Religion news 23 August 2021

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Image credit: Migrants Organise

Cardinal says UK should take as many Afghan refugees as it can

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, says the challenge of receiving thousands of Afghan refugees is not about how many people are allowed to enter the country. They should be welcomed, he told the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme, not just by the government but by all of society. The pandemic had shown that faith communities can deliver aid on the front line and their contribution must be factored into the resettlement of Afghan refugees. Cardinal Nichols said it was helpful for planning purposes to give numbers — for example, we will certainly take 5,000 this year — but then we should take as many as we can receive. Faith groups should work with the government to expand capacity. Meanwhile, world leaders should exercise as much of a moderating influence on the Taliban as they can.

Serial child abuser John Smyth ‘the Church of England’s Jimmy Savile’

The shocking story of John Smyth, a prominent QC and evangelical Anglican leader, who beat boys mercilessly until they bled to “punish sins”, is investigated in the book Bleeding for Jesus, by Andrew Graystone. The Guardian reports his verdict that “Smyth was, in effect, the Church of England’s Jimmy Savile”, grooming victims from elite public schools who attended Christian summer camps run by the Iwerne Trust, and delivering violent physical abuse. The Iwerne Trust became the Titus Trust in 1997 and on Friday it delivered a timeline and statement in response to revelations in the book. The Church Times reports the top line that a chairman of the Titus Trust was given a sealed envelope containing details of the abuse, but did not open it and read the contents for 13 years.
Andrew Graystone is in conversation with Rosie Dawson in a RMC zoom media briefing on Tuesday 31 August at 2pm. To register a place, please join our briefings signup here

Vaccine sceptic Cardinal Raymond Burke recovering from Covid-19

Cardinal Raymond Burke, outspoken leader of American conservative Roman Catholics, has been moved out of intensive care as he is treated for Covid-19. Last year, he spoke out against imposing vaccinations in a totalitarian manner on citizens and said there was a movement to place a microchip in people so they could be controlled by the state. God, he said, is the ultimate provider of health. But on 10 August he tweeted that he had contracted the virus and subsequently was put on a ventilator. His family have announced that he is out of intensive care and remains in hospital.

Muslim Facebook and Instagram accounts warned and deleted over Taliban mentions

Roshan Muhammed Salih and Dilly Hussain, the editors of the 5Pillars website, say they have been censured by Facebook for mentioning the Taliban. They report that the Islamify account on Instagram, has been censured and warned it could be deleted; and Muslim Daily, with 520,000 followers on Instagram, has been deleted. Roshan Muhammed Salih said Facebook is not allowing free speech and urgent attention is needed to create viable alternative social media platforms. Facebook told CNBC that the Taliban was “sanctioned as a terrorist organisation under US law and we have banned them from our services under our ‘dangerous organisation’ policies”. It removes “accounts that are maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban, as well as those that praise, support and represent them”.


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