We've compiled the top stories of the week. Here's what you need to know:
Mass gathering bans: Some churches fight to meet, others urge compliance with gov’t guidelines
With health and government officials ordering most Americans to stay home and cancel all mass gatherings due to the coronavirus, a minority of churches have continued to meet, resulting in at least one pastor in Florida being arrested and another facing misdemeanor charges for defying orders.
A small group of pastors in Texas have chosen to sue over a judge’s stay-at-home order.
Some Christian leaders are appealing to fellow believers to use common sense and follow guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“At this point, holding public church gatherings in the midst of a public health crisis is not a defense of religious freedom — it is a defiance of common sense and the care of your congregation. Spread the Good News, not the virus!” — Tony Perkins, Family Research Council
At the same time, they pushed back against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s threat to permanently shut down churches and synagogues if they don’t follow orders, arguing it’s an overreach.
Christians, businesses serve rising needs during pandemic
Churches, organizations and businesses have stepped up to meet the rising needs of their communities as hospitals become overwhelmed with coronavirus patients and unemployment claims have spiked.
Graffiti Church served 2,000 meals to the homeless in New York, Samaritan’s Purse set up an emergency field hospital in New York City’s Central Park, companies such as Brooks Brothers began producing face masks and many have donated to food pantries.
Americans increasingly turn to prayer
Google searches for “prayer” skyrocketed throughout the world in March, according to a research paper on religiosity and the COVID-10 pandemic.
In the United States, a Pew survey showed that more than half (55 percent) of adults have prayed for an end to the coronavirus. Among those praying are Americans who do not belong to any religion, with 24 percent praying for an end to the pandemic.
Fear and uncertainty even led one MSNBC host, Craig Melvin of the “Today” show, to ask Bishop T.D. Jakes to pray on the air.
Idaho first state to ban sex change on birth records, males in women’s sports
Idaho became the first state to ban trans-identifying males from participating in women’s sports and prohibit sex changes on birth records.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed into law a bill requiring high school-aged girls to prove their sex through a physical exam, DNA test or testosterone levels test and another bill requiring birth records and other relevant official documents to note the biological sex of a person.
Record low number of Americans hold biblical worldview
A new study by the Cultural Research Center based at Arizona Christian University found that only 6 percent of Americans possess a biblical worldview.
Even among those who attend an evangelical church, only one-fifth have a biblical worldview.
Most Christians, the study revealed, are notional Christians, or “those who self-identify as Christian and who do not embrace eternal salvation through a personal confession of sin and accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior."
“Unless America experiences a steady increase in people reflecting a biblical worldview in their lives, America’s future is more likely to resemble that of nations characterized by moral and behavioral chaos.” — Tracy Munsil, associate professor of political science at ACU
In case you missed it
Christians in South India who were arrested while providing aid to poor
Glory Part 2 (Live) by Planetshakers (April 3)
The Encounter by Bri Babineaux (April 3)
Intentional Faith: Aligning Your Life with the Heart of God by Allen Jackson (March 24)
Spiritual Conversations with Children: Listening to God Together by Lacy Finn Borgo (March 10)