Religion news 20 September 2021

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Image credit: Melanesian mission

Faith leaders unite to call for urgent action to save the planet

Faith leaders are demanding climate action 40 days before the COP26 environment meeting in Glasgow. Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, who leads on the environment for the Church of England, signed the letter alongside leaders of every major Christian denomination and representatives from Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh communities.  The declaration calls on governments “to take the urgent action needed to avert the loss, damage, and forced migration threatened by climate change.” The bishop said: “Glasgow is a ‘Kairos’ moment for the future of this planet. We are drawing on the wells of wisdom within our traditions to encourage the leaders of the world to take the bold, prophetic, steps we all need to take.” 

Archbishop: passionate that the parish is essential

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has sought to reassure clergy and church members that the parish is not threatened and there is no conspiracy to abolish it.  A row broke out in July when Canon John McGinley, director of the CofE “Myriad” project which seeks to establish new Christian groups, said a building, stipend and costly training for clergy were “limiting factors”.  In the outrage that followed, the “Save Our Parish campaign” was set up to confirm the church’s role as serving everyone, “believers” or not. In an interview for the Church Times, the archbishop said: “There is no ‘threat’ to the parish. . . There is no conspiracy to abolish the parish… I am not just in favour of the parish, I am passionate that the parish is essential.”  

£4.5 billion halal market in UK must be protected with right to kill animals without pre stunning

A report from the Centre for Muslim Policy Research  , says  the law which exempts Muslims and Jews from the need to pre-stun animals before slaughter must be upheld. It says the UK halal market is worth approximately £4.5 billion and is expected to grow five per cent annually. British Muslims consume up to eight times more meat and poultry than their non-Muslim counterparts. It recommends the introduction of a permit that allows animals to be killed without stunning. The report is published as the government launches a consultation on labelling food for animal welfare concerns, saying a review is necessary now that the UK has left the EU.  For Jews and Muslims, religious rules require an animal to be killed by slitting the throat, in contrast to secular rules which stun the animals first.  The RSPCA says slaughter without pre-stunning is unacceptable and the Government should repeal the current exemption which allows it for both religious groups.

Born again footballer Neymar “paid not to push religious propaganda”

The Daily Mail reports that the Brazilian football star Neymar is said to receive more than  £5million a year if he avoids any political or religious propaganda  that may tarnish the image of his club,  Paris Saint-Germain. He is a Baptist from Brazil. who has never hidden his faith, once wearing a headband during a match with the words “100% Jesus” written on the front. The report says the payment came to light when the Spanish newspaper  El Mundo discovered details of his contract.

Thousands crowd the streets of Nepal for religious festival

Tens of thousands of people in Nepal are celebrating the week long religious festival of Indra Jatra, which is a prelude to months of other festivals in the predominantly Hindu nation. The Associated Press reports that after a lull in public celebrations during lockdowns, crowds lined the route from the temple palace to the centre of Kathmandu as Kumari, a young girl  revered by both Hindus and Buddhists as the living goddess, was driven along the road in a wooden chariot pulled by devotees. The President and senior officials lined up to received blessing.

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