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May 22, 2020: Church arson attack, Planned Parenthood, Templeton Prize

May 22, 2020: Church arson attack, Planned Parenthood, Templeton Prize

Friday, May 22, 2020:

Here are the latest headlines, brought to you by The Christian Post.

— Miss. church burned down in arson attack

A church in Holly Springs, Mississippi, that filed a lawsuit against a town ban on worship gatherings was destroyed by an arson fire Wednesday morning. Investigators found cans of spray paint on the ground with graffiti on the pavement of the church parking lot reads: “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits,” with hypocrites misspelled.

Police in Holly Springs had previously threatened churchgoers with criminal citations for continuing to attend a mid-week Bible study and an Easter Sunday service. In late April, a federal judge sided with the church and ruled that its congregants have the right to hold drive-in services. However, the church’s legal push for the right to have full in-person services is still pending.

French government ordered to lift coronavirus lockdown ban on churches

France’s supreme court for administrative justice has ruled that the government’s absolute ban on religious gatherings in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19 is unlawful and ordered the government to relax restrictions on religious worship. 

In a ruling Monday, the French Council of State said “the general and absolute prohibition [on religious gatherings] is disproportionate” when the government has allowed gatherings of fewer than 10 people for secular instances.

NIH head Francis Collins wins $1.3M Templeton Prize

U.S. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, a devout Christian geneticist, is the 2020 winner of the Templeton Prize, a financial award of $1.3 million that honors his storied career of using science to advocate for the “integration of faith and reason.”

Collins, 70, has advanced that vision throughout his career as he led the Human Genome Project to its successful completion in 2003. The project resulted in the mapping and sequencing of the 3 billion DNA letters that make up the human genetic instruction book.

His turning point with God came in 1976 while he was a third-year medical student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He began searching for God after one of his patients asked him about his faith and he was unable to give an honest answer despite his atheism.

— Senators demand Planned Parenthood return $80M in PPP loans

Republican Senators are demanding that the nation's largest abortion business return $80 million in coronavirus relief loans that its affiliates applied for and received despite their ineligibility.  

Thirty-seven Planned Parenthood affiliates received Paycheck Protection Program loans even though the organization has over $2 billion in net assets and doesn't meet the qualifications for the program which was intended for small businesses. 

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said the funds must be returned and an investigation opened to find out how Planned Parenthood was able to get the loans since “these loans were made in clear violation of the applicable affiliation rules” and whether “Planned Parenthood, the banks, or staff at the Small Business Association knowingly violated the law.”

Calif. megachurch initiative distributes $44K in groceries to families in need

Many churches across the United States are partnering with local organizations to provide food to hundreds of people in need in their communities as the coronavirus pandemic has caused economic hardship and food insecurity for many families. 

The five-campus Rock Church in Southern California partnered with local support groups and the city of El Cajon to distribute over $44,500 in groceries to hundreds in the San Diego suburb who are in need. 

The Rock Church distribution was funded by the city in partnership with local nonprofits Home of Guiding Hands and Step Into Success. The effort resulted in the distribution of 48,000 pounds of groceries to 445 households, according to an announcement from the church.

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