Religion news 10 September 2021

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Image credit: pxfuel

New religious alliance in favour of assisted dying

Rabbi Jonathan Romain and the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey have launched a new religious alliance to support doctor-assisted dying, saying that there is nothing in the Bible that directly prohibits assisted suicide from ending suffering. In an article in the BMJ, they say many people think that religious groups are relentlessly opposed to assisted suicide, but that is not the case. “There is nothing holy about suffering,” they write. “If terminally ill people do not want to live in pain in the last few months, they should be forced to do so for what purpose and who benefits in extending their lives?” Their article appears as the House of Lords prepares to debate a bill allowing assisted dying. Bishop John Sherrington, lead bishop for Life Issues for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has written an open letter inviting Catholics to pray for the defeat of the bill and urging more discussion and communication.

Multi-faith climate change pilgrimage to Glasgow

 A group of walkers led by Extinction Rebellion Interfaith Alliance have set off on pilgrimage to Glasgow to arrive in time for the Cop26 climate summit in November. Fifteen will walk the whole way with others joining for sections of the journey. The walk has been named Camino to Cop26 in reference to the Camino way pilgrimage route in Spain.

Justin Welby on climate change and social care

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has reiterated the Church of England’s commitment to being net zero on carbon by 2030. He revealed that he is eating less meat and has given up a diesel car. In an interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, he said the goal of the church was not pure divestment from fossil fuel companies: “We believe in engagement and not just divestment … We want to see companies change their behaviour”.

The archbishop also warned that the government’s plans to raise £12bn for the NHS and social care could pose a serious problem for low-income workers. Privileging wealthy pensioners over the poorest young people was not a people-centred policy and there was a need for intergenerational equity.

Death threats against organisers of Dismantling Global Hindutva conference

A virtual conference, “Dismantling Global Hindutva”, organised by more than 50 universities and departments in the USA and Canada, has come under attack as Hinduphobic. The organisers say there has been a campaign of “staggering hate” against them, including harassment, intimidation and death threats. They say the conference seeks to check “a far-right Hindu ideology” that they believe is discriminating against minorities and stifling debate. They reject the criticism: “Hindutva is NOT a religion, nor is it a synonym for Hindu cultural identity, or ‘Hindu-ness’. Hindutva is an authoritarian political ideology that historically drew inspiration from Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy”. The Hindu American Foundation has condemned the conference, saying Hindutva means different things to Hindus, from the spiritual to the political. RNS story here

New church rises from ashes of 9/11

The new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in New York, replacing the only place of worship destroyed on 9/11, is to be ceremonially lit today, 20 years after the attacks left almost 3,000 people dead. The sanctuary is built with translucent Greek marble, a marked contrast to the unassuming parish church that was crushed as the twin towers fell. It stands in a small, elevated park overlooking the World Trade Center memorial plaza, near the reflecting pools that mark where the towers once stood. The building project was beset by delays and financial difficulties, but it is expected to be finished and ready for worship next year.

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