Religion news 19 February

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Thirteen bishops back vaccination campaign

Thirteen Church of England bishops have taken part in a film to encourage everyone to be vaccinated against Covid-19. It was produced as part of the Give Hope Campaign, launched by the church networking organisation YourNeighbour, which has the support of more than 1,000 churches in shared activities on the front line in the pandemic. Government ministers are concerned at the lower take-up of the vaccine among BAME people.

NHS director reassures Muslims: Taking the vaccine during Ramadan is safe

A NHS director is reassuring Muslims that it is safe and advisable to continue to get the Covid-19 vaccine during Ramadan, which starts on 12 April. Dr Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said it was important to tackle concerns early, and confirmed that the content is halal and there is no reason why a first or second dose of the vaccine cannot be administered during Ramadan.

Vatican threatens to sack people unless they get the vaccine

The Associated Press says the Vatican is threatening to dismiss employees who refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine. The governor of the Vatican City State says employees who opt out of vaccination without a proven medical reason could be subject to a sanction up to and including “the interruption of the relationship of employment”.

Inquiries for help with mental health have doubled in lockdown says Jewish charity

The Jewish mental health charity Jami says the number of young people seeking help has more than doubled, with the workload of some services almost tripling in the lockdown. The charity told the Jewish News that people aged 16 to 25 and those who look after them are hit particularly hard, with people not knowing where to turn for help.

Rihanna’s Instagram pendant angers Hindus

The Guardian has picked up a story about Rihanna’s Instagram post which has angered Hindus. An image showed her wearing a pendant of the Hindu god Ganesha, and has been seen more than nine million times. Critical comments said this was cultural appropriation and disrespectful.

Digital pioneer Dr Bex Lewis has died

Dr Bex Lewis, a Christian digital expert, who studied, taught and practised the art of communicating online, has died of cancer. She was a senior lecturer in digital marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst, which led to speaking engagements on the effect of the digital world on young minds. She tweeted just one day before her death, from her hospice bed in Manchester, and revealed in her final days that she had also contracted Covid-19.

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