David Green, CEO of US craft shop Hobby Lobby, has kept many stores open, saying God will help them through coronavirus. The boss wrote to all employees, encouraging them to pray and saying he believes God will look after the company and that he appreciates all of his staff. The letter does not mention keeping stores open nor sick pay but says that his wife Barbara Green felt God remind her that God was in control and that he will "Guide, Guard and Groom" us "to be better than we could ever thought possible before now."  The letter had come under fire though for appearing supportive of colleagues at a time when several of its stores remain open in the US despite the threat of Covid-19 and many staff are not given sick pay. In a separate letter to store managers about the company's Covid-19 leave policy, Hobby Lobby says workers have to exhaust all other forms of leave before they are entitled to emergency pay - suggesting they have to take their own holiday days and former allowance of paid sick days. 

 

With hospitals worldwide stretched beyond their limits by the coronavirus pandemic, and some doctors acknowledging that life-and-death choices may have to be made or are already being made as ventilators run short, fears that Israel could face similar heart-wrenching dilemmas are growing among the country’s physicians and philosophers. “I hope we won’t get there, but if the time comes we could be forced to make decisions of life or death,” Avi Weissman, deputy director of Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, told The Times of Israel. Moshe Halbertal, philosopher and co-author of the Israeli Army Code of Ethics, said that he is deeply troubled by scenarios that may emerge. “They are tragic in the sense that any choice comes at a cost,” he said.

The Government has restated its commitment to defending freedom of religion and belief around the globe. Christian MP Jim Shannon used a parliamentary debate to ask Foreign Office Minister Nigel Adams MP how the Government was implementing the recommendations of the Truro report. Published last year, the report found that the persecution of Christians is so extreme it amounts to genocide in some parts of the world. It called on the Government to sanction countries that persecute Christians and introduce mandatory religious literacy training for Foreign Office staff. During the debate, Peter Grant MP said: “There can be no let-up in international efforts to safeguard freedom of religion and to prevent the persecution of religious minorities anywhere”. Fabian Hamilton MP pointed out that 260 million Christians worldwide face high levels of persecution for their beliefs in 2020, 15 million more than last year.