Weekly Briefing

Weekly briefing: Reopening businesses and churches, warning of famines, homeschool debate

Manhattan, coronavirus
Shuttered stores on Manhattan's Upper East Side in New York during the coronavirus outbreak, March 2020. |

We've compiled the top stories of the week. Here's what you need to know:

Division over reopening churches, businesses 'too soon'

Georgia reopened certain businesses, including fitness centers and barber shops, on Friday despite concerns expressed by some government officials and pastors.

President Donald Trump said he believes it’s “just too soon” to reopen this week as the U.S. now has over 880,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 50,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, the stay-at-home order has been extended in certain states, including Pennsylvania, which has caused some protests amid rising unemployment.

As Trump’s national plan to “open up America again” is set to launch in phases beginning early May in some states, Liberty Counsel is encouraging churches to reopen on May 3 for services while following safety protocols such as reduced seating.

“I think we obviously have to balance health and safety. But at the same time, churches are very essential. They always have been, and they're more essential now than ever.” — Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel

Pandemic could spark ‘multiple famines,’ rise in mental illness

The head of the World Food Program warned of “multiple famines” with some 300,000 people starving to death daily in the coming months during the pandemic.

The number of people suffering from hunger could go from 135 million to more than 250 million.

“If we don’t prepare and act now — to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade — we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.” — David Beasley, WFP executive director

The coronavirus outbreak has also triggered a rise in prescriptions for depression, anxiety and insomnia, and could lead to increased suicides.

“This is the greatest threat on our mental health in our lifetime. A combustible mix of fear, insecurity and quarantine. We’re very concerned about an increase in suicide, depression, stress and alcoholism [but] with the appropriate social, medical and individual response we can prevent the [mental health] curve.” — Dr. Roger McIntyre, director for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Dutch Supreme Court allows euthanasia for dementia patients

The Dutch Supreme Court ruled that doctors can carry out euthanasia on people with advanced dementia if they had requested it in writing before and even if they can’t confirm it later.

The decision comes on the heels of a controversial case where a doctor was cleared of wrongdoing after he euthanized a 74-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer's who had requested to be euthanized before her condition worsened. The doctor and her family had to restrain her when her body reacted to the drugs.

Harvard professor sparks debate on homeschooling after calling for ban

A Harvard Law School professor sparked debate after calling for a presumptive ban on homeschooling, arguing that it poses harmful risks to children.

Elizabeth Bartholet argued that it’s “dangerous” to allow parents to have “24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18.” She noted that most homeschooling families hold “conservative Christian beliefs” and that children should be exposed to mainstream culture.

“Children don’t belong to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. They belong to us, their parents. That out of touch elites fail to grasp these simple, self-evident truths should make us even more weary to trust them with control over our children’s education.” — Katy Faust, founder of Them Before Us

In case you missed it

Nigeria’s ‘genocide’: Who is helping the thousands of displaced Christians?

Tommy Barnett on most important thing he’s learned about Holy Spirit

Michael Youssef warns entertainment-driven church ‘making people feel good all the way to Hell’

Pray for

Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem which lost 11 members to the coronavirus in 30 days

Christians in India who are experiencing rising persecution

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