The Turkish government formally converted a former Byzantine church into a mosque Friday, a move that came a month after it drew praise from the faithful and international opposition for similarly turning Istanbul's landmark Hagia Sophia into a Muslim house of prayer.
Yasser Sanchez has twice worked to defeat Joe Biden's bids for the vice presidency by building support for Republican candidates among his fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It wasn't hard. Now the lifelong Republican finds himself in the surprising position of supporting Biden — and repelled from his party, he says, by President Donald Trump. "We're taught to be steady, to be basically the opposite of the way he's lived his life," Sanchez said. Sanchez's view isn't as unusual as the Trump campaign would like.
President Donald Trump billed his trip to Ohio Thursday as a chance to promote economic recovery, but he quickly pivoted to a deeply personal attack on Joe Biden, even questioning without foundation the former vice president's faith in God. Even for a president known for his blunt criticism, Trump's remarks stood out and they signaled how contentious the campaign may get over the coming months.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked all its members in Utah to wear face coverings when in public, a request that comes as confirmed infections in the state increase. The Deseret News reports that the Utah Area Presidency sent out the request in an email on Friday evening.
Crowded bars and house parties have been identified as culprits in spreading the coronavirus. Meat packing plants, prisons and nursing homes are known hot spots. Then there’s the complicated case of America’s churches. The vast majority of these churches have cooperated with health authorities and successfully protected their congregations. Yet from the earliest phases of the pandemic, and continuing to this day, some worship services and other religious activities have been identified as sources of local outbreaks.
Crossroads Community Church Senior Pastor Jim Clark wants to keep his 1,500 parishioners safe during the coronavirus pandemic but he's drawing the line at a new California ban on singing or chanting at religious services. “I said enough’s enough,” Clark said. “We will be singing and praising the Lord. ... We don’t chant, but if we did chant, we’d be chanting, too.”
The president of Turkey on Friday formally converted Istanbul's sixth-century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and declared it open for Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had made the religious landmark a museum. The decision sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians. Originally a cathedral, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque after Istanbul's conquest by the Ottoman Empire but had been a museum for the last 86 years, drawing millions of tourists annually.
Churches connected to President Donald Trump and other organizations linked to current or former Trump evangelical advisers received at least $17.3 million in loans from a federal rescue package designed to aid small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Those receiving loans include City of Destiny, the Florida church that Trump’s personal pastor and White House faith adviser Paula White-Cain calls home, and First Baptist Dallas, led by Trump ally and senior pastor Robert Jeffress. City of Destiny got between $150,000 and $350,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, and First Baptist Dallas got between $2 million and $5 million, according to data released by the Treasury Department on Monday.
As Indonesia's virus death toll rises, the world's most populous Muslim country finds itself at odds with protocols put in place by the government to handle the bodies of victims of the pandemic. This has led to increasing incidents of bodies being taken from hospitals, rejection of COVID-19 health and safety procedures, and what some experts say is a lack of communication from the government.
As a young student, Hind Makki recalls, she would call out others at the Islamic school she attended when some casually used an Arabic word meaning “slaves” to refer to Black people. “Maybe 85% of the time, the response that I would get from people ... is, ‘Oh, we don’t mean you, we mean the Americans,’” Makki said during a virtual panel discussion on race, one of many organized in the wake of George Floyd's death. In recent weeks, many Muslims in the U.S. have joined racial justice rallies across the country and denounced racism in sermons, statements and webinars. American Muslims, Black and non-Black, are also having raw conversations like Makki's as they grapple with questions of racial equity, tensions and representation in their own faith communities.