Norma McCorvey died in February of 2017 at the age of 69, but her voice spoke loud and strong this week through a documentary. Much of the film was recorded in the last year of her life and described what she called “my deathbed confession”. And what she confessed stunned many people—that she has switched sides in the abortion debate 20 years earlier because she was paid to do so! We know Norma as Jane Roe, the anonymous woman in Texas whose effort to secure an abortion went all the way to the Supreme Court. That resulted in the landmark and very controversial 1973 Roe v Wade decision granting women the freedom to abort a baby. That 7-2 decision was based on the constitutional right to privacy. McCorvey claims she was paid handsomely by Right to Life people to join their crusade against abortion rights. She contends that even though she personally never had an abortion, she has always been an advocate of a woman’s right to choose. McCorvey was baptized a Christian in 1995 and joined the Catholic Church in 1998.
The pastor of Cornerstone Church in Meridian, Mississippi, was declared the winner of the 18th season of “The Voice” on NBC this week. Todd Tilghman, a father of eight children, sang two songs, “I Can Only Imagine” and “Long Way Home” to take the competition and its $100,000 prize. Because of the Coronavirus, the performance was recorded in the empty sanctuary of his own church. Tilgman was coached by celebrity judge and performer Blake Shelton and was the first winner in 18 years to be a unanimous selection of the judges. Cornerstone Church is a Pentecostal church affiliated with the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee.
Two hundred miles north of Meridian, in Holly Springs, Mississippi, a fire broke out at the First Pentecostal Church. Authorities think it is arson; and they think it was set as a protest against the church which, they know, was protesting the restrictions on worship prescribed by local authorities. In fact, the church had filed a lawsuit against the city asserting that the pandemic restrictions on gatherings of any kind were a violation of their constitutional freedom of worship. Those who burned down the building spray-painted on the parking lot the words, “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits”. The situation was inflamed by the published decision of the appellate court and a public response by the mayor, both weighing in on the conditions under which people could safely return to public and communal worship. No arrests have been made.
President Trump took to his bully pulpit and then Twitter to announced that churches are now considered “essential” operations, This allows ministers to by-pass local or regional restrictions on opening for business—that is, worship. Other essential workplaces, such as health care, public security and safety, food production and distribution, and some manufacturing plants, have been exempt from the shutdown directives of state governors and mayors. Now churches are added to this list—bringing the President into sharp conflict with those same governors who are trying to control the spread of the virus. Even if the President and governors allow for churches to meet, most decisions on the matter are being made by local congregations themselves or the bishops that lead congregational networks; and most of them have opted for a delayed restart to public worship.
Muslims the world over celebrated the end of Ramadan with the traditional feast called Eid al-Fitr—an Arabic phrase meaning, “the festival of the breaking of the fast”. Ramadan is the ninth month on the Muslim calendar and is commemorated by refraining from normal activities like eating, drinking, and sex from sunup to sundown. Instead, practicing Muslims use the time to focus on spiritual fulfillment and the reaffirmation of their faith. Normally, the Eid al-Fitr feast is done in large gathering in mosques, but this year Muslims join with Christians and Jews to alter their practices because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The home became the chief location of their celebration this year.