Friday Five+: Coronavirus edition 4/17

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

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1. THE FEDERALIST: No, COVID-19 Didn’t Suddenly Empower Government To Do Anything It Wants To Churches

"COVID-19 has touched every aspect of our lives, and our religious freedom is no exception. As the world deals with this pandemic, churches are finding creative solutions to minister to people in crisis. Yet too often they face unsympathetic or even hostile government officials, intent on needlessly shutting down their efforts.

Take Greenville, Mississippi, for example. During Holy Week, Temple Baptist Church found itself in the national spotlight after it invited congregants to safely gather and pray together, drive-in style, with congregants staying inside their cars.

That’s why my colleagues and I at Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in federal court on Good Friday on behalf of Temple Baptist. Eight uniformed Greenville police officers went to a Wednesday night church service and ticketed church members $500 apiece for attending a drive-in service that complied with state safety and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines."

In North Carolina, Guilford County changed the county’s stay-at-home order to allow drive-through church services just in time for Easter, although the County imposed numerous and specific requirements.

In Wake County, the county has issued new regulations targeting churches with unconstitutional restrictions on drive-through worship services.  No communion, no tithes, no (religious) literature can be passed through car windows, yet the same government order allows people to pay cash for take-out food at drive-through restaurants.

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2. SAMARITAN'S PURSE: Franklin Graham Statement on Objections to Samaritan's Purse Emergency Field Hospital Serving COVID-19 Patients in New York City

"Sunday, Christians worldwide celebrated Easter, commemorating the historic resurrection of Jesus. Tragically, this was also the day New York surpassed a death toll of 10,000 people succumbing to the worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19.

In recent weeks Americans have watched New York closely as the epicenter of this health crisis, accounting for nearly half of the country’s Coronavirus cases and deaths—more than 190,000 and 10,000 respectively.

It seems tone-deaf to be attacking our religious conviction about marriage at the very moment thousands of New Yorkers are fighting for their lives and dozens of Samaritan’s Purse workers are placing their lives at risk to provide critical medical care."

For more context, read this article from the Charlotte Observer. 

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3. THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR: An Appeal to North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper can lift the tragic quarantine that is devastating his state.

"An urgent appeal to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper:

For every COVID-19 case in North Carolina (4,500 estimated), 125 people have lost their jobs (500,000 unemployed across the state). You created this tragedy.

Your executive orders have quarantined healthy individuals for the first time in American history. Small businesses can no longer operate, and their employees are jobless. This may be a solution for your medical advisers, but the results are now devastating nearly every facet of our society.
You have also effectively denied religious freedom, a God-given and constitutional right. Now you are in the process of stripping all our freedoms, purportedly to protect us from ourselves."

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4. NC: Governor Cooper and protests

Did Governor Cooper issue an Executive Order to prohibit protests during his Stay-At-Home proclamations? The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know after a #reopenNC protester was arrested in Raleigh yesterday.

Click here to read more about protests encouraging Governor Cooper to #ReopenNC.

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5.TOWN HALL:Chemical Self-Abortions, the (Other) Looming Deadly Crisis

"When Congress passed the CARES Act, the largest economic aid bill in U.S. history, the legislation was widely criticized as slipping Democratic policy priorities and special interest giveaways under the mantle of coronavirus relief. With the ink barely dry, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for “Phase Four,” another massive spending bill, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushes back against any rush to take advantage of this crisis to enact unrelated agenda items.

One special interest potentially excluded from CARES, to their outrage, was the abortion lobby. The bill contains vital pro-life protections to prevent its massive funding streams from underwriting abortion businesses. If the abortion lobby’s ultimate dream succeeds, however, brick-and-mortar facilities will become obsolete. The next frontier is the expansion, via telemedicine and the mail, of so-called “self-managed” abortion (their term) using dangerous drugs – a supremely ironic turn for a movement that wields the coat-hanger as a fearful symbol of the time before Roe v. Wade. Chemical abortions, already 30-50 percent of U.S. abortions, could skyrocket."

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5+. NC VALUES VOICE: Featuring Dr Tom Phillips, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Join us on April 22nd at 7:30pm for our second NC Values Voice livestream, featuring Dr. Tom Phillips!

 

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ONGOING PRAYER: CORONAVIRUS

LORD, we pray to you regarding the health pandemic facing our nation and the world. Christ—you are the Great Physician—and we bring to you a solemn petition in regards to our physical, social, and economic health.

Protect our bodies and our nation as we combat the coronavirus. We pray that our leaders in office will be blessed with wisdom to make decisions in the interest of public health and saving lives. We pray in particular for the elderly, who are most at risk to experience complications when infected. We pray for all the medical professionals on the front-lines of battling this virus.

LORD, protect all of us from infection, and may you work through your Church in the midst of this crisis to help bring people to acknowledge you are sovereign and good. We pray deeply that people will come to salvation, and that our neighbors will spend their time wisely with their families praising God for our blessings.

We pray that this virus will quickly die out, that our public efforts—as communities and neighbors—will slow the virus' spread and impact. LORD, we ask for you to work through those individuals currently developing a cure, and plead that it may come soon. We also pray for all those who will be impacted by the economic fallout of the measures taken to combat the viruses. Be with individuals nearing retirement who will have their savings ravaged; be with small business owners and employees—particularly those in recreation, dining, part-time employment, and vacation industries—who may face bankruptcy and financial stress related to economic decline; be with our nation as a whole, as it sets itself on the difficult path of recovering physically and economically from this virus.

LORD, we acknowledge you are good, and that your provision for your children is unquestionable. May your inspired words remind us in this time of panic and anxiety:

"Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:25-34)

Amen

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Sincerely,

North Carolina Values Coalition

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