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Category: Entirely NewVia: tig • 9 months ago • 0 comments
By: Pope Francis (theweek)
Easter has mostly gone virtual this year amid the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, though there are some holdouts.
Pope Francis celebrated Mass inside a mostly empty St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City while people watched from home on their televisions. Normally, tens of thousands would gather in St. Peter's square to hear him deliver his "Urbi et Orbi" speech.
In the United States, Christians in the United States have mostly been preparing to celebrate virtually, as well, though some pastors are reportedly planning to hold in-person services in defiance of state restrictions, citing religious freedoms. "The president did not give me my rights to worship God and to assemble in church, and no socialist government or godless president can take that away," Rev. Tony Spell, the pastor of the evangelical Life Tabernacle Church near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told BuzzFeed News .
Spell is expecting more than 2,000 people to gather at his megachurch Sunday, claiming "God will shield us from all harm and sickness."
Other churches are trying to find a middle ground between holding gatherings and respecting social distancing guidelines by holding drive-in services. A federal judge in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday blocked an order from Mayor Greg Fischer forbidding such gatherings on Easter. Ruling in favor of a lawsuit in which a church argued that gathering on Easter is "critical," Judge Justin Walker said Fischer's "stunning decision" had "criminalized" religious services.