Religious News From Around the Web September 6, 2021
Texas Churches Can’t be Forced to Close Under New Law; Catholics, Other Religious Groups Help Refugees; Nearly 60 Percent of White Evangelicals are Vaccinated; Coalition Defends Religious Nonprofit’s Right to Hire People of Shared Faith; Calif. Gov’s Attacks on Religious Liberty Lead to Five Court Losses
Texas Churches Can’t be Forced to Close Under New Law
Texas House Bill 1239 states that the government can’t tell religious outlets to close for any reason, even during a pandemic. Gov. Abbott closed gyms and schools statewide with tan executive order. While churches weren’t explicitly singled out, most fell under that “more than groups of 10” umbrella.
Catholics, Other Religious Groups Help Refugees
The Catholic Church, particularly in the U.S., has been “involved in the reception and establishment” of those seeking safe haven, participating in the effort with other faith-based aid groups and organizations such as the International Rescue Committee, said Bill Canny, executive director of Migration and Refugee Services for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “These are people who have been persecuted in their countries and they need new homes, their kids need to get into schools, they need to find work,” said Canny in a Aug. 25 telephone interview with Catholic News Service, speaking about the dire situation unfolding in Afghanistan.
Nearly 60 Percent of White Evangelicals are Vaccinated
An NBC News poll asking Americans about their vaccination status found that 59 percent of white evangelicals, a group long portrayed as hesitant to take the vaccine, were fully vaccinated. Just 13 percent of respondents told the news outlet that they had no plans to get the vaccine at any time.
Coalition Defends Religious Nonprofit’s Right to Hire People of Shared Faith
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has joined a coalition of 17 states in filing a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the religious liberty of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. The religious charity is seeking review of a recent ruling by the Washington State Supreme Court denying the faith-based charity’s right to hire employees who share its faith. “The right to the free exercise of religion clearly protects a religious nonprofit’s right to hire people who share the group’s religious faith,” Wilson said.
Calif. Gov’s Attacks on Religious Liberty Lead to Five Court Losses
“Although Plaintiffs appreciate the government’s significant interest in and efforts to protect the health and safety of its citizens, a pandemic does not delegate to the Defendants unlimited power to indefinitely restrict and suppress fundamental and inalienable constitutional rights and civil liberties, including the free exercise of religion, peaceable assembly, freedom of speech and the protections afforded by the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”