Friday Five: Cooper and religious liberty, NC Values Voice, prayer, and more

Welcome to the Friday Five! Every Friday we share our top five articles, stories, and quotes for you to read and share with your friends and church families. 

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1. NC VALUES: NC Values press statement on Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 138:

"It is hard to understand why Governor Cooper continues to discriminate against churches, while he has opened up businesses.  Under his new order, no more than 10 people can go to a church service in the church building, although a retail business next door could allow up to 50% of its fire capacity into the store.  Telling churches they can only worship together outside, while allowing businesses to open their stores to 50% capacity is an undue burden on religious freedom and is unconstitutional. Churches are capable of exercising the same social distancing and safety guidelines as other retail businesses.  Governor Cooper should go back to the drawing board and correct his government overreach that targets churches and the free exercise of religious beliefs." 

- Tami Fitzgerald, NC Values Coalition Executive Director

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2. NC VALUES VOICE: NC Values Voice: Live with Grant Castleberry & Clarence Henderson

Earlier this week we had another episode of “The NC Values Voice”, a weekly 30-minute interview by Executive Director, Tami Fitzgerald, with a special guest. The NC Values Voice aired on Facebook Live and www.ncvalues.org/voice on Wednesday night at 7:30pm. Our goal with these programs is to inform and motivate our statewide coalition members with current, relevant information.
 
This week's program featured pastor Grant Castleberry & civil rights leader Clarence Henderson, two leaders who discussed North Carolina's planned reopening and the impact it has had on churches and christians. 

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3. CAROLINA JOURNAL: Hundreds of North Carolina churches might sue Gov. Roy Cooper

"About 400 North Carolina churches could join a lawsuit challenging Gov. Roy Cooper’s statewide stay-at-home order.

Cooper, who in late March ordered North Carolinians to stay home and all non-essential businesses to close, violated the constitutions of the state and federal governments by limiting religious gatherings, said Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, who’s organizing the lawsuit. He’s working with three lawyers and two constitutional law centers to file the lawsuit in state and federal court. About 30 state representatives said they would support it.

The lawsuit will likely be filed mid-week, the NC Insider reported Tuesday, May 5."
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4. DAILY SIGNAL: EXCLUSIVE: Trump Denies COVID-19 Funds to Planned Parenthood

"The Trump administration has acted to ensure that no funds from the new Paycheck Protection Program, set up to assist small businesses battered by COVID-19, will go to Planned Parenthood.

“President Trump is committed to ensuring Paycheck Protection Program money is used for saving jobs at small businesses, not getting the government into the business of funding abortion,” a senior administration official told The Daily Signal.

“While not all Americans share President Trump’s pro-life beliefs, there is broad bipartisan support for the idea that American taxpayers should not have to fund abortion,” the official said Wednesday night."

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5. DAILY SIGNAL: 3 Things to Know About Dallas Salon Owner Jailed Then Released

"The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of a Dallas hair salon owner who had been jailed for contempt of court after refusing to keep her business closed due to coronavirus pandemic."

"1) She was jailed for violating the stay-at-home order.

Shelley Luther was sent to the Dallas County jail “after keeping her salon open in defiance of state restrictions,” according to KXAS-TV, the NBC affiliate in Dallas, which reported that “Luther refused to apologize for repeatedly flouting the order, leading [a Dallas County judge] to find her in contempt of court and sentence her to a week behind bars” and fine her $7,000."

"2) Prominent Texas lawmakers defended her."

"3) Luther defended her actions."

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WEEKLY PRAYER: NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

Earlier this week during the National Day of Prayer, "President Donald Trump called for Americans to continue to pray amid the COVID-19 crisis Thursday, as clergy of several faiths prayed for the nation’s recovery in the Rose Garden of the White House. 

'As Scripture assures us, ‘The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save.’ I think it’s so true,' Trump said, quoting Zephaniah 3:17 during the ceremony marking the National Day of Prayer. 

'We are being reminded once again that God has blessed our land with heroes of faith,' the president said. 'On this National Day of Prayer, America is engaged in a fierce battle against a very terrible disease,' the president said."

Here is a copy of the 2020 National Prayer for America by Kathy Branzell, president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force:

Lord, we exist to give You glory. We exist because of Your glory, and in Your glory, as our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. We give you thanks and praise for every breath and moment You have given to us. We repent of our sin; for the shameful things we have done against You and for our silence when we did not speak up to proclaim Your Name, profess Your Word, or protect and practice Your will. We ask Your forgiveness. We pray that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will spread across our nation and the entire earth as we seek Your Kingdom and righteousness; as we walk in obedience to You, and in humble unity, love one another. Jesus, the Bible says that You are “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.” You have taught us to pray, commanded us to love, and commissioned us to share Your gospel of grace. Your glory fills our hearts and families, it overflows into our neighborhoods, workplaces, campuses, churches, entertainment, and media. We give thanks for our military and ask that Your glory would spread to, and through them as they preserve freedom around the world. We pray for our government, that all of our leaders and laws would be filled with Your glory, that they would magnify Your Holy Word and honor Your will and ways. We pray that Your grace and glory would spread to bring hope to the hopeless, and love where there is hurt and hate. God, use us as we pray your promise, that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” In Jesus Name, Amen!

To learn more about the National Day of Prayer, visit www.nationaldayofprayer.org/

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Sincerely,

North Carolina Values Coalition

 

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