Praying across the divide – Old religious quarrels return as covid-19 lockdowns ease | International

Praying across the divide – Old religious quarrels return as covid-19 lockdowns ease | International

Jun 1st 2020FROM DEAGU in South Korea to Qom in Iran, Mulhouse in France and Sacramento in California, places of collective worship have often been

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FROM DEAGU in South Korea to Qom in Iran, Mulhouse in France and Sacramento in California, places of collective worship have often been accelerators of coronavirus contagion. Months later, with lockdowns starting to ease in the rich world, some religious groups have been loudly demanding a return to normality, and complaining that their needs have been forgotten.

In France houses of worship have opened earlier than planned because of a successful appeal by conservative religious groups to the Council of State, the highest administrative court. And the High Court in London has agreed to hear an appeal from a mosque leader in Bradford, a stronghold of Islam, who says stopping Friday prayers curbed his religious liberty.

The clash between religious and secular authority is felt most keenly in America. On May 29th the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reject an appeal from a church in California, South Bay United Pentecostal, against restrictions imposed by the state’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom. Conservative court members saw merit in the church’s complaint that the…



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