In today’s News:
LCMS President Harrison has a recorded statement
LCMS President The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison has recorded a statement to the church regarding the changing situations as states and communities face reopening. This follows a letter Harrison submitted to U.S.. Attorney General Barr asking him to safeguard religious liberty. Harrison’s address may be viewed on line at Vimeo, YouTube or lcms.org/freetobefaithful.
Minnesota Lutherans and Catholics will defy the governor
The heads of Minnesota’s Lutheran and Catholic churches say they will defy Governor Tim Walz’s executive order and reopen on May 26 — without adhering to the requirement of no more than 10 worshipers at a given service. Becket Fund law firm released a statement early yesterday evening on behalf of the the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Minnesota and the Minnesota Catholic Conference, citing the perceived hypocrisy of allowing retail stores, casinos, bars and restaurants to have a 50 percent capacity as a major reason to not follow the governor’s order. Both denominations say they plan to reopen with only about a third of their congregation inside during services, and they will follow social distancing guidelines.
The Justice Department warns California about its church restrictions
The U.S. Department of Justice has warned California Governor Gavin Newsom that his plan to reopen the state discriminates against churches and that “the Constitution calls for California to do more to accommodate religious worship and that the governor places an “unfair burden” on them that violates civil rights protections through “unequal treatment of faith communities.” In a letter to the governor, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, pointed out that Newsom’s plan allows a variety of businesses to reopen in “stage 2,” but does not allow churches and other houses of worship to reopen until “stage 3.” Dreiband stated that Newsom should allow some in-person worship under the current second phase of his four-part reopening plan. Currently, restaurants and other secular businesses are being allowed to reopen under social distancing guidelines but not churches, which are limited to online and similar services. A coalition of about 3,000 California pastors are committed to beginning in-person services on Pentecost, which is on May 31. Pentecost is the seventh sunday after Easter, and it marks the birth of the Christian church when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and followers of Jesus.
Two senators are demanding Planned Parenthood return $80 million
Lawmakers and pro-lifers slammed Planned Parenthood following a report from Fox News saying that the nation’s largest abortion provider applied for and received over $80 million in coronavirus funding. Fox News Tucker Carlson Tonight reported Tuesday evening that 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received a total of $80 million in coronavirus funding loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. Senators. Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri both called for Planned Parenthood to immediately return the funds in statements following the Tuesday night report.