1642: "Walls do not a prison make." 2020: Neither do they make a church

Herb Strentz: Churches in the Des Moines area have found ways to remain safely “open” to their members and the community without resuming in-person services. The title references a 1642 poem by Richard Lovelace. -promoted by Laura Belin

Right after President Donald Trump’s aide Kellyanne Conway endorsed “alternative facts” in her January 2017 defense of false statements about the number of people at Trump’s inauguration, Amazon had two additions to its best-seller list: George Orwell’s 1984 and Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here.

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Two takes on Trump and the religious right: A farce or fright?

Herb Strentz reflects on President Donald Trump’s religious supporters as well as Christian voices of opposition. -promoted by Laura Belin

Take 1: A Farce—President’s ‘Trinity’ trumps Christianity’s

In the mix of politics and religion, President Trump has his own “Trinity” for his supporters on the Christian right, who in Iowa include our U.S. senators and governor.

While Trump strays from Christian principles of humility, sacrifice and service, he and his acolytes do have a threefold creed to offer their faithful.

Instead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trump F-S-H translates into Fake news, Satire and Hypocrisy.

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Staying 6 feet apart won't stop COVID-19 from spreading at church

Religious institutions across Iowa are now allowed to hold large services, under Governor Kim Reynolds’ latest proclamation related to novel coronavirus, which took effect on May 1. While most churches declined to schedule in-person services for this Sunday morning, some are looking at ways to modify their space or practices in order to resume face-to-face worship soon.

In mid-March, the governor temporarily prohibited religious or spiritual gatherings of more than ten people. Her April 27 order lifted that ban, provided that houses of worship “implement reasonable measures […] to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health.” Among other things, the department recommends that people practice good hygiene and adjust the layout so congregants not from the same household can “sit at least six feet apart.”

That advice is insufficient to keep those carrying the virus from infecting others.

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Celebrating Easter, Passover in a pandemic

Most Christians (aside from those in the Orthodox Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses) are celebrating Easter today, and Jews all over the world are in the middle of the Passover festival. But the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted holiday celebrations along with almost every other aspect of normal life.

Many Iowa houses of worship have adapted by live-streaming services or broadcasting them on radio frequencies congregants can hear from cars parked outside the building.

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Kim Reynolds' job title is governor. Not Christian faith leader

Governor Kim Reynolds has urged Iowans to “unite in prayer” today in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In a proclamation presenting elements of Christian theology as fact, Reynolds declared April 9 to be a “Day of Prayer” statewide. An accompanying news release invited the public to participate in the Iowa Prayer Breakfast, which was held virtually this morning. The annual event features Christian faith leaders.

Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg appeared in their official capacity at the breakfast, via separate video links. Speaking from the state emergency operations center with the state flag and seal of Iowa visible behind her, Reynolds hailed the effort to keep “glorifying Jesus Christ through the public affirmation of His sovereignty over our state and our nation.” From the Capitol building, Gregg observed that “Christ’s love for us” will never change, even in challenging times.

A public health emergency is no excuse for elected officials to promote religion, especially not a specific faith tradition.

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Steve King: Abortion, immigration, and religion

Ryan Bruner is an Iowan who is approaching politics with love. -promoted by Laura Belin

Holidays are a time of reflection. Thinking back on my childhood in western Iowa, there could have been no more perfect place to spend my early years. Within a three-mile radius from my childhood home was my whole world– school, church, family, friends. I rode my bike to school and walked a block every Sunday to a packed Saint Lawrence Church. My friends and I would race to our neighbor’s front yard to play football after school and leave our bikes unlocked by the street without a care in the world.

We grew up in a Midwest dream town. Neighbors took care of each other and set aside differences for the greater good of the community.

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