Religion News 19 June

The chaplain of Hertford College Oxford, Mia Smith, has posted a tweet picturing her holding the Bible and a poster saying ‘This book says Black Lives Matter’. She said: “We weep with those who weep and we stand in firm solidarity with those who mourn. As a community we have been actively seeking to learn from black and other ethnic minority voices… the fight against racism + structural inequality matters.

Hillary Clinton has accused Donald Trump of trying to “hijack” Christianity  after he posed with a Bible outside St John’s Church Lafayette during a Black Lives Matter protest. In an interview with Sky News, she said “the outcry by religious leaders… demonstrated clearly that nobody was being fooled”.

Premier Christian radio is reporting that the leader of Sheffield’s Hope City Church, Dave Gilpin, has resigned over allegations of racism. He admitted that he had tried to appeal to white people to join the church at a time when their numbers were dwindling. But he realised this was racist and acknowledged this had deeply hurt many people. He is returning to his home in Australia.

A High Court judge has ruled that life support on an 8-week-old baby boy in Sheffield, can be stopped against his parents’ wishes. The family has ‘profound’ Islamic beliefs and thought there was hope, but the judge Mr Justice Hayden, said he was satisfied that intensive care was futile and told the parents he was “so sorry”. The baby has necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) and has been in intensive care since he was three days old.

GLOBAL

The US Supreme Court has stopped President Trump’s plan to remove legal protection against an estimated 650,000 people who came to the country as undocumented immigrant children – known as ‘Dreamers’. The decision has been welcomed by faith groups who had campaigned on the immigrants’ behalf. The Religion News Service quotes the Rev John McCullogh, CEO of Church World Service “This decision is an important victory in the fight for all immigrants and part of a larger movement that demands justice, equity, divestment from racist systems and institutions, and investments in Black communities and communities of color,”.

A Russian Orthodox priest in the city of Yekaterinburg, who was suspended in May after dismissing quarantine restrictions as a “satanic plot”, has seized his former monastery with the help of Cossack guards. Father Sergei Romanov, is leader of the ‘tsar worshippers’, revering Nikolai II the last tsar of Russia. The cult believes in secrecy, masonic conspiracy theory, and visions of the apocalypse. He himself has served 13 years in prison.

In Mexico, Roman Catholics are attending secret masses organised like illegal dance parties. A report in the Guardian says around 12 people are invited at any one time, via text or social media, and given a password to be let in. Religious services are banned in Mexico because of coronavirus parties.  80% of the country identify as Roman Catholics.

The leader of a megachurch in Atlanta, Georgia, has apologized for saying that white people don’t recognize the ‘blessing’ of slavery and suggested using the phrase ‘white blessing’ instead of ‘white privilege.’  Louie Giglio, the pastor of Passion City Church, was speaking during an online church service on Sunday.