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Arkansas church vows to continue services: ‘Jesus died with COVID-19 so that you didn’t have to bear it’

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An Arkansas church intends to hold church services despite recommendations from state officials to limit gatherings as part of the fight against the coronavirus.

Awaken Church, in Jonesboro, vowed in a Facebook post to continue holding services in defiance of a Health Department directive banning gatherings of 10 or more, and after churches in other parts of the country were the source of community outbreaks, reported Newsweek.

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“Jesus died with COVID-19 so that you didn’t have to bear it,” reads the church’s Facebook post.

“The first death of Covid 19 actually happened 2000 years ago,” the post continues. “The Bible tells us that Jesus took on every sin, sickness and every disease…Jesus bore it so you wouldn’t have to. Salvation provided forgiveness and healing…if you’ll believe it, you can receive it!”

The church insisted in a previous post that it would follow safe practices recommended by the Centers of Disease Control, but said that canceling services would violate their religious beliefs.

“For us to not have services due to a virus would be for us to go against our extremely strong convictions of the power of God to protect and the power of God to heal,” the post reads. “Jesus knew the world He was sending us into contained sickness and disease. Instead of telling us to retreat from sickness, He told us to go into the world and to heal the sick.”

Chad Gonzales, the church’s lead pastor, said the decision to continue service was “gut-wrenching” and not made lightly, and he would have complied if the government required cancellations.

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Arkansas remains one of only five states, and the only one left in the South, without a stay-at-home order active in any areas.


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‘Outrageous and criminal behavior’: Internet blows up at graphic video of Buffalo Police pushing over an elderly man

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On Thursday, footage emerged of police in Buffalo, New York pushing an elderly man to the ground, and refusing to help him as he lay bleeding profusely from a head injury.

The footage triggered immediate outrage on social media.

Horrible. I pray he’s ok. https://t.co/wL2gcNeAIT

— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) June 5, 2020

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WATCH: Protester bled from his ear after being shoved by police — cops say he ‘tripped’

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SHocking video from Buffalo, New York was posted online on Thursday after a large group of police confronted a lone protester -- and then violently shoved him.

"Shortly after Buffalo’s curfew started, city police and State Police swept through the area of Niagara Square directly in front of City Hall to clear the area where a protest was finishing. An unidentified, older man was hit shoved by two officers in the line. The man lost his balance and fell to the pavement, audibly hitting his head with blood running out from under his head," WBFO-TV reports.

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Trump aides are compiling candidates to replace Mark Esper if Trump decides to fire him: report

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On Thursday, Politico reported that although Defense Secretary Mark Esper's job appears safe for now, aides to President Donald Trump are compiling a list of potential nominees to replace him if the president changes his mind and decides to fire him.

"An administration official and two people close to the White House say staffers in recent days have pulled together a list of possible candidates for Defense secretary if Trump does choose to fire Esper," reported Lara Seligman, Daniel Lippman, and Meridith McGraw. "At the top of that list is Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who was Esper’s No. 2 before taking the Army job last summer, the people said. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), an outspoken Trump ally who has previously been considered for the position, is also in the mix, according to one of the people."

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