Religion News 16 June

Pic: The Free Press

The Bishop of St Asaph, in north Wales, says the two statues of the explorer of Africa, Henry Morton Stanley, should be taken down. The Rt Rev Gregory Cameron told Premier Christian Radio that they were only put up in 2010 and 2011 and he had protested then. Stanley was born in Denbigh and travelled through Africa looking for Dr David Livingstone greeting him with the now famous words ‘Dr Livingstone I presume’’. The bishop said Stanley had cheated African leaders out of their sovereignty and set up a brutal rubber production industry in the Congo, adding that he represented nothing that should be celebrated.

The Church Times is reporting that the former Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, has withdrawn from all public ministry while a charge of racism is being investigated. It concerns letters written in the case of the Revd Alvyn Pereira, who was trying to find a post in 2011. Mr Pereira was born in Kenya of Indo-Portuguese parents. In a statement, Bishop Hill accepted that he had used ‘racial stereotypes which were unacceptable and offensive. . . I deeply regret the incident and I wholeheartedly apologise’.

Muslim organisations in the United States have called for reform to policing practices including prohibiting racial profiling and actions that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, such as chokeholds. A statement from a coalition of more than 90 civil rights, advocacy, community and faith organisations, says: ‘As American Muslims, we will draw on our diversity, our strength, and our resilience to demand these reforms because black lives matter’.  In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, the statement also calls for the establishment of “a federal standard that use of force be reserved as a last resort, only when absolutely necessary” and after exhausting all reasonable options.

The president of the United States Catholic Bishops’ conference has expressed concern at the Supreme Court’s decision that employers cannot sack workers because of their sexual orientation or self-determined gender identity. Archbishop Jose Gomez said: “I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law. This is an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life.” The Catholic News Agency reports that critics say the ruling could undermine the religious liberty of religious employers and business owners.