churches

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Man Gets 25 Years in Prison for Torching Black Churches

Prosecutors: Holden Matthews, 23, burned down 3 La. churches to impress 'black metal' fans

(Newser) - Three Black churches in Louisiana whose roots stretch back to the post-Civil War Reconstruction period were burned to the ground in 2019, and now a 23-year-old white man is being held accountable for what a DOJ official calls "acts of hate." Holden Matthews, who pleaded guilty to three... More »

California Churches Can Open Sooner Than Expected

Gov. Gavin Newsom had initially said reopening religious gatherings could be weeks away

(Newser) - Religious services in California will look much different under rules unveiled Monday that limit attendance to 100 people and recommend worshippers wear masks, limit singing, and refrain from shaking hands or hugging. The state released guidance under which county health departments can approve the reopening of churches, mosques, synagogues, and... More »

Trump: I'll 'Override' Governors on Church Openings

But it's not clear what authority he has to do so

(Newser) - President Trump issued orders to the nation's governors to allow houses of worship to open "right now," saying he'll "override" them if they don't. The president made the unscheduled announcement Friday at the White House, taking no questions from reporters. He pronounced houses of... More »

They Gathered for Easter Services. Then Came the Cops

Ky. churchgoers who flouted governor's orders against mass gatherings ordered to self-quarantine

(Newser) - Pastors in Florida and Louisiana have been hit with charges for flouting coronavirus lockdown rules, and now a pastor in Kentucky, and his parishioners, are facing their own battle. Per WDRB , Gov. Andy Beshear had warned the faithful that anyone who mass-gathered over Easter weekend would be made to self-quarantine... More »

Cops on Defiant Pastor: He 'Has Chosen to Embarrass Us'

Tony Spell continues to hold church services in Louisiana despite virus mandate against gatherings

(Newser) - The Rev. Tony Spell said he would keep holding church services during the coronavirus pandemic until he was forced to stop. Tuesday evening found the Louisiana pastor once again preaching to congregants at Central City's Life Tabernacle Church, despite Spell being hit with six misdemeanor charges earlier that day... More »

Outbreak Affects Worship Across Asia

Many churches close, others advise faithful to avoid contact with others

(Newser) - In a popular Catholic church in the Philippines, nearly half of the pews were empty for Sunday Mass. The few hundred worshipers who showed up, the AP reports, were asked to refrain from shaking others' hands or holding them during prayers to prevent the spread of the virus that started... More »

A Disappointing 200-Year First for Notre Dame

There will be no Christmas services this year

(Newser) - The Nazis didn't keep Notre Dame Cathedral from celebrating Christmas Mass. Fire will. CNN reports the blaze that ravaged the Paris cathedral in April will prevent it from holding Christmas services, marking the first time that's happened in two centuries. Cathedral rector Patrick Chauvet tells the AP he... More »

Same-Sex Marriage Clash Ends With Church, Pastor Removed

Minneapolis congregation plans to continue

(Newser) - A Minneapolis denomination has evicted a church and defrocked its pastor over longstanding differences on same-sex marriage. The Evangelical Covenant Church voted to remove First Covenant Church and the Rev. Dan Collison, the Star Tribune reports. It's the first time that a pastor and church have been kicked out... More »

Suspect in Church Burnings Linked to 'Black Metal' Music

Holden Matthews, a deputy's son, accused of burning 3 churches in Louisiana

(Newser) - After police announced the arrest of a suspect in the burning of three black churches in Louisiana, two notable storylines emerged: First, suspect Holden Matthews, 21, is the son of a sheriff's deputy in St. Landry Parish, where the fires occurred. And, second, the sheriff says Matthews listened to... More »

Cops Make Arrest in Spate of Church Fires

Louisiana TV station says suspect in custody is a deputy's son

(Newser) - Police in Louisiana have made an arrest after suspicious fires at three historic black churches in a single parish, reports WAFB . The fires gutted the churches—all of them more than 100 years old—in St. Landry Parish in March and April. All were empty at the time, and nobody... More »

In One State, Black Churches Are Going Up in Flames

Federal and Louisiana authorities call it 'suspicious'

(Newser) - Black churches are catching fire in Louisiana, and it doesn't look like a coincidence. The FBI and other federal agents have joined state investigators after four black churches caught fire in less than two weeks, the New York Times . Three from the same parish north of Lafayette were suspicious,... More »

China Waging War on Christianity

Activists say Beijing is burning Bibles, shutting churches, forcing the faithful to renounce

(Newser) - China's government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations, destroying crosses, burning Bibles, shutting churches, and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China. The campaign corresponds with a drive to "Sinicize" religion by demanding loyalty... More »

'The Waster' Sending Scary Letters to Dozens of Churches

Police are investigating though no crime has been committed

(Newser) - As many as six dozen churches in two states are on high alert after receiving eerie letters signed by "the Waster." Over the last two weeks, churches of varying denominations in McMinn and Monroe counties in Tennessee, and Murray County in Georgia, have received a photocopied letter criticizing... More »

FBI Foils Va. 'Race War' Plot to Bomb Black Churches

Virginia white supremacists tried to buy weapons from undercover agent: FBI

(Newser) - The FBI says two white supremacists in Virginia tried to buy weapons from an undercover agent so they could carry out mass shootings and bombings at black churches and synagogues. Authorities say Robert C. Doyle, 34, and Ronald B. Chaney III, 33—whom Buzzfeed identifies as belonging to a white... More »

Suspect Charged in 2 of the St. Louis Church Fires

Authorities no longer suspect a hate crime

(Newser) - Authorities charged A 35-year-old black St. Louis man with arson following fires at two predominantly African-American churches earlier this month and federal investigators said they no longer believe the incidents were a hate crime. David Lopez Jackson was charged Friday in St. Louis Circuit Court with two counts of second-degree... More »

'Miracle Church' Targeted in St. Louis' 7th Arson

Authorities hope $9K reward will lead them to suspect

(Newser) - A church considered to be the first miracle west of the Mississippi River became the seventh to be targeted by a suspected arsonist in St. Louis early Thursday. Like other arson cases since Oct. 8, the front exterior doors of the rectory of the Shrine of St. Joseph were set... More »

Bombs Rock 2 NM Churches as Parishioners Gather

No injuries in Las Cruces; police say explosions likely linked

(Newser) - Police are investigating a pair of blasts that rocked two New Mexico churches where parishioners had gathered yesterday morning, though there were no injuries and damage was "relatively minor," authorities tell NBC News . One explosion came from a mailbox outside an administrative entrance to Calvary Baptist Church in... More »

600 Churches Say It's Time to Quit 'War on Drugs'

Group says it's the 'most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery'

(Newser) - The pope doesn't believe in legalizing drugs , but hundreds of churches say otherwise. The New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, a body comprising more than 600 congregations, passed a resolution during its annual meeting on June 18 to try to help alleviate the nation's drug issues... More »

Black Churches Are Going Up in Flames

Churches in Georgia and South Carolina are among suspected arson cases

(Newser) - "Churches are burning again in the United States, and the symbolism of that is powerful." So writes Emma Green at the Atlantic after at least five mostly black churches went up in flames over the past week following the Charleston church massacre. Investigators say the blaze that badly... More »

'Fight Churches' Let Pastors Duke It Out

Hundreds of evangelical churches allow fighting: film

(Newser) - "Can you love your neighbor as yourself and at the same time knee him in the face as hard as you can?" That question is posed in Fight Church, a new documentary about churches that promote mixed martial arts fighting among pastors, Huffington Post reports. The film's directors... More »

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