Christianity

Rev. Warnock blasted for being a ’pro-choice pastor,’ but his position isn’t uncommon

December 18, 2020

Since the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the Georgia pastor and Democratic senate candidate, described himself in a tweet on Dec. 9 as a “pro-choice pastor,” he has drawn fire from everyone from his Republican opponents in the state’s Jan. 5 runoff election, to a host of fellow Black ministers.

Doug Collins, a GOP congressman Warnock defeated in a primary on Nov. 3, declared at a recent rally, “There is no such thing as a pro-choice pastor. What you have is a lie from the bed of Hell.”

But the Rev. Cari Jackson, director of spiritual care and activism at the Religious...

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The Radical Inclusiveness of Advent

December 18, 2020

On the dining room table in our house, a bundle of sage sits next to the Advent wreath.

Every night we read from our children’s Advent book, and then from Keepers of the Earth a book of Native American stories written by Michael Caduto and Joseph Bruchac.

I turn the Pandora station from Frank Sinatra Holiday Music to Powwow Dance in the middle of the day while I’m doing dishesbecause this is what an Indigenous Advent is like.

This is the way of walking two worlds with one spirit, one spirit...

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Drive-thru live Nativities are tailor-made for a COVID-19 Christmas

December 4, 2020

(RNS) — At the Nativity display outside Faith Church of Lafayette, Indiana, the baby will be laid in a manger this year, surrounded by friendly beasts — except for the donkeys. They bite. In the past, the camels have been known to kick.

The church’s Lafayette Living Nativity, which Faith has hosted since 1991, may be one of the few Christmas traditions that go off in usual fashion in a pandemic year.

“We’ve been practicing for this moment for the last 30 years...

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Christians look for new way to wait out pandemic during Advent

December 2, 2020

For Christians who celebrated on the first day of Advent Sunday, a holiday that is all about waiting has taken on stronger meaning as the pandemic stretches on.

For many, the challenge is to convert the anxiety of awaiting a COVID-19 vaccine that could be months away into “joyful anticipation” during the days leading up to Christmas.

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With more holidays ahead, Charlie Baker says ‘too many’ COVID-19 clusters are stemming from religious gatherings

December 2, 2020

During his first press conference following the Thanksgiving weekend, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that he has no plans to implement additional restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19.

But with more holidays on the horizon, Baker cautioned residents about in-person religious gatherings, which state officials have linked to hundreds of coronavirus cases.

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Appeals court allows Beshear to halt in-person classes at Kentucky's religious schools

November 30, 2020

A federal appeals court has upheld Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's order halting in-person classes at public and private, religious-based schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ruling Sunday overturns a U.S. District judge's temporary injunction that would have allowed religious schools to continue having students meet in classrooms.

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Major Environmental Wins in Louisiana Have Faith Leaders to Thank

November 23, 2020

On All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, religious leaders from multiple denominations gathered in a sugar cane field in St. James Parish where evidence suggests enslaved African Americans were buried. In 2018, archaeological consultants for Formosa, a company that plans to build a giant plastics manufacturing facility on the site, discovered unmarked gravesites.

Bishop Michael Duca of...

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Hate Has No Home In Ithaca, Local Faith Leaders Say

November 11, 2020

Following several racist and anti-Semitic incidents in Ithaca, local faith leaders are doubling down on ongoing anti-racist programming. While their approaches vary, they have a common message: Hate has no home in Ithaca.

In recent months, local religious leaders have invited speakers on anti-racism, organized anti-racist reading groups and have sought to...

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Rehoboth stands ground on Nativity scene ban, will fund inclusive display

November 6, 2020

Rehoboth Beach commissioners and Mayor Stan Mills voted Thursday to continue their formal ban on "private holiday displays" for the third year, a clear indication the city won't allow Nativity scenes or other religious displays on public property this holiday season.

However, this year officials authorized funds that will go toward creating a "holiday display that celebrates the cultural diversity of our great City," according to a Rehoboth Beach press release. 

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Vote, pray, wait: Faith leaders reassure congregations, call for full vote count as election remains uncertain

November 5, 2020

As the first polls began to close Tuesday (Nov. 3), the Rev. Cara Tanis logged off.

Instead of obsessing over election returns as they trickled in throughout the night, she went for a walk.

Tanis was joined by 50 to 70 people who attended “Walking for the Common Good” around Seattle’s Green Lake, carrying battery-operated votive candles and praying that every vote cast in the 2020 presidential election would be counted.

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Displays of devotion: Art reflects faith in northwest Ohio homes

November 2, 2020

Lord Ganesha greets visitors to the home of Jagdish and Shobha Patel in Holland.

A figurine of the deity is positioned prominently in an altar set into a wall just off the kitchen, depicted as is traditional with the body of a man and the head of an elephant. One of several such depictions that the couple displays in their home, this one in porcelain and in the characteristic style of Lladró, it serves a purpose both spiritual and artistic.

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For whom the bell tolls: COVID-19 deaths recalled with church bell, vigils, services

November 2, 2020

The Rev. Dwight Lee Wolter, pastor of the historic Congregational Church of Patchogue, New York, had been trying to come up with the most appropriate way to mark All Saints’ Day this year as the country copes with the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

A couple of weeks ago, he woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “Oh, my God, we have a bell,” thinking of his church’s 19th-century sandstone, five-story bell tower. 

“It was like, ‘Ring the bell once for each life lost in America.’”

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How do religious groups help America’s homeless vote?

October 21, 2020

The Rev. Kim Jackson ministers to the homeless in downtown Atlanta, and a hot topic of discussion among them — as it is among others around the country — is the upcoming election.

Usually, voting is low on the list of priorities for homeless Americans, says the Rev. Jackson. First and foremost, they’re “hustling to get food” and to find a place to sleep. But this year, her homeless congregants are fired up about going to the polls — and they’re encouraging other members of their community to do the same.

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