Six feet away from God

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This episode is brought to you by us. Cellular there's never been a better time to switch to US cellular because now when you do you'll get fifty percent off. Select New smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S. ten or the Google Pixel for a great choice on a great phone. Now that's fair. Us Cellular Choose Fair terms. Apply in M- It's Thursday April ninth twenty twenty and the weather in DC is really turning. So I'm going to do this part of the show from outside. I'm Sean Rama's firm and this is your Corona Virus Update from today explains Dr Anthony. Fauci finally had some half decent news for the United States Today. Emphasis on the half. He's saying it looks like the death toll could be sixty thousand instead of one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand. Thanks to social distancing that is of course still a very staggering amount of deaths seven hundred and ninety nine people died in New York City since yesterday. The death toll in the city is now over twice. The number who died on nine eleven new research suggests that this corona virus started spreading in New York City as early as mid February. That was weeks before the first confirmed case. The research also suggests that the virus spread mainly from Europe Not Asia apparently Europe and the United States are outbidding Latin American African nations for medical supplies like masks and tests that means countries without enough. Icu BEDS also won't have enough tests and masks. And that news comes as Oxfam says around half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of this pandemic. Va Organizations asking richer countries to take urgent action to help nations in need. But of course that picture is a little topsy turvy right now. We got new jobs numbers today in the United States and other six point six million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week. That's on top of the ten million in the previous two weeks. Ten percent of the labor force is out of work and economists say. We're facing the worst jobless rates since the Great Depression. Meanwhile Congress is fighting over additional stimulus. Good news for Boris Johnson. According to a Downing Street spokesperson Boho is out of intensive care. He's now receiving somewhat less intensive care in hospital as they say over there and something to soothe all the baseball fans out there. The season was supposed to kick off two weeks ago today but then of course all this happened but whether or not you love or hate. The Red Sox Fenway Park's organised is still putting in work for you. Josh Cantor has been streaming a seventh inning stretch from his living room in Cambridge on facebook. You told The Washington Post. He'll be doing it every day at three PM Eastern until baseball returns or people start streaming standards and change one of the lyrics. We don't say I don't care if I ever get back and say I do care if I ever back because good Lord we want to get back to baseball and baseball games here. We go Off Aw thank you. My Dad's a Hindu and my mom's Catholic so my brother and I were raised Catholic and this was always a big week for the Catholics even bigger than Christmas. In a way. You've got palm Sunday. Today's holy Thursday. Tomorrow is good. Friday Sunday's Easter. There's lots of church. Some fasting followed by some feasting. Lots of chocolate. If you're lucky Passover also began at sundown Wednesday time to read the Harada drink wine and eat motte set. Seder. If you're Muslim Ramadan's around the corner. These are some holy holy days for billions and billions of people around the world more than half the planet's population. But this year they can't get together and worship in some places we found that religious communities have actively helped spread this virus win. They gathered together in large groups. Jack Jenkins has been reporting on how the major fates have been coping with cove nineteen for religion news service. You know one of the biggest early examples actually in South Korea. There is a religious group there that early on with traced to the spread of the virus. The church itself says that it is cooperating. Fully it's provided contact details of all of its members so that the authorities can follow up and health officials can check with them to see if they are carrying the viruses. These numbers continued to spike. And actually it led to the government testing all two hundred thousand members of that religious tradition. Because they can trace it back to their worship services But then here in the United States we've seen some things as well in the county of Sacramento actually a third of at the time when they reported this of three hundred odd cases of drove iris in that county and a third of them were attributed not only to faith communities in general but most of that third to one specific faith community in the region the church services online weeks ago. So the problem hasn't been people congregating here but at other people's homes for service so had another instance in North Carolina where multiple cases of the current virus were traced back to one gathering. The one church helped lead in Washington state. Although this church choir practiced social distancing two people are dead and dozens more sick the group rehearsed right before the health department recommended. No large gatherings in New York City their suspicions that early pure services among Jews. Who were very careful by the way really? There's a lot of anxiety about whether they should have even held those services and they went they call the WHO actually gave him the green light to do it There's a lot of you know looking back. Twenty twenty hindsight thinking that actually led to the spread of the virus in New York City as well and so we see a lot of these pockets of outbreaks of the virus across the country. You know rooted in religious communities and from the perspective of many Health professionals that makes sense the virus spreads when there's lots of people gathered in the same space. So how is the United States? Attempted to deal with this. I know it's a patchwork throughout the country where you have shelter in place lockdown type measures. Do you have exceptions for religious services or are they included? This is an interesting question. And it's one that has come up a lot recently on because it's all these governors are issuing these new shelter in place or Stay at home orders and some of them. Some of the earliest ones explicitly. You know outlawed religious services alongside any other large gathering but as time has rolled on. We've started to see some of these governors either issue stayed home. Orders that exempt religious services or even retroactively redesignated faith groups as quote unquote essential services. Now back here in Kansas. Lawmakers have reversed in order by the governor that restricted church gatherings. Most of them are already planning to stay home and pray together and watch services online. We just felt like it was a violation of their constitutional rights. To have the government. Tell them that they cannot participate in a church service in a couple of polls now that show roughly twelve percent of faith communities continuing to gather in person as of a week week and a half ago. We don't have the latest data on that you know in some states you can still have a church service or go to a synagogue. But you need to do it with ten people are less and those seem to be carve out specific small religious ceremonies whether that's a baptism or something of that nature where everyone in the church would also have to stand six feet from each other. So you're kind of seeing a really hodgepodge approach to all of this and then above. All of that is the White House which was really slow to address this issue. Early online vice president pence people were still going to church. What's your message to folks? Still heading outside of their home to go to church services well for Karen and I and I know the president. We'd been enjoying worship services online but they didn't actually come down until very recently last week. Vice President Pence did finally answer a question about this. We really believe this is a time when people should avoid gatherings of more than ten people and and So we continue to urge Churches around America to heat that. Are you seeing religious leaders? Rebel against these stay at home orders against the administration against their own clergy. He S We're actually seeing several points of tension here. The two most dramatic examples came up last week. Where we had the arrest of a pastor in Florida Anna Pasture in Louisiana who had continued to defy local authorities and gather in large groups of hundreds or in the case of the Louisiana Pastor as many as a thousand people gathered together at one place. Just hours after pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church and central was charged with six misdemeanor counts of disobeying. The power of the governor Tuesday service was still on schedule. This is an affront and attack. Full all Christians across the world and my entire congregation stands in solidarity with me as their shepherd we had an emotional time had water baptisms and a lot of people say today a defiant a Florida pastor arrested for openly blatantly violating a ban on large gatherings continuing to hold Sunday church services. You can see how it brown preaching to a room full of people many of them shoulder to shoulder in total disregard of the CDC's six feet social distancing guidelines mich- not about a virus is about the church being a essential service to the community. Since those arrests occurred. The State of Florida has now said that religious gatherings are exempt from their stay at home order and even the county in which that Florida pasture. was gathering his church. They've also issued an order saying that religious communities are exempt None of those orders or retroactive so on the asteroid is still going to face charges of endangering public health for continuing to gather amidst this pandemic and so there has been some tension between these faith groups and ruling authorities across the country. He refused repeated requests. Please don't put or five hundred point. Danger door they then go home and put thousands more endanger with the possible spread of this cove in nineteen buyers. When you close every door in this city will close this door. And we'll go underground but we are going to assemble and congregate as God fearing Christians. What is it that prevents these religious leaders adhering to these stay at home orders to the guidance from the White House? Even you get people who say that you know God protects them if they continue to worship or or you get people who argue that it's just simply part of their religious liberty and for a lot of these communities there. Is this concern that if you take me from my house of worship you're really taking away a lot of the the reason and the ability for me to exist in society as I as I have known it. My Name's Robin Freeman. And I live in southern California in Orange County and I was up visiting my parents In westlake village thousand oaks during this quarantine time and attended a church with them at calvary. Chapel God's Be Palm Sunday Can I call that the church I pulled up and all of a sudden I saw these news reporter and this one guy with a sign and said fake Christians on it and I just saw interesting? That people were protesting this when they find to go to the supermarket and get enough. I went to target last week and the checkout lanes. She was like coughing her hands. And then she would you know. Take my groceries and standing on the touching them like not okay but people at Church. That are too great job practice hostess saying that's not okay like where. I have trouble with that what they did that day at the church it wasn't in lieu of church service it was. You could just come take communion and then go back home so they weren't trying to gather masses of people together and spread the disease or anything like they took every school caution. Very every single employee was wearing a mask and gloves like everyone was six feet apart from each other or more. You know all the juice and the brand or just packaged like there was absolutely no contact. Anybody or anything you know. So yes even though they violated the governor's order like I wasn't fearful of that and I just think it's a believer is just to take part in that segment. I definitely miss not the church every Sunday. That's always they play for me and it's a place I can come and just kind of get rejuvenated for the week and you know it's wonderful friends at Church and I think a lot of people are very fearful right now and just you have no idea what's going on and while I have answers for how long ago last you know I just able to trust that. God is in control and he knows what he's doing I do trust that he's GonNa bring into this. I haven't loved being quarantined at all like I miss getting together with friends that having my normal routine and going to work and goes across church. Yeah but I really feel like my faith has just allow me to not feerick during this time that is at the garden state for allowing me to not these time after the break all the ways. People are worshiping without breaking the law. Right now this episode is brought to You. By great scrapes make classic styler sneakers that are ready to be worn wherever the day takes you who knows to the couch to the kitchen to the bathroom? 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That's amazing phones. Lake the Samsung Galaxy S. ten ee or the Google Pixel for a great choice on a great phone. Now that's fair. Use Cellular Choose. Fair terms apply check. Us Cellular Dot Com for details. Okay Jack we've established a few things here. It's a very holy time. For a number of religions. A handful of religious leaders are breaking the law but most of them are complying and a lot of them are innovating to. Let's talk about some of that. What are followers of Christ up to on this very holy week? One of the big images. That's come out of the pandemic. In general as this image of Pope Francis offering a blessing in an empty Saint Peter's Square in MD Vatican City on a couple of weeks ago Pam Orgy. Today we pray for the deceased for those who lost their lives because of the virus in a special way like us to pray for the health of workers that are dead recently. They donated their lives to serve the sick people and apparently that is also the plan for Holy Week. He will continue to observe all of the rituals of Catholicism in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican while a basically alone like when he was observing palm. Sunday this past weekend you know he was basically in this gorgeous church that's normally filled with parishioners in completely empty. Although I will note that his message in the midst of aloneness was for him to declare do not be afraid. You are not alone Sean. Gory Amir Maury deal in. Meanwhile you have these very different approaches to liturgy and worship among Protestants across the country In the here in the United States so if you are part of a small church they hold zoom meetings. Where you show up to worship. And this past Sunday people would waive their palm fronds into their computer cameras as worship began. And then when it came time for Eucharist or communion during the course of the worship you had particularly in the Presbyterian tradition where the authorities have spoken out and said this is okay. Each person brought their own elements to the table where they had their laptop their ipad. And when they said you now. It's time for us to break bread together. People picked up their doughnuts or their bagels and broke them and drink their coffee as if that were the wine all while looking into the camera together. Wow I mean as someone who was raised Catholic. That actually sounds like an improvement. I will say that I have. I have heard many reports that the bread is becomes significantly more delicious when it's in crispy cream donuts. They finally figured it out exactly and so. So there's there's that kind of creativity nets being built into this. You're also seeing a lot of worship services again go online and you're also seeing that Judaism as well you know. People will have multiple traditions have now embraced the idea of kind of this virtual. Passover Seder where while people can't gather in person they can you know again get on zoom in and you've had different Jewish authorities create principal haggas designed so that these are the order of worship for a Passover Seder the Union reform. Judaism created a guide for creative ways to get online and get involved helping people be able to gather together this. This is the holiday of all of the holidays in the in the year that most Jews are most likely to observe and that's because a heart of this holiday is really a story of hope. It's a story of our people who move from enslavement to freedom from anguish into a place of joy. And that's a story that I think we need perhaps more than ever before this year. No word on whether or not go have an empty zoom window for Elijah. There's a lot of questions about aldus will be expressed for different Jewish communities but alongside that are group's like say the ultra-orthodox who are not embracing technology and instead having more analog approaches to this you've had orthodox leaders here the United States you know outline very stringent and strict rules for how people can engage with. Seder's basically saying if you're going to invite anyone outside your immediate family into your home for Passover in has to be someone who absolutely is unable to prepare to a Passover Seder otherwise they have to undergo a two week quarantine in advance before showing up to the Cedar and they must maintain social distancing when they come in and they can't exhibit any symptoms of the virus when they appear and then in the meantime you have a Muslim traditions. You know who were kind of slowly going into this Ramadan season and and that's a little bit different because there's actually been a lot of conversation about how the Jumma prayer the Friday prayers that normally happened weekly for many Muslims. It's actually not okay. For according to most Muslim authorities to have virtual version of the tradition often argues that you have to have a certain number people physically present for that scenario while there have been some conversations among Islamic scholars. About the possibility of trying to you know try to do a virtual jumma prayer. The reality is that most of the authorities at this point are saying you're just GONNA have to fast from this for now and kind of do these backup prayers for lack of a better turn often happen. When someone can't physically attend a junior prayer as Muslims? We believe that our public health and our bodies have over us and that oversees the necessity of rituals that we have to do so in this case. We thought that the best thing was to not have services. Because when you're having you know hundreds of people coming for prayer you just need that one person who is sick to contaminate everybody else and we did not want to be the breeding ground for that. This doesn't super impact Ramadan in terms of fasting. Because it's already on the books that if you're ill or traveling you know the rules are amended for you during that time period but it certainly keeping a lot of Muslims from gathering together in a way that they would prefer what about people who don't have maybe the technology to attend virtual mass. Who maybe don't have a laptop with zoom capability or who don't have an IPAD. Or who have you know phones with bad reception in lag a lot? What are people who don't have the means to sort of update to this new normal? Do this is a big and serious question for a lot of communities and in some communities. It's notable that you would think would have a hard time with. This are not apparently for instance. The Amish are taking this pandemic very seriously and we now. Have you know a drive through testing facilities the Amish show up to enforce and buggies but in general you know it's actually? It's a big unanswered question. That a lot of people are figuring out on the ground and a lot of faith. Leaders are really struggling with right now if they actually get there if they get to that. Seder if they get to that Friday prayer or that Sunday Service. Do you know what leaders are saying right now about why this is happening. I mean what's the answer to like? Why would God let this happen right? The some people have made really dark arguments that this is the result of the sins of humankind etc most or taking a very different tack. You know these people were preaching about how this is a difficult time just as there have been many difficult times throughout history and then they say the second thing which is that while faith isn't always able to answer give a firm answer to the question of why would a pandemic sweep the globe fates are arguably built for prices. I mean this is where they are often at their strongest. In in their boldest is in the midst of any sort of disaster in this instance a health crisis. Many rabbis referencing to pass times. That Jews have encountered dimick's so have many Christians and again I will go back to that. Image of Pope Francis speaking alone in church talking to a flock of a Billion People. And saying you are not alone quota. Joel Happy Aquarium Meal Maury Sin. Ti Deal earned already knew that it's just helpful to be reminded on in the midst of a crisis that even if they're pushed in their own homes and not within the physical walls of of a mosque or Church or synagogue. They are connected to their community and that is the kind of spiritual connection that religion fortunes. Ooh Jack Jenkins is a national reporter for Religion News Service and he's now an author to. He's got a new book. If you're looking for something read it's called American prophets the religious roots of progressive politics and the ongoing fight for the soul of the country. What a title. I'm Sean Rotherham. Explained

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