Religion news 16 October

Image credit: Brooklyn unplugged

Religious groups in New York argue against Covid-19 restrictions in court

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn is taking legal action against an order to close 28 churches due to Covid-19 restrictions. It is making the claim on the grounds of religious freedom, saying church attendance should, be considered an essential activity. Three Jewish congregations are also taking action citing a “streak of anti-Semitic discrimination” in the decision to limit the number of worshippers.
RNS: Gov. Andrew Cuomo shuts down New York City yeshivas in virus hot spots

Public told to stay away from Remembrance Day cenotaph service

The annual march past the cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday has been cancelled this year to protect public health in the coronavirus pandemic. It is the first time in its 100 year history that the public have been banned from the ceremony. The service will go ahead for government and faith representatives.  

Church of England offers Comfort and Joy this Christmas

With 70 days to go before Christmas, the Church of England has produced a book of reflections and texts on the theme of “Comfort and Joy”, acknowledging that this year, it will be a season of consolation not jubilation due to Covid-19. It has also announced that it will provide a full range of online services through Advent and over the Christmas season, with resources for singing and ideas for children’s worship.

Austrian Catholic bishop insists ordination of women and married men “not excluded for all time” 

The Bishop of Innsbrück Hermann Glettler says many women have assumed responsibility in important areas in church life as well as holding leadership positions. But he says there is an inequality in the admission to ordained ministries that is difficult to justify. 

TikTok removes channel of Jewish extremist group Lehava

Tik Tok, the social media giant, has taken down an Israeli far-right group’s presence for ‘repeated violations of our community conduct regulations’. The Jewish Times reports that Lehava opposes Jewish-Arab coexistence and gay relationships.

Chinese Female Jesus’ stalks Indian youth on social media

Church leaders in India’s majority-Christian northeastern state of Nagaland are sounding the alarm following an aggressive social media campaign by a Chinese religious sect that claims Jesus has come back as a woman.  The Church of the Almighty God, also known as the Eastern Lightning Church, was banned  in China in 1995. The new messiah is a 47-year-old Chinese woman operating from New York. 

Former police station becomes Temple first
Leicester Live reports that a new ‘first of its kind’ Hindu temple dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman, is  planned for a former police station in the city. Hindus have been meeting in various locations in the city and hope to celebrate Diwali on 14 November in their new home – Covid-19 permitting.