Saturday, May 16, 2020:
Here are the latest headlines, brought to you by The Christian Post.
— 'Safe harbor' rule protecting churches that received COVID-19 loans
The Small Business Administration and the U.S. Treasury issued a “safe harbor” this week to churches, businesses and other organizations that received small coronavirus relief loans under the CARES Act and now fear that their loan requests could be considered unnecessary.
Amid a changing landscape of requirements to receive federal Paycheck Protection loans, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission praised the SBA’s guidance Wednesday giving certainty to organizations that have received Paycheck Protection Program loans of less than $2 million.
The guidance states that borrowers of principal amounts of less than $2 million “will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith” and will not be required to pay those loans back as long as they follow certain rules governing loan forgiveness eligibility.
— Minority of pastors feel ‘very well equipped’ to lead during pandemic
While most pastors feel “somewhat equipped” to help steer their congregants through the coronavirus pandemic, only a minority say they feel “very well equipped” to lead in the crisis, according to a new study.
Experts examined what it has looked like as American churches have weathered the pandemic and found that only three in 10 or 30% of pastors say they feel “very well-equipped,” to help their congregants through their present mental and emotional troubles, according to recent research by Barna.
The majority, 64% say they feel “somewhat equipped,” while a remaining 6% say they are “not well-equipped” at all to help their congregants with mental and emotional issues.
— Lawmakers urge Pentagon to protect Christians in military
Twenty members of Congress have signed onto a letter urging Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to protect Christian military service members who are under threat from a secular legal organization that's calling on the military to punish them for sharing their Christian faith.
Led by Reps. Doug Collins, R-Ga., and Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., they and 18 other Republican House members have signed a joint letter asking the Pentagon to protect the religious liberty of service members from the demands of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation which is calling for the court-martial of two service members who publicly shared their faith as members of the military.
One soldier preached and sang hymns from his base apartment balcony on Sundays, the other, a chaplain, shared John Piper’s new book, Coronavirus and Christ, with other chaplains.
— Christian groups sue NC Gov. Cooper over restrictions on indoor services
Two congregations, a pastor and a conservative Christian group are suing North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper for a broader exemption to a state order banning indoor gatherings of more than 10 people.
Berean Baptist Church of Winston-Salem and People’s Baptist Church in Greenville joined the Christian conservative mobilization network Return America in filing a complaint Thursday with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The Christian groups are seeking injunctive relief from state executive orders aimed at combatting the spread of the coronavirus by limiting mass gatherings, including church services.
— 9th Circuit revives church's lawsuit against Calif. abortion insurance mandate
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has revived a California church’s lawsuit against a state law mandating insurance coverage for abortion.
Skyline Wesleyan Church of La Mesa sued the California Department of Managed Health Care over letters from 2014 stating that insurance companies could not restrict abortion coverage.
In January, the Trump administration warned California that it will revoke federal funding over its requirement that all health insurance plans in the state cover abortion.
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