Relief groups on the scene after severe winter weather
Disaster Relief crews and other Baptist groups in Texas are working to respond after historic storms and cold temperatures left millions without power and water. “This is truly a statewide emergency in every sense of the word,” said David Wells of Texas Baptist Men. “Every city, every region of Texas is being affected. We are seeking to provide help, hope and healing as quickly as possible.”
Illinois lawmakers adopt controversial teaching standards
The state’s new Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards (CRTLS) touch on issues such as sexual orientation, gender identity, and race-based privilege in what supporters call an effort to encourage support for diversity in school age children. But critics said the standards, adopted Feb. 17, could infringe on teachers’ First Amendment rights.
Barna, Pew release research on Black churches in America
Two major researchers on faith have published new studies on Black churches and faith among Black Americans. Barna’s “State of the Black Church” report found 77% of people who attend Black churches agree “the pastors of African American churches are the most important leaders within the Black community.”
Pew found that 60% of Black Americans who attend a religious service at least a few times a year attend a Black congregation. And 61% of Black adults say historically Black congregations should diversify; 61% of adults who attend a Black congregation also agree.
Pro-life law suspended in South Carolina
A day after South Carolina’s Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill into law prohibiting abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, a federal judge issued a 14-day temporary restraining order against it. The judge’s action was in response to a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights, who sued the state the same day McMaster signed the bill.
Canadian pastor jailed for violating COVID restrictions
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission issued an explainer on the case of Canadian pastor James Coates, who turned himself into authorities after his church continued to meet despite gathering limits during the pandemic. Coates was to be released following a bail hearing if he agreed to comply with the restrictions, but remains in custody after refusing to abide by the conditions of his release.
Sources: Baptist Press, Texas Baptists, Illinois Baptist, Barna Research, Pew Forum, Associated Press, ERLC