious institutions.

Local 10 News has learned that many people who lived in the Chaplain Towers South building regularly attended temple at The Shul of Bal Harbour.

And just four blocks away from the collapse, donations are pouring in to The Shul Jewish Community cCCenter.

Source: ...

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Archdiocese of Boston gets first Vietnamese parish

June 15, 2021

NEW YORK – After decades of pleas Vietnamese Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston can now celebrate the Eucharist in their native tongue with the establishment of the archdiocese’s first Vietnamese parish on Sunday.

About 600 faithful filled the pews of Saint Clement Church in Medford – now a part of the Blessed Andrew Phú Yên Parish – for what auxiliary Bishop Mark O’Connell of Boston told Crux felt like “a big celebration” with a big choir, drums and dancing.

“At the Mass yesterday I was just full of gratitude about the timing and everything,” said Father Phong...

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Southern Baptists Narrowly Head Off Ultraconservative Takeover

June 15, 2021

NASHVILLE — In a dramatic showdown on Tuesday, Southern Baptists elected a moderate pastor from Alabama as their next president, narrowly heading off an attempted takeover by the denomination’s insurgent right wing.

The election of the pastor, Ed Litton, was the result of what was effectively a three-way standoff for the leadership of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. In the first round of voting on Tuesday afternoon, Southern Baptists rejected a prominent mainstream candidate and onetime favorite for the presidency, Al Mohler Jr., who received 26 percent of some...

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‘Transformational partnership’ — LDS Church donating nearly $10M to help Black Americans

June 14, 2021

In the most expansive move of its three-year partnership with the NAACP, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is donating nearly $10 million for three new educational and humanitarian initiatives.

President Russell M. Nelson said during a Monday news conference in the faith’s Administration Building in downtown Salt Lake City that the church will fund for three years a $1 million annual scholarship donation overseen by the United Negro College Fund that will help young Black students in the United States.

Beginning this fall, it will provide $5,000...

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Spirituality underpins migrant activism in US borderlands

June 8, 2021

Alvaro Enciso plants three or four crosses each week in Arizona's desert borderlands, amid the yellow-blossomed prickly pear and whip-like ocotillo, in honor of migrants who died on the northbound trek.

Each colorful wooden memorial denotes where a set of bones or a decomposing body was found. Over eight years, the artist has marked more than 1,000 locations across public lands dotted with empty black plastic water jugs and camouflage backpacks beneath circling turkey vultures.

“Anything out here can kill you," Enciso said. "A blister, a snake, not enough water.”...

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Houses of Worship Reconsider Their Real Estate During Pandemic

May 28, 2021

MIAMI—The biggest low-profile landowner in Florida is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Salt Lake City. The devoutly private faith is known to have at least 630,000 acres, including the massive Deseret cattle ranches in Central Florida.

The church seems to thrive with for-profit businesses they keep separate from their tax-exempt temples. But they're not typical.

"They've paid prices that other churches would not pay. Most churches have to raise their money on their own, they're not able to operate like that," says John Muzyka, a church real estate...

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Tulsa pastors honor ‘holy ground’ 100 years after massacre

May 31, 2021

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — When white attackers destroyed the prosperous Black neighborhood of Greenwood 100 years ago this week, they bypassed the original sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of North Tulsa.

By the church’s own account, the attackers thought the brick veneer structure was too fine for a Black-owned church. The mob destroyed at least a half-dozen other churches while burning and leveling a 35-square-block neighborhood in one of the nation’s deadliest spasms of racist violence. Estimates of the death toll range from dozens to 300.

Source: ...

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Alabama Lifts Its Ban on Yoga in Schools

May 20, 2021

For the first time in nearly three decades, Alabama will allow yoga to be taught in its public schools, but the ancient practice will be missing some of its hallmarks: Teachers will be barred from saying the traditional salutation “namaste” and using Sanskrit names for poses.

Chanting is forbidden. And the sound of “om,” one of the most popular mantras associated with the practice, which combines breathing exercises and stretches, is a no-no.

Source: ...

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100 years later, Black church leaders seek reparations for Tulsa massacre

May 19, 2021

(RNS) — On the first Wednesday in May, as the centennial of the Tulsa massacre approached, the Rev. Robert R.A. Turner stood outside Tulsa City Hall with his megaphone, as he does every week.

“Tulsa, you will reap what you sow and that which you have done unto the least of these my children, Jesus said, you have done also unto me,” said Turner, 38, the pastor of Historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church, captured on a video posted on Facebook.

Source: ...

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