Religion Archives - Page 2 of 11 - Alaska Watchman
 

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News and Stories that affect Alaskan faith and its free expression thereof.
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Pope Francis has named Juneau Bishop Andrew Bellisario as archbishop of the newly founded Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau. The announcement was made on May 19. In combining the dioceses of Southeast and Southcentral Alaska, the state now has just two dioceses. The other is in Fairbanks. Bellisario will oversee more than 24,000 Catholics in the 139,000 square mile Anchorage Archdiocese and more than 7,200 Catholics in the 37,500 square mile Juneau Diocese. Between the two there...

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Hundreds of California pastors plan to defy Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive orders relegating religious gatherings as nonessential. An open letter from pastors to the governor declares their intent to “begin holding in-person church services beginning on Sunday, May 31.” The May 7 letter, cites “a very long list of ‘secular’ exceptions” from the stay-at-home orders in California but no similar provisions for churches. Pastors will stand as a “counterbalance to unchecked regulatory action.” “The list also...

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More churches across Alaska are beginning to reopen under updated health guidelines released on May 8 as part of phase two of reopening the state. As of May 11, Alaska had just 53 active cases of COVID-19. The new guidelines allow for up to 50 people in religious services. “It felt so good to assemble together with a pure conscience,” said Pastor Aaron Richert of Church at the North Pole where the community held two services...

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The ACLU, including the Alaska chapter, claims to be very busy protecting fundamental liberties during the COVID-19 crisis. A series of recent emails from the national group boasts that during the pandemic their attorneys have filed over 100 legal actions for the release of tens of thousands of U.S. prisoners, the implementation of vote-by-mail and the right to kill unborn babies through abortion. On March 18 the Alaska branch claimed it was “actively monitoring” how...

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With extremely low infection and hospitalization rates from COVID-19, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced plans for phase two of reopening segments of Alaska. This allows entertainment and cultural venues to incrementally open as well as bars and fitness centers. Churches and social gathering also have expanded opportunities. “Our numbers are still pretty much the lowest in the country,” Dunleavy said during a May 6 press briefing. “I think we all realize that we don’t want to...

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Last month, the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, banned all religious services as part of the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. The ban applied to a drive-in service planned by the On Fire Christian Center on Easter Sunday. On Holy Saturday, Federal District Judge Justin Walker blocked Louisville from enforcing the ban against drive-in services. The judge noted that among the “essential” activities permitted were drive-up liquor pick-up windows, parking in a liquor store...

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They won’t physically gather in churches or city parks or banquet halls this year, but hundreds of Alaskans will join believers around the nation to bow their heads and turn to God during the National Day of Prayer. Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a proclamation recognizing May 7 as the National Day of Prayer, and stated that “faith has played a significant role in American history.” “Many Alaskans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through...

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Last week U.S. Attorney General William Barr instructed the Department of Justice to be on the lookout for state and local laws that violate the religious liberties of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Barr directed the DOJ to take action to correct these violations if needed. “Even in times of emergency,” Barr said, “when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and...

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Alliance Defending Freedom has defended a number of churches across the country that had their constitutional rights violated by state and local mandates aimed at addressing the coronavirus outbreak. At issue in nearly all cases is the need for governments to address religious institutions no differently than they would office buildings and retail establishments. To do otherwise results in discriminatory treatment in which churches are under greater restrictions than businesses. Americans cannot allow churches to...

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Following updated health mandates released last week by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Catholic parishes across northern Alaska have begun to hold religious services, including distribution of communion. A letter published on April 28 by Fairbanks Bishop Chad Zielinski lays out strict protocols for every parish in his diocese. The letter begins with an acknowledgement that the COVID-19 pandemic has created an “intense, growing thirst for the Eucharist,” and a “burning desire to be back to church...