Religion news 14 September 2021

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Image credit: © Mazur/

Former Church of England archbishops clash over assisted suicide

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has denounced assisted suicide days after his predecessor Lord Carey supported moves to allow it. In a statement to the British Medical Journal, Dr Williams warned medics that a change in the law would lead to pressure on many patients to take their lives and said the question was deeply troubling to  groups supporting the rights of disabled people. He said: “This country currently has an enviable record of progress in and provision for palliative care. Will this survive in the world of overburdened budgets if there are less expensive options?” The Assisted Dying Bill is scheduled to receive its Second Reading in the House of Lords on October 22.

The RMC zoom briefing this week considers the religious arguments for and against assisted suicide. 1200 Wednesday 15 September. sign up here

Global religious leaders consider response to impact of pandemic

Global religious leaders are meeting for the G20 Interfaith forum in Italy this week. Titled “A Time to Heal”, the conference is considering the aftermath of the pandemic for health, society and the economy, emphasising care for the vulnerable and left behind. Through workshops and plenary sessions, the leaders will also study racism and prejudice, climate change and peacebuilding. The IF20 first met in 2014 and allows leaders from different countries united by their faith to offer a different perspective on world affairs.

Fire at Didsbury mosque was a hate crime

Police investigating a fire at Didsbury mosque suspect it was caused deliberately as a hate crime. The fire caused minor damage to the mosque’s door but no one was injured. Two bystanders tried to put out the fire using their coats until the Greater Manchester Fire service arrived at the scene. The Guardian quotes Insp Shoheb Chowdhury from Greater Manchester police south Manchester district: “This is a dreadful incident which will no doubt have caused concern in the community and we are doing all we can to find who was responsible and continue to engage the mosque and those concerned in the community”

Pope pays tribute to resilience of Jews in Slovakia

On his visit to Slovakia, Pope Francis paid tribute to Slovak Jews for pursuing rapprochement and friendship , after a synagogue was demolished by the government in 1969. At a meeting in the central Rybné námestieSquare, where the synagogue once stood, he reflected on the history of the Jewish people as they suffered unspeakable acts of inhumanity by people who acted in the name  of God. “How many oppressors have said: ‘God is with us?’ yet it was they, who were not with God”.

Animal welfare food labelling must not disparage religion

Shechita UK, a campaign group for the “Jewish religious humane method of dispatching animals” has welcomed a forthcoming consultation process over food labelling reforms for animal welfare reasons. The UK needs to create its own animal welfare legislation following Brexit. Shechita involves cutting the throats of animals, in contrast to secular process of stunning first. The Jewish News reports the campaign’s warning that words such as ‘stunned’ or ‘non-stunned’ would be pejorative and misleading. The consultation closes on 6 December.

Thieves make off with grapes, pears and apples grown by churches in Missouri

In Kansas City, 1500 pounds of grapes grown by a Lutheran church to make communion wine, have been stolen from their vineyard. There was a 15 year tradition of harvesting the grapes in September so the wine could be bottled for the next year.  And at nearby St. Peter and All Saints Episcopal Church in Kansas City, four of its apple and pear trees were recently picked clean before the church had a chance to harvest them for a homeless shelter. The Associated Press quotes Lutheran pastor Mike Kern saying: “This wasn’t really about theft of grapes. We don’t care about the value. It was more of a theft of joy.”


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