Religion news 14 Jan

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Raw response to Trump impeachment

The American House of Representatives has voted to impeach Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection, the first time a president has been impeached twice. And the commentary is rich in the use of scripture and Christian ethics.

Ten republicans voted in favour of impeachment. Republican Tom Rice (South Carolina) said: “It is only by the grace of God and the blood of the Capitol police that the death toll was not much, much higher”. Republican Adam Kinzinger (Illinois) said: I believe there is a huge burden now on Christian leaders, especially those who entertained the conspiracies, to lead the flock back into the truth.”

The impeachment followed the refusal of vice president Mike Pence, to invoke the 25th amendment, which would declare the president incapable of continuing in office. In his letter explaining the decision, he quoted Ecclesiastes that there is a season for everything — a time to heal and a time to build up, adding “that time is now”.

Jericho March, a Christian group which organised a seven-circuit march around the Capitol to “stop the steal” has now come out against the violence, deleting all pages on its website save one denouncement.

Brad Chrisertson, from Biola University, California, has observed what he calls “independent network charismatic” Christian groups which were enmeshed in the Trump movement. Read his article in the Religion News Service here

Imams urge Muslims to take the Covid-19 vaccine

Imams at British mosques will be asked to deliver a sermon tomorrow (Friday) urging people to take the Covid-19 vaccine and debunking fears over its effect. Minab, the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, says that concern regarding possible side-effects is not of sufficient strength to avoid taking the vaccine or render taking the vaccine impermissible. The board’s chairman, Imam Qari Asim, says that minority communities have continued to be adversely affected with some areas experiencing four times the level of infection than most white neighbourhoods. Minab has launched a nationwide campaign with imams to raise awareness about the vaccine and debunk myths surrounding the vaccine.

Size and quality of food parcels for hungry children condemned by bishop

The government’s announcement that families will be given food vouchers to feed children, instead of food parcels, has been welcomed by campaigners. It followed excoriating criticism of the quality of food given out by contractors, with pictures on social media showing minimal amounts with poor nutritional value. The Bishop of Burnley, Philip North, told the Church Times: “It is quite impossible to find words strong enough with which to condemn a situation in which private companies seem able to profiteer by subjecting children to hunger and in which Government appears once again to have failed in a core promise to keep our young people secure and safe at a time of national crisis.”

Dean of Christ Church Oxford faces another tribunal

The Dean of Christ Church Oxford, Martyn Percy, is to face another internal tribunal, the Church Times reports. The governing body of the college decided this on Monday after a complaint was made about an incident of alleged harassment in the cathedral in October. This follows three years of friction between the college and the dean, who was exonerated of charges at an earlier tribunal.

Archbishop of Glasgow dies aged 70 after positive Covid-19 test

The Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, has died at the age of 70. He had tested positive for Covid-19 after Christmas and was self-isolating, but the cause of death is unclear. He had been a bishop for 18 years and archbishop for eight. He was known for outspoken conservative views on sexuality, writing to David Cameron that the Catholic church would never register civil partnerships. He decried the media for its “secular and humanistic agenda”.

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