AP: Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer funds, got $1.4B

AP: Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer funds, got $1.4B. “The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups. The church’s haul may have reached — or even exceeded — $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found.”

Phys .org: New evidence helps form digital reconstruction of most important medieval shrine

Phys .org: New evidence helps form digital reconstruction of most important medieval shrine. “The shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, the most important pilgrimage destination in medieval England—visited for hundreds of years by pilgrims seeking miraculous healing—has been digitally reconstructed for the public, according to how experts believe it appeared before its destruction.”

Adventist Review Online: New Adventist Encyclopedia Maps Church History, Looks to the Future

Adventist Review Online: New Adventist Encyclopedia Maps Church History, Looks to the Future. “In the past, church historians and scholars have struggled to find accurate and up-to-date information about the Adventist Church. As of July 1, 2020, that situation has changed. Thanks to the new [Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists], researchers will have access to the most current data. The ESDA is the Adventist Church’s first international online reference work, featuring more than 2,100 published articles on Adventist history and heritage written by nearly 1,000 authors from around the world. Article topics include Adventist missionaries, administrators, educators, institutions, global topics, beliefs, and more.”

Coronavirus funerals: Sri Lanka’s Muslims decry forced cremation (BBC)

BBC: Coronavirus funerals: Sri Lanka’s Muslims decry forced cremation. “Sri Lankan authorities are insisting on cremation for coronavirus victims – a practice forbidden by Islam. The nation’s minority Muslim community says they are using the pandemic to discriminate, writes BBC Sinhala’s Saroj Pathirana.”

Buddhist Door: Buddhist Digital Resource Center to Launch New Online Library of Buddhist Works

Buddhist Door: Buddhist Digital Resource Center to Launch New Online Library of Buddhist Works. “The BDRC’s new website, intended to serve as a digital resource for all three Buddhist vehicles—the Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana—will feature an enlarged collection of Buddhist texts in Chinese, Pali, Sanskrit, and Tibetan, as well as advanced tools for searching the expansive library and viewing works. The new website can currently be previewed as a public beta release, with an official launch planned for 1 August.”

Trump’s dilemma: How to prevent super-spreading churches (Politico)

Politico: Trump’s dilemma: How to prevent super-spreading churches. “One month after President Donald Trump ordered the nation’s governors to immediately reopen churches, his administration is facing a difficult dilemma. Clusters of Covid-19 cases are surfacing in counties across the U.S. where in-person religious services have resumed, triggering questions about whether his administration should reassess its campaign to treat houses of worship the same as other essential businesses, or leave them alone and risk additional transmission of the deadly coronavirus — including in communities that are largely supportive of the president.”

Online Pagan Rituals: We’re Learning As We Go (Under the Ancient Oaks)

Under the Ancient Oaks: Online Pagan Rituals: We’re Learning As We Go. “The last public ritual I attended was Denton CUUPS’ Anthesteria celebration on January 25. That’s five months and counting, with no end in sight. I haven’t gone this long between major group rituals since 2003. But the work of ritual goes on, pandemic or no pandemic. We still have Gods to honor and holy days to celebrate. Plus we’re 21st century Pagans – if we can’t be together, we can gather online. I’ve done video rituals for the Spring Equinox, Beltane, and the Summer Solstice. I’m learning the ins and outs of online rituals, and that’s what I want to discuss in this post.”

Western Michigan University: WMU researchers creating national database of religious response to COVID-19

Western Michigan University: WMU researchers creating national database of religious response to COVID-19. “Research underway at Western Michigan University will create a national archive of religious response to the pandemic. Funded by a University COVID-19 response grant, the project will also fuel the development of relevant coursework for students at WMU and other colleges and high schools across the country.”

A Database of Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibitions

Every time I decide I’m going to switch my Google Alerts from News sources only, something like this pops up: A Database of Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibitions. From the front page: “The first exhibitions of Dead Sea Scrolls took place in Washington (DC) around two years after their discovery. Since then, over a hundred scrolls exhibitions have taken place all around the world. The World Expo ’58 in Brussels (Belgium), the 1960 exhibition in Buenos Aires (Argentine), and the exhibition in Singapore in 2009 are just a few examples. This database aspires to include them all, and in doing so, proving a robust tool for researchers and journalists.”

Lion’s Roar: 84000 Buddhist translation initiative launches “Save Wisdom Now” video campaign

Lion’s Roar: 84000 Buddhist translation initiative launches “Save Wisdom Now” video campaign. “84000, a non-profit global initiative to translate the words of the Buddha into modern languages, has marked their tenth anniversary with a new video campaign titled ‘Save Wisdom Now’ that tells the story of the project. The organization is working to preserve the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, the world’s largest and oldest collections of writings with 230,000 pages ‘locked within the fading Classical Tibetan language.'”

Jerusalem Post: German-Israeli project to bring the Dead Sea Scrolls alive on the screen

Jerusalem Post: German-Israeli project to bring the Dead Sea Scrolls alive on the screen. “A German-Israeli project aims to bring the digitization of the Dead Sea Scrolls to a new level by June 2021, allowing scholars and the public alike to access and examine the 2,000-years-old materials as never before. Researchers and computer scientists have been working on the Scripta Qumranica Electronica platform for four years. The initiative is the result of a cooperation between the University of Göttingen (Theological), the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the Faculty of Humanities at Haifa University and the School of Computer Sciences at Tel Aviv University. “

Yahoo News: West Virginia sees coronavirus outbreaks in churches

Yahoo News: West Virginia sees coronavirus outbreaks in churches. “Less than a month after President Trump urged churches to reopen, West Virginia has reported a significant number of coronavirus outbreaks linked to houses of worship. According to the state’s public health office, a total of five churches have seen outbreaks.”

The Jewish News: New Website Fills Void of In-Person Jewish Events During Quarantine

The Jewish News: New Website Fills Void of In-Person Jewish Events During Quarantine. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made us feel physically distant to each other. We cannot congregate at our synagogues, community centers or summer camps. However, the Jewish community has not shifted away from community during the quarantine. Rather, we have been brought together virtually thanks to the Internet and streaming video conferencing. Three cutting-edge Jewish visionaries saw this 21st-century phenomenon as a prime opportunity to launch a website that’s a ‘one-stop shop’ for those interested in plugging in and learning or praying with a community of Jews anywhere in the country.”

AL .com: Birmingham schools, housing authority cut ties with Church of the Highlands

AL. com: Birmingham schools, housing authority cut ties with Church of the Highlands. “Hodges and Christ Health Clinic’s CEO responded today to the Birmingham Housing Authority banning the church and clinic because of a controversy over Hodges liking social media posts by the politically conservative group Turning Point USA. The services provided by Christ Health Clinic included free COVID-19 testing for residents of Birmingham public housing. The Housing Authority of Birmingham Division voted on Monday to no longer allow church volunteers and clinic workers to do work at public housing communities.”

Jerusalem Post: National Library of Israel to open access to 2,500 rare Islamic books

Jerusalem Post: National Library of Israel to open access to 2,500 rare Islamic books. “The National Library of Israel, in coordination with the Arcadia Fund, has announced a major initiative to open digital access to over 2,500 rare Islamic manuscripts and books, according to a press release from library on Monday.”