Religion news 16 November 2021

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Image credit: Stevekeiretsu WikiCommons CCLicense

Trump aide condemned over call for ‘one religion’ in US

Michael Flynn, who served as Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has been condemned after he called for the establishment of “one religion” in the United States.  The Guardian reports that Mr Flynn’s speech at a rally in Texas included the phrase “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion. One nation under God and one religion under God”. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, said this showed Mr Flynn and his colleagues “hated the US constitution”. In 2017, Mr Flynn, a retired army general, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was pardoned by President Trump last year.

Priti Patel apologises over ‘hate preacher’ slur

A Muslim website editor described in a UK government press release as “an extremist hate preacher” has received an apology from Priti Patel, the home secretary. Dr Salman Butt, chief editor of Islam 21C, also won damages after his name appeared in the document entitled: PM’s Extremism Taskforce. Press Gazette reports that his barrister, Hugh Tomlinson QC, told the High Court: “Dr Butt is not and has never been an extremist hate preacher. He is opposed in the strongest possible terms to all criminal violence and is deeply offended by the suggestion that his speeches legitimise terrorism or that students should be protected from what he says.”

First same-sex blessing in Church in Wales

Father Lee Taylor, priest-in-charge of St Collen’s Llangollen, and his partner Fabiano da Silva Duarte, have become the first same-sex couple to have their partnership blessed in the Church in Wales. The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, conducted the ceremony and said it was a landmark moment for the church.

Top CofE job for teacher

Secondary school teacher Lucy Moore has been appointed the first head of the Church of England’s Growing Faith Foundation — a collaboration of churches, schools and families across the UK to nurture Christian faith within the community. Ms Moore founded “Messy Church” in 2004, where families meet once a month for creative projects, singing, storytelling and a meal, and she is now a leader of “Fresh Expressions”, new forms of church communities.  She said she was “thrilled to be given the role”.

Holocaust survivor and priest

A Holocaust survivor who became a Catholic priest has been buried in his Polish homeland after living in Israel for almost 50 years, the Catholic Herald reports. Fr Gregor Pawlowski set up a memorial in his home town in 1970 to commemorate his parents, two sisters and hundreds of his former neighbours. It includes an inscription to “all of the Jews murdered and buried in this cemetery by the Nazi murderers and profaners of God’s commandments”.

Bank to become place of worship

A former branch of Lloyds Bank in Northampton is to be converted to a centre for Christian worship. West Northamptonshire Council has approved plans from developers Nashdale Properties, which said services would be held on Wednesdays and Sundays, with a maximum of 50 participants.

Author shines light on St Magnus

St Magnus in Orkney, the most northerly cathedral in Britain, has been praised by the historian Sir Simon Jenkins. In his new book, Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals, Sir Simon features St Magnus, known as “the Light of the North”, alongside Canterbury, St Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, Cologne, Florence, Moscow, Stockholm and Seville. Fran Hollinrake, its custodian, said: “Nearly nine centuries of Orkney people have experienced the deepest of emotions within these walls — joy, grief, hope — and I believe that all those feelings have soaked into the walls and become part of the very fabric of the building.”

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. Events in Leeds and Plymouth have happened – three more to go. Reserve a place using the links below.

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