Religion news 15 November 2021

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Image credit: Peter Van den Bossch, Wikimedia Commons CCLicense2.0

Young Christians’ anger at Cop26 missed opportunity

Christian climate campaigners have pledged to continue their campaign to keep global warming below 1.5C to avoid environmental disaster, after the closing resolution at Cop26 failed to curb the use of coal. At the final hurdle, India and China said the use of coal should be phased down rather than phased out, a concession that infuriated campaigners. They were also distressed at the failure to set up a fund for vulnerable nations to deal with damage caused by climate change.

The Young Christian Climate Network tweeted: “We are angry. It’s the last day of Cop26 and rich countries are still to deliver on the promised $100bn. Instead they express their ‘deep regret’. What?!?! $100bn is such a drop in the ocean for what is needed across the world for adaptation that this is a slap in the face”. Amanda Mukwashi, the chief executive of Christian Aid, said the 1.5C ambition was not dead but “it’s been placed on life support”. In a round-up of reaction, Premier Christian News quotes Heidi Chow of the Jubilee Debt Campaign: “Rich polluting countries have once again washed their hands of their responsibility for creating the climate crisis and betrayed lower-income countries by ignoring their demands for compensation.”

Meanwhile direct action continues. Four Christians poured fake oil over themselves at the Lord Mayor’s show in the City of London and were arrested. And the impetus for local action continues, with the diocese of Durham saying it will not invest in companies making significant revenues from fossil fuels.

Hours after the Cop26 resolution passed, Pope Francis told the faithful in St Peter’s Square that the cry of the poor and the earth resounded at the summit. He urged political and economic leaders to show courage and farsightedness.

Archbishop apologises to Ghana bishops who backed criminalisation of LGBTQ+

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has apologised for saying he was gravely concerned at the Ghanaian bishops’ support of a bill criminalising LGBTQ+ people. On Friday, he issued another statement, saying that he should have talked to the bishops before saying anything and affirmed that the global Anglican church believes homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture — a view agreed at the 1998 Lambeth conference of bishops. He added: “One of the key conclusions of the meeting is that human dignity is always paramount, and that cultural, social and historical contexts must also be considered and understood.”

Prince Edward to open the General Synod

Prince Edward will formally open the Church of England’s General Synod tomorrow (Tuesday), a task usually carried out by the Queen, who is supreme governor of the church. This is the first meeting of the General Synod in person since February 2020 and is the first of a new intake of members after elections this autumn. The Queen, who is 95, is resting on medical advice and was forced to miss the Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph and a meeting of world leaders at Cop26

Jewish women’s rights festival to counter toxic social media

The Jewish human rights charity René Cassin is holding a 10-day New Horizons Festival of Women’s Rights with Jess Phillips, Stella Creasy, Dame Margaret Hodge, Dame Louise Ellman and solicitor Harriet Wistrich among the speakers. The Jewish Chronicle reports that the online festival is designed to help counter “toxicity and violence” in social media, political or activist involvement or dating. It opens on Wednesday 24 November

Plea for Ethiopian Falasha Jews to escape famine and migrate to Israel

Protests have been held in Jerusalem to demand the Israeli government rescue Jews trapped in Ethiopia after a year of fighting between Tigray rebels and government forces has brought famine. AFP reports that Israel’s Ethiopian Jewish community, known as Falashas, number more than 140,000. In late 2020, the Israeli government authorised entry to 2,000 Falashas with families in Israel. The Falashas insist on aliya, or their “right of return”, an Israeli law that allows Jews from anywhere in the world to resettle and obtain automatic citizenship.

5,000-year-old sun temples discovered in Egyptian desert

The Telegraph reports that archaeologists have found four sun temples built about 5,000 years ago in the Egyptian desert. The report says it is thought that six sun temples were built by pharaohs in the 25th century BC to complement their pyramids, possibly in the belief that they could then become sun gods. Archaeologists have been looking for temples with a large courtyard surrounding remains of obelisks, which would catch the sunlight at dawn and its setting. The most recent find is of the base of a white limestone pillar on a site with beer jars filled with mud, thought to be a ritual offering. The findings are described in Lost Treasures of Egypt Season 3, on National Geographic.

Inter Faith Week builds links in diverse society

This is Inter Faith Week 2021 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, when the contribution of faith groups to society is highlighted in hundreds of activities in towns and cities. It is timed to begin each year on Remembrance Sunday and the activities engage interfaith groups and public bodies such as schools, hospitals, the police and youth organisations. This year many activities focus on environmental issues and projects which build links in a diverse society, on common values. The final Sunday (21 November) is also Mitzvah Day, a Jewish-led day of social action involving people of all faiths and none working together in their communities.

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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