Religion news 8 January

Image credit: Ted Eytan CCLicense

Washington mob was unholy amalgamation of white supremacy and Christianity

The insurrection on Capitol Hill in Washington was the legacy of white supremacy in American Christianity, fuelled by a president whose slogan Make America Great Again “is dripping with racist overtones”, according to Dr Robert Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute based in the city. He was one of a panel of speakers in a Religion Media Centre online briefing, where scholars and faith leaders tried to make sense of what has happened to their country. Mariann Budde, the Bishop of Washington, said there was inadequate response from the authorities, in stark contrast to the treatment of black lives matter protesters last year:  “the racial hypocrisy is absolutely devastating to the city, and has been one  of the overriding themes as people in the city react to what happened.”
Zoom briefing on our you tube channel here
Article on our website here

American Reform Jewish Leaders highlight rioters’ antisemitism

The American Union for Reform Judaism has pointed to the rampant antisemitism on display at the white supremacy riots in Washington on Wednesday. Demonstrators proudly displayed t-shirts with logos saying ‘Camp Auschwitz’ and ‘6MWE’ referring to those who died in concentration camps.  Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner and Yolanda Savage-Narva from the Union, say the white nationalists were attempting to undermine the American  government yet their treatment by the authorities was tame. “Yesterday we saw once again the power of white privilege”.

Northern Ireland churches stop public worship until February

The Catholic Church, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist churches in Northern Ireland is abandoning public worship until 6 February because of the coronavirus. The decision followed talks with Stormont ministers when First Minister Arlene Foster said she was hoping for a voluntary agreement.

122 attacks on German mosques in 2020

The National Vision Association of the Muslim Community in Germany says there were 122 attacks on mosques during 2020. In the past six years, a total of 700 attacks were recorded, including bombing attempts, threatening behaviour, violence, threats, arson and insulting graffiti on the walls. It warns that the extreme right is fuelling the aggression and is calling on security forces to conduct more meaningful investigations.

Royal Mail manager wins £230,000 for discrimination

Mathan Shunmugaraja, a Hindu and  former manager with Royal Mail has been awarded nearly £230,000 after a tribunal found he had been subjected to harassment and discrimination at work. He was in dispute with a colleague over using a room for meetings which was otherwise used for prayers. In verbal exchanges, he was mistaken for a Muslim and called a sly dog.

Wide support for Christmas decorations to stay til Candlemas on 2 February

An appeal by English Heritage for Christmas decorations to stay up til Candlemas on 2 February is proving hugely popular. The modern custom is to remove decorations on twelfth night – 6 January – but the medieval timescale for the Christmas season was longer and the suggestion to extend was to provide much needed good cheer with the spread of Covid-19 and more lockdown measures.  A Guardian investigation has found villages and individuals independently vowed to keep decorations up, because the winter months are so dismal especially with lockdown. Several Cathedrals have a custom of keeping decorations through January including Chester, pictured here.