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Coronavirus

Across US, houses of worship struggle to rebuild attendance

By David Crary — December 20, 2021
When Westminster United Methodist Church in Houston resumed in-person services late last year, after a seven-month halt due to COVID-19, there were Sundays when only three worshippers showed up, according to the pastor, Meredith Mills. Since then, attendance has inched back up, but it’s still only about half the pre-pandemic turnout of 160 or 170, […]

Troops find religious exemption for vaccines unattainable

By Lolita C. Baldor — December 20, 2021
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 12,000 military service members refusing the COVID-19 vaccine are seeking religious exemptions, and so far they are having zero success. That total lack of approvals is creating new tensions within the military, even as the vast majority of the armed forces have gotten vaccinated. The services, urgently trying to keep […]

On New York vaccine mandate, Gorsuch’s religious liberty maximalism comes up short

By Mark Silk — December 17, 2021
(RNS) — But the Supreme Court's free exercise jurisprudence needs fixing.

Americans are furious about vaccinations. It’s not helping.

By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush and Mary Ellen Giess — December 13, 2021
(RNS) — Listening, not anger, will help us get to where we need to go.

It’s the most ‘angry’ time of the year?

By Robert P. Jones — December 11, 2021
(RNS) — A new survey highlights just how angry vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans are with each other today.

The tone-deaf crusade for COVID-19 boosters

By Azza Karam — December 10, 2021
(RNS) — The solution is not boosting healthy adults in wealthier countries, but vaccinating the globe.

Residents fear sale of Monastery of the Angels, beloved Hollywood home to cloistered nuns

By Alejandra Molina — December 10, 2021
HOLLYWOOD (RNS) — Los Angeles residents say the monastery is 'loved by people of all faiths' and represents 'kindness in an ocean of distraction, indifference and preoccupation.'

Some pastors fear talking about vaccines. Bishop Horace Smith sees them as a blessing.

By Bob Smietana — December 9, 2021
(RNS) — Church leaders can play an important role in promoting COVID-19 vaccines to keep communities safe — if they build trust.

Survey: Americans concerned too many are seeking religious exemptions to vaccines

By Jack Jenkins — December 9, 2021
(RNS) — Most Americans support the existence of religious exemptions, however.

Court lifts block, allowing San Diego schools’ vaccine mandate to go forward

By Alejandra Molina — December 6, 2021
(RNS) — 'The 9th Circuit agreed San Diego Unified is acting in the best interest of students, as opposed to discriminating on the basis of religion, as the plaintiffs had claimed,' the district said in a statement.

After last year’s COVID closures, pilgrimages resume to honor Virgin of Guadalupe

By Alejandra Molina — December 3, 2021
(RNS) — This year, with more people vaccinated against COVID-19, Catholics across the country are once again gathering for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who has been a source of hope for many Latinos throughout the pandemic.

Why ‘sorcery’ was the fastest-growing search term on Bible Gateway in 2021

By Emily McFarlan Miller — December 2, 2021
(RNS) — The Greek word ‘pharmakeia’ has appeared in debates over COVID-19 prevention measures, particularly opposition by some charismatic and evangelical Christians to vaccines against the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Russian coronavirus-denying monk given prison sentence

By Vladimir Isachenkov — November 30, 2021
Father Sergiy was arrested in December 2020 on charges of inciting suicidal actions through sermons in which he urged believers to “die for Russia,” breaching the freedom of conscience and making arbitrary moves.

Court temporarily blocks San Diego schools’ vaccine mandate after suit filed by 16-year-old

By Alejandra Molina — November 29, 2021
(RNS) — The Ninth District Court of Appeals on Sunday (Nov. 28) temporarily blocked San Diego Unified School District’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate from taking effect, one day before students were required to have their first dose.

On a second COVID-19 Thanksgiving, how to find room for thanks

By Beth Kissileff — November 24, 2021
(RNS) — We can’t always immediately see the possibilities for growth that come out of a negative situation.
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