Religion news 19 January

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MPs demand tough trade response over China’s treatment of Uyghurs

The government is facing a backbench rebellion today over an amendment to the trade bill that would give UK courts a say in whether countries are committing genocide. This is something usually determined by international courts, but the plight to the Muslim Uyghur population in northwest China has propelled this change. The amendment was pushed forward by the Lords, who also want the government to reject any free trade bill with a country that breaches human rights. The Guardian‘s story here.

Jewish News urges government to stop Uyghur genocide

The Jewish News has published a rare special edition in support of the amendment. It says the Jewish News has been at the forefront of the campaign to highlight the plight of the Uyghurs. “If MPs do not back the amendment, it will be both their legacy and their job to explain to future generations why they did not make the government stand up with adequate strength to China when these atrocities are taught to those not yet born, which it surely will be,” it says.

Insurrectionists paused for prayer and thanked God while they ransacked the Senate

Astonishing film from inside the Senate during the insurrection on Capitol Hill shows the intruders were led in prayer by the man dressed as a Viking who sat in the speaker’s chair. He prayed: “Thank you for gracing us with this opportunity to stand up for our God-given inalienable rights, to allow us to send a message to the tyrants, communists and globalists, that this nation is ours not theirs.” During the prayer, men bowed their heads, raised their hands in charismatic prayer gestures and shouted “amen” at frequent intervals. The film has been uncovered by The New Yorker and shown on CNN.

Political tension still pulling apart Catholics in the States

The Catholic vote in the presidential election was evenly split between Trump and Joe Biden and Catholics remain entrenched in opposing positions even after the insurrection on Capitol Hill.  In an analysis for the Religion Media Centre, Christopher Lamb reports that the strident right-wing populist movement continues unchecked in the Catholic church, with some saying the riot in the Senate was a fight between good and evil. Yet Joe Biden is a loyal Catholic whose faith and values inform his politics. How can the church deal with the forces pulling it apart. Read Christopher Lamb’s article here.   

Muslims in America warned to keep safe on Inauguration Day

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has advised American Muslims and other minority groups to avoid state capitol buildings and surrounding areas ahead of Inauguration Day. CNN reports that CAIR is deeply concerned that far-right insurrectionists will target minority community centres and houses of worship as an alternative for their destructive rage. It says Muslim communities should prepare themselves for this reality. 

Row over retired judge’s view that some lives are less valuable than others

Lord Sumption, who sat on the Supreme Court until 2018, has provoked a debate in the media over his comments that some lives were less valuable than others, in the context of coronavirus treatment. Speaking on the BBC TV programme The Big Questions, he argued against lockdown measures for everyone, saying older and vulnerable people can isolate themselves “if they want to”. “My children’s and my grandchildren’s life is worth much more than mine because they’ve got a lot more of it ahead,” he said. Another guest on the show, suffering from stage 4 cancer, asked him who he was to value life. The debate has raged on in papers and on social media, with columnist Melanie Phillips saying he had gone too far.

Archbishop gets the Covid-19 vaccine and says it’s ‘an answer to prayer

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has been vaccinated against Covid-19 and says the rapid development of the vaccine is an answer to prayer. He is appealing to everyone to be immunised, to keep people safe and support NHS staff who are dealing with the highest levels of infections since the virus first appeared. Archbishop Welby, 65,was given his first injection as a volunteer member of the Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospital chaplaincy team, where he has been volunteering during the pandemic.


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