Religion news 17 January 2022

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Image credit: www.number10.gov.uk CCLicense2.0

Bishop: “Nobody wants to be governed by leaders who’ve lost their sense of moral values”

The Bishop of Manchester David Walker has said that people expect leaders in public life to have integrity. He was speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme in a discussion about the revelations that parties were held at Number Ten, while the government had ordered people into lockdowns preventing people from meeting. He said the values and principles underlying rules really mattered and he hoped that Sue Gray’s report into what had gone on, would not simply talk about the technicalities of exact rules in place and whether they were legally enforceable, but the “wider ethos in Downing Street and who was leading that ethos and what responsibilities they bear”. Asked whether the public should see politicians not just as efficient managers but also champions of a moral order, the Bishop said “None of us really want to be governed by an efficient and effective rogue. We want those who are in positions of high responsibility to have integrity. And the Nolan principles, set out following some scandals in the 1980s and 90s, set out very clearly the moral standards we can expect of people in public life – things like truthfulness and integrity. And if we don’t have those, then I think we might as well shut up shop. Nobody wants to be governed by leaders who’ve lost their sense of moral values”.

Man who took hostages in a Dallas synagogue was British

The man who took four people hostage in a synagogue in Dallas this weekend, has been named as 44 year old Malik Faisal Akram, a British citizen from Lancashire. He was shot dead after a stand-off with police. President Biden said it was an act of terror. Akram was heard demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist in prison after being convicted of trying to kill US military officers while in custody in Afghanistan. The hostages included the rabbi, Charlie Cytron-Walker, who said afterwards that the training received by the Congregation Beth Israel, on how to deal with such a situation, had helped them survive.

Plan to give the global Anglican church more say in appointment of next Archbishop of Canterbury

A proposal to give the worldwide Anglican communion a greater role in the selection of a future Archbishop of Canterbury has been launched in a consultation paper.  The current system involves votes by 16 members of the Crown Nominations Commission, including one representative from the global church. The proposal would increase this to five. The impetus for the change comes from the Diocese of Canterbury, which thinks its representation is too large. It proposes three representatives from dioceses, with nine other members of the Church of England. The proposals may be voted on by the general synod in July 2022. Justin Welby became Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013. His two predecessors served for 10 and 11 years

Faith leaders join campaign against Policing Bill

Thirty-one faith leaders have signed a letter to members of the House of Lords, urging them to vote down clauses in the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts bill which is due to have its third reading today (Monday 17 Jan). The letter campaign, supported by the Quakers, led by Liberty and including other civil rights groups, says the bill is draconian and the right to protest must be protected.

Three Christian climate change activists cleared from obstructing the railway

Three members of the Christian Climate Action group have been cleared of obstructing the railway, after climbing on a docklands light railway train at Shadwell station two years ago. The Rev Sue Parfitt, 79 and Father Martin Newell, 54, said prayers on the roof and 85 year old Philip Kingston glued himself to the side of the train.  Judge Silas Reid told the jury to decide whether their actions and resulting disruption was “proportionate” with their right to protest. It was a balance.

Faith leaders launch joint project to help asylum seekers in north London

A Methodist minister, rabbi and mosque leaders in Muswell Hill, north London, have joined together to help 60 asylum seekers recently housed in a hotel in the area. The Rev Matt Lunn and Rabbi David Mason created Muswell Hill Welcomes to offer meals, English lessons, friendship and social activities. In a world of poverty, war and conflict, they say, it is important to remember “we are surrounded by love”.

Hillsong apologises for allowing singing and dancing

Hillsong Church in Australia has apologised after film emerged of young people singing and dancing at a summer camp in New South Wales. The regional health authority ordered singing and dancing to stop and police intervened to ensure future compliance. The global evangelical church, known for music in worship, said it regretted “any perception that we were not playing our part to keep NSW safe and we sincerely apologise to the community at large”.

Champagne set aside in honour of Australian batting hero Usman Khawaja

The Australian cricket captain, Pat Cummins, told his team to hide the champagne at their Ashes victory celebration, to allow Usman Khawaja, who is a Muslim, to join in. Islam has strict rules against the consumption of and association with alcohol.  Khawaja scored two centuries in the Ashes series and was lauded as a national hero. Australia won the fifth Test and the series 4-0 after England collapsed.

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