Supreme Court weighs California's limits on church crowds during pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court is set to decide on a religious freedom claim from a south San Diego County church that wants an exemption from California's COVID-19 rules, which limit large gatherings for services.

Lawyers for the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista argue that the First Amendment's protection of the "free ...Read more

'We ask forgiveness from the dead': Why Jewish volunteers are washing bodies in a pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

PHILADELPHIA -- It used to be that David Kushner would receive a call to report to one of the area's Jewish funeral homes once every few weeks. In the pandemic, his phone has buzzed every single day, sometimes more than once.

Then, Kushner, 40, must rally the other members of the Chevra Kadisha B'nei Moshe. This all-volunteer group, which is ...Read more

A priest was saddened when the chalice his parents gave him years ago went missing. Suddenly, it's back.

Religion / Religious News /

BALTIMORE -- When the Rev. Jeffrey Dauses was starting out in his life as a Catholic priest, tradition held that the parents of a newly ordained young man should give him a special gift to mark the occasion: the chalice, or goblet, he'd use to offer Holy Communion to the faithful.

In many ways, Dauses' was more special than most. His working-...Read more

Spiritual Life: Will 'paddling our canoe' harder help in COVID-19?

Religion / Religious News /

"It's not going to do you any good to paddle harder." This piece of advice stays with me as I think about how to go forward when the coronavirus has changed so much of the world I knew.

I'm urged to pause in my paddling, and pay attention to the reality unfolding before me with its new needs and opportunities.

Tod Bolsinger, a professor and ...Read more

Justice Department warns California that coronavirus rules may violate religious freedoms

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Justice Department issued a letter Tuesday warning that California could be violating religious freedoms in its plan to reopen the state after the coronavirus stay-at-home order.

The letter from the Justice Department's civil rights division to Gov. Gavin Newsom listed several objections both to the original order and ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Veterans have made 'superhero' contributions for us

Religion / Religious News /

Americans love the idea of a superhero, someone possessed of supernatural powers used for the common good.

Joe Thomas, a professor studying this phenomenon, remarked, "They explain mystery. They model behavior. They inspire. They make mistakes ... and learn from them. They are life lessons. They give hope that no matter what the odds, even one ...Read more

Black Chicago churchgoers join one-quarter of Americans who say their faith's grown stronger during the COVID-19 pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

CHICAGO -- He was scared and had good reason to be. He was over age 60. He had health issues. And the global COVID-19 death toll was mounting.

So, as the Rev. Walter Johnson Jr. lay in the hospital bed, isolated from his family for two weeks, the doubt began to creep in. Being infected with the novel coronavirus pushed a man who has been ...Read more

Spiritual Life: Wisdom can be found in ambiguous situations

Religion / Religious News /

There is one thing about ambiguity.

Umm, no. By definition an ambiguous situation means there is more than one component. The factors differ and are not resolvable.

Take the phenomenon of light. It acts both like a particle bouncing around and like a wave flowing and bending around. Different actions at the same time, but not resolvable -- it'...Read more

Supreme Court sounds split in case on rights for Catholic school teachers

Religion / Religious News /

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court justices sounded split Monday on whether to broadly deny civil rights protections to hundreds of thousands of teachers in religious schools, as they heard cases involving two who were fired from Catholic schools in Los Angeles.

At issue is whether the Constitution's protections for religious freedom shields ...Read more

Have Torah, will travel: Zoom mitzvahs adapt an ancient Jewish tradition for the pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

PHILADELPHIA -- Traditionally, a bar mitzvah is held near a boy's 13th birthday. In Jackson Rosen's case, a short delay seemed prudent.

"He turned 13 in February," his mother, Jodi Rosen said. "I was worried about a snowstorm, so I picked an April date."

Then, after a relatively balmy winter, their plans were scrapped, instead, by the ...Read more

Light Notes: She steps up to bring 'big picture' into focus amid pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

On the count of ONE ... picture a busy mother of three little boys -- a woman who says she's 105 pounds soaking wet. Now, on TWO ... imagine her carrying a bulky ladder towering above her. On THREE ... smile at the snapshots she's creating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meet Krissy Benda who looks at the big picture when life seems out of focus....Read more

Detroit pastors keep the faith after getting the coronavirus

Religion / Religious News /

DETROIT -- The first week of April, the Rev. Kenneth Flowers had a slight dry cough, body aches and a bad headache. His 90-year-old mother he helped take care of had tested positive for the coronavirus a few days earlier, and so he asked his doctor whether he should get a test.

But, like many at the time, the pastor of Greater New Mount Moriah ...Read more

Coronavirus upends funeral services and mourning process. 'It's doubly devastating'

Religion / Religious News /

MIAMI -- Two months ago, Jorge Rivero thought he knew everything to know about running a funeral home.

But despite a 30-year career and a multi-generational family history in the death care sector -- his great grandfather was the first to get in the business with the 1947 inauguration of a funeral home in Havana -- Rivero said nothing could ...Read more

Light Notes: Time in a 'wilderness' may allow for reflection on life

Religion / Religious News /

So there you are, moving along just fine.

Maybe you're hiking in nature or strolling in the city. It could involve a long process or a fleeting awareness. Perhaps it's about your career trajectory or your retirement plans. You know where you are, what you are doing, what is helping you get to where you are going, and so forth.

And then it ...Read more

With mosques closed amid pandemic, Muslims celebrate Ramadan with family, helping others

Religion / Religious News /

MIAMI -- This Ramadan was supposed to be a special one for Ameen Dalal.

The 12-year-old's Davie, Fla., parents finally planned to let him fast for the full 29 days, instead of a week or two at a time. Their decision to include him in the fast, which most children don't begin until they have hit puberty, would bring him a step closer to ...Read more

An impromptu drive-through at a Sikh temple to feed neighbors now helps thousands daily

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- It started with 175 meals being served from a drive-through created outside the Riverside Sikh Temple.

Now, the United Sikh Mission and the Sikh community of Riverside, Calif., are giving out thousands of meals a day, have provided thousands of masks to the local community and are handing out groceries on the weekend.

Serving up...Read more

As Ramadan starts, Muslim doctors fight hunger, thirst — and the coronavirus

Religion / Religious News /

LOS ANGELES -- When Dr. Imran Siddiqui went to bed Thursday night, he set the alarm for 4:30 a.m.

As the director for both the Desert Valley Medical Group in Victorville and a nearby nursing home, Siddiqui's days have been long and stressful since the COVID-19 pandemic began its deadly assault on California more than six weeks ago. But it's ...Read more

Missouri Synod named in lawsuit involving the latest Lutheran university to close

Religion / Religious News /

KIRKWOOD, Mo. -- The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which is retrenching as it loses membership nationwide, has been named in a lawsuit alleging fraud and other claims stemming from the latest closing of an affiliated university.

HotChalk Inc., a California-based firm that helped Concordia University-Portland develop and support online degree ...Read more

Spiritual Life: In this pandemic make mid-course corrections to find God's path

Religion / Religious News /

A couple of decades ago, I learned a principle that has served me well ... when I don't forget to remember it. It is the simple term "mid-course corrections."

I first heard the phrase from NASA. As far as I understand it (I have had friends who really were rocket scientists, but I am not), when NASA launches a rocket, they are continually ...Read more

Adjusting to Ramadan amid a pandemic

Religion / Religious News /

PHILADELPHIA -- Like Passover and Easter, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will be fundamentally affected by the coronavirus, as the devout will be forced to accept shuttered mosques, virtual sermons from socially distanced imams and canceled communal feasts during this pandemic spring.

But when the holiday begins Thursday, one rigorous aspect ...Read more