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Gov. Ralph Northam tells churchgoers they don’t need to be inside church to worship God

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Days after churchgoers filed a lawsuit against coronavirus restrictions in Virginia limiting in-person religious gatherings to 25 people, Gov. Ralph Northam told Christians ahead of Christmas that they “don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers.”

“Christmas is two weeks away. The holidays are typically times of joy and community. We gather together, we celebrate our faith, and we celebrate with family,” Northam, a Democrat, said at a press conference on Thursday, according to National Review.

He continued, “But this year we need to think about what is truly the most important thing. Is it the worship or the building? For me, God is wherever you are. You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers.”

“Worship with a mask on is still worship,” he added. “Worship outside or worship online is still worship.”

The governor then suggested that churchgoers had contributed to the spread of the virus in Virginia. “Quite frankly, we know that a lot of the spread is coming from this because these individuals that are in a place of worship and contract the virus then go out to their place of work or to the grocery store or the convenience store or wherever and that’s how this is spread,” he said.

As of Saturday, Virginia, which has a population of 8.5 million people, has had 278,615 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,409 confirmed deaths since it began keeping records. According to the state’s department of health, 36,942 infections were associated with outbreaks.

Amber Athey, an opinion columnist with The Spectator, criticized Northam for taking “a shot at churchgoers” and for “arrogantly explaining to Virginia residents how they are supposed to understand their relationship with God.”

“As many people of faith will tell you, the act of gathering is indeed a very important part of worship. Catholics believe, for example, that Jesus Christ is actually present during the Mass. For them, the Eucharist cannot be received during a Zoom call,” she wrote.

Athey quoted Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, as telling her, “Gov. Northam’s comments are a mixture of shameful ignorance and gross anti-religious bigotry. The worship of God has always had a public dimension. For Catholics, the physical reception of communion is central to the practice of our faith.”

During his speech, Northam also announced the new COVID-19 restrictions which will begin on Dec. 14 and will be in effect until at least Jan. 31, 2021, according to WHSV3.

The new restrictions include a curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. and a universal mask requirement.

All social gatherings have been limited to 10 people, down from 25 people. However, “this does not apply to religious services, employment settings, or educational settings,” WHSV3 reported.

For churches, the limit is 25 people, according to Culpeper Star-Exponent.

Three churchgoers from Culpeper County filed a lawsuit against Northam’s coronavirus restrictions last week, according to NBC29, which said, “One of the plaintiffs is a nurse and an essential worker who says she feels church gatherings should be considered essential.”

One of the plaintiffs, Ronald Lee Young, is a pastor of Alum Spring Baptist in Culpeper. “Northam’s restrictions are reducing the number of people worshipping,” Young was quoted as saying. “He is taking away our freedom of assembly.”
Sources:christianpost

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ഭൂകമ്പം ഫിജിയെ പിടിച്ചുകുലുക്കി, റിക്ടർ സ്കെയിലിൽ 6.0 രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയ ഭൂചലനം

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സുവ: ദ്വീപ് രാജ്യമായ ഫിജിയിൽ ഭൂചലനം. റിക്ടർ സ്‌കെയിലിൽ 6.0 തീവ്രത രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയ ഭൂചലനത്തിൽ നാശനഷ്ടങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടായതായി റിപ്പോർട്ടില്ല. 398 കിലോമീറ്റർ ആഴത്തിൽ പ്രകമ്പനം അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടതായി യുഎസ് ഭൗമശാസ്ത്ര കേന്ദ്രം അറിയിച്ചു. ലെവൂക്ക നഗരത്തിന് 340 കിലോമീറ്റർ കിഴക്ക് മാറിയായിരുന്നു പ്രകമ്പനം. പ്രാദേശിക സമയം രാവിലെ 11.35 ഓടെയായിരുന്നു ഭൂചലനം അനുഭവപ്പെട്ടത്. സുനാമി മുന്നറിയിപ്പുകളൊന്നും നൽകിയിട്ടില്ലെന്ന് അധികൃതർ അറിയിച്ചു. ഭൂചലനം ഉണ്ടായ വിവരം ജർമ്മൻ ജിയോസയൻസ് റിസർച്ച് സെന്ററും സ്ഥിരീകരിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്.

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Archaeologists discover rare 2,000-y-o oil lamp in Jerusalem’s City of David on Pilgrimage Road

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The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a rare oil lamp, with its wick still preserved, from under the foundation of a building erected on Jerusalem’s famed Pilgrimage Road soon after the destruction of the Second Temple almost 2,000 years ago.

The IAA researchers believe the bronze lamp, shaped like a grotesque face cut in half and estimated to be from the late first century or the early second century CE, was put in the foundation of the building in Jerusalem’s City of David for good fortune, The Times of Israel reported.

“This half of a lamp, and in fact half a face, which was discovered in the City of David, is a very rare object, with only a few discovered in the whole world, and is the first of its kind to be discovered in Jerusalem,” Yuval Baruch of the IAA was quoted as saying.

“It is possible that the importance of the building, and the need to bless its activity with luck by burying a foundation deposit, was due to its proximity to the Siloam Pool, which was also used in the Roman period as the central source of water within the city,” IAA archaeologist Ari Levy told The Jerusalem Post.

Speaking to Haaretz, Levy explained, “Foundation deposits, in general, go back to the dim reaches of antiquity. It was accepted in construction in general, to bring luck and symbolic defense of the building — and to cast fear and awe on attackers. Its significance was highly symbolic, not functional.”

Haaretz said the lamp featured a goaty male half-face complete with (half a) satyr’s beard and a horned forehead.

Only one other such lamp has ever been found in an archaeological context — and that was in Budapest, according to Levy.

Experts believe that Pilgrimage Road, where the building had been erected, is the path ancient Jews walked to reach the Temple Mount three times a year — in the festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

“The street was built during the period of Governor Pontius Pilates,” Levy said. “It was inaugurated around the year 30 CE and it was used for about 40 years until the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE.”

Baruch added: “Decorated bronze oil lamps were discovered throughout the Roman Empire. For the most part, such oil lamps stood on stylish candelabras or were hung on a chain. Collections around the world contain thousands of these bronze lamps, many of which were made in intricate shapes, indicating the artistic freedom that Roman metal artists possessed.”
Sources:Christian Post

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