Atheist Republic News Summary: Cardinal: Churches Should Remain Open

1. Catholic Cardinal: Churches Should Be Open Since They’re “Essential” Services
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3091704590916379
Location: Worldwide

2. An Estimated 25,000 People Gathered in Bangladesh to Pray Away COVID-19
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3086689894751182
Location: Bangladesh

3. Brazilian church wins court battle to remain open despite coronavirus
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3081913281895510
Location: Brazil

4. 77% of White Evangelicals Say Trump Is Doing a Good Job Dealing With Coronavirus
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3082266005193571
Location: USA

5. Jehovah’s Witnesses Leader: COVID-19 Signals the “Last Day of the Last Days”
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3082443925175779
Location: USA

6. Catholic Priest Who Abused 30+ Kids Says He Should Retain Priesthood
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3079567968796708
Location: Australia

7. PA Lawmaker’s Resolution Says COVID-19 is God’s “Punishment” for Our Sins
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3091352854284886
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

8. Arrest in Bengal for selling cow urine as Coronavirus cure
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3079936175426554
Location: Bengal, India

9. 34 People Connected with One Arkansas Church Have Tested Positive for COVID-19
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3091658654254306
Location: Arkansas, USA

10. Saudi man, 2 Yemeni women arrested for mocking Islamic rites
https://www.facebook.com/130148817071986/posts/3084271014993070
Location: Cairo, Egypt

1. Governments around the world have begun to restrict access to any place where people gather in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, requiring the closure of any business not providing an essential service. These services are the very basics of what’s needed to keep society functioning, such as health care providers, first responders, grocers, agriculture workers, public utilities, and sanitation workers. Cardinal Raymond Burke wants to add priests and bishops to the list. In an open letter posted on his personal website, Burke responds to the crisis, discoursing briefly on the importance of avoiding the spread of coronavirus. "We turn to Christ to deliver us from pestilence and from all harm, and He never fails to respond with pure and selfless love. That is why it is essential for us, at all times and above all in times of crisis, to have access to our churches and chapels, to the Sacraments, and to public devotions and prayers."

2. People got together in Bangladesh to pray "healing verses" from the Qur'an in order to defeat COVID-19. “They held the Khatme Shifa prayers after dawn to free the country from the coronavirus,” [police chief Tota] Miah told AFP. He said organizers did not get permission from authorities to hold the session. The number of positive cases of the virus in Bangladesh is relatively low, though that’s likely due to the limited number of tests. If the virus spreads, however, we know what to blame.

3. A major evangelical church in Brazil has won a court battle to remain open despite warnings that large gatherings will help spread the coronavirus. The ruling came days after a prominent bishop from another evangelical church told followers not to worry about the pandemic because the devil was trying to create fear. Religious leaders around the world have closed places of worship to help slow the spread of the virus, but many evangelical and Catholic churches remain open in Brazil. Bolsonaro, who recently dismissed coronavirus as a media “fantasy”, has provoked widespread condemnation by defying medical advice and making public appearances with crowds of supporters.

4. According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of white evangelicals are at least somewhat confident that Trump is “doing a good job responding to the coronavirus outbreak.” The national average is 45%, roughly in line with his base.

5. In a recent video featuring Governing Body member Stephen Lett, he absolutely delights in COVID-19 because he sees it as a signal that Armageddon is imminent. "So the events unfolding around us are making clear, [more] than ever, that we’re living in the final part of the Last Days. Undoubtedly, the final part of the final part of the Last Days, shortly before the last day of the Last Days."

6. A Catholic priest in Australia who was convicted of sexually abusing more than 30 children says that’s not a good enough reason to give up his title as a priest. Vincent Gerard Ryan, who served a 14-year prison sentence for abusing dozens of boys under the age of 13 — only to be hit with another prison term for abusing altar boys — was interviewed by the nation’s ABC network. “It’s a duty. I’ve committed myself to it,” he said. “It’d have to be a very serious reason, unless I’m stopped by authority, for me to make that decision and at this moment I don’t see it.” In the ABC’s Revelation series, filmed on the eve of Ryan’s 2019 criminal trial, the paedophile priest is seen performing mass in his home, wearing holy vestments and blessing the communion wine and bread.

7. Republican State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz of Pennsylvania is filing a bill, House Resolution 835, calling on everyone to pray and not eat. Borowicz literally says that God sent this pandemic as a “punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins.”

8. A person was arrested from Dankuni in West Bengal’s Howrah district for selling cow urine as “cure for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)”. Mamud Sheikh was selling cow urine at Rs. 400-500 per container. Charges of spreading disease in public and selling noxious drinks have been slapped against him. Meanwhile, in Kolkata’s Jorasanko, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Narayan Chattopadhyay was seen distributing cow urine and cow dung to people as cure for COVID-19. The BJP leader claimed that he believes the disease can be cured by drinking cow urine.

9. The First Assemblies of God Church in Greers Ferry, Arkansas says that 34 people connected with the ministry have tested positive for COVID-19. All of them were in the building during a “recent children’s event,” though it’s not clear how recently that event took place. There is a post online, however, noting a children’s event at the church on March 6. Pastor Mark Palenske and his wife are among the infected. He's making it clear on Facebook that everyone should be listening to experts: This virus is highly contagious and it is no respecter of persons. It seemingly picks its victim at random, so it’s best to remain very vigilant in hygiene protocols to the very best of your abilities…"

10. Saudi police arrested a man for mocking religious rites after he had appeared in pictures prostrating to a woman, a police official said. The images went viral online showing the man in worship positions in front of the girl next to a mosque in emulation of the Islamic prayer. A spokesman for police in the holy region of Mecca, Brig Mohammad Al Ghamdi, said authorities had identified those involved in “this criminal act”. The suspects are a Saudi man in his 30s and a Yemeni female resident in her 20s as well as another Yemeni woman who took the photos and uploaded them on social media, the official said, according to Saudi news portal Sabq.

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