Religion news 12 November 2021

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Image credit: Karwai Tang/ UK Government CCLIcense2.0

Vatican calls for road map to achieve a climate change deal at Cop26

The Pope has warned world leaders at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow: “Time is running out; this occasion must not be wasted, lest we have to face God’s judgment for our failure to be faithful stewards of the world he has entrusted to our care.” The Vatican has called for a clear road map to address issues of loss, damage and finance which are key to achieving a deal. It hopes the final decisions will spring from a “genuine sense of responsibility towards present and future generations, as well as the care of our common home”.

Methodists appeal for help for vulnerable nations at risk from climate change

More than 20 global Methodist leaders have signed a joint statement calling on Cop26 to ensure financial support is given to vulnerable nations which must adapt to climate change. They say that the climate crisis is the greatest threat to life on earth and must be tackled and Cop26 must be a turning point. The highest emitters of CO2 must take the most action and vulnerable nations should get financial support to rebuild from climate related loss and damage.

MP at centre of drunk and disorderly claim is evangelical Christian

David Linden, one of the MPs accused of poor behaviour on a trip to visit the military in Gibraltar, is a born again Christian, who speaks frequently on the plight of persecuted Christians. Three MPs – David Linden, fellow SNP MP Drew Hendry and Labour MP Charlotte Nichols – were accused of being drunk and disorderly on a flight to Gibraltar, for a visit organised with the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme. The accusations came in briefings to several national newspapers but all three have denied being drunk. David Linden said the story was part of a bizarre Tory smear campaign and tweeted that he was “incredibly disappointed”.  He continued the visit alongside Drew Hendry, but Charlotte Nichol, who is on medication, came home early.

Moves to end religious segregated schools in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland government figures have revealed that there is no religious mix in around a third of Northern Ireland schools; and 70 per cent of pupils attend schools where there is less than a 1:20 chance of meeting a pupil from the other main religious tradition. The figures were released as Northern Ireland debates a bill for an integrated education system, with supporters saying people are moving away from identifying themselves in religious terms and society is facing the pressure of division. But the Catholic Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, told BBC Northern Ireland that he resisted the suggestion that the Catholic education sector were “recidivist, sectarian people” and believed there was a subtext that “if only Catholic schools weren’t here we would have a lovely little Northern Ireland”.

Bitcoin forbidden by Islamic scholars in Indonesia

In Indonesia, the National Ulema Council, a revered Islamic scholarly body, has declared Bitcoin “haram” – forbidden – by the principles of Islam, as it features uncertainty, wagering, and harm. It is reported that in the discussion, the Council agreed to endorse bitcoin as a digital asset if it could show a clear benefit. Invezz news says the ruling may prevent Muslims from investing in digital assets. It says crypto transactions in Indonesia amounted to $26 billion (£19.41 billion) in the first five months of 2021.

European Jewish leaders propose multi €billion fight against antisemitism

The European Jewish Congress has proposed that that all countries should commit a fixed annual proportion of 0.02 percent of their GDP to the fight against antisemitism. The Jewish News estimates that this would amount to £4.6 billion from the UK Treasury every year. The leaders also called for more laws to make antisemitism illegal across Europe. The report is the result of a three year research project between various universities. It suggests the money would go towards a variety of projects including greater security, monitoring of antisemitic incidents and the removal of antisemitic content online.

Mandatory vaccinations in US small businesses is “a sin against God’s Holy Word”

The American Family Association, a Christian fundamentalist organization in Mississippi, and the Daystar Television Network, an evangelical company in Dallas,   are taking legal action against the law requiring workers in small companies to be vaccinated by 4 January or face wearing masks and weekly Covid-19 tests. They say companies implementing the law would be committing a sin against God’s Holy Word, “wounding the consciences” of their employees and potentially causing them to sin. Deseret News, owned by the Mormon church in Utah, says similar law suits to halt the legal requirement have been filed in at least five other federal circuits.

Creating Connections: sign up in Manchester, Nottingham, Plymouth and Birmingham

The Religion Media Centre has launched a project this autumn to enhance religious literacy and understanding in a landscape often fraught with misconceptions and assumptions on both sides. Creating Connections, where Religion meets the Media features a series of events to improve links between religious groups and journalists in England. They are an opportunity to explore the way religion and worldviews are interwoven into community life and it is hoped that key stories on religion and belief will be brought to life and lasting contacts for the future will be made. Reserve a place using the links below. All events take place in the afternoon. The Leeds event was last week. Here are the next four:


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