Religion news 7 June 2022

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BConfidence vote has led to a ‘zombie government’ says bishop

The bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, has said the Tory MPs’ vote of confidence in Boris Johnson (211:148), will not end the long running dispute over parties at No 10 during lockdowns. Taking to Twitter, he said: “Regardless of political commitments, how can anyone think it is practically possible for a line to be drawn after #ConfidenceVote result in which 42% MPs don’t have confidence in their leader. #fantasy”. In an interview reported by the Church Times, he went further, saying the government was effectively paralysed: “My thinking is we now have a zombie government … It’s the worst result for the country, because this isn’t going to go away; the character issues that have become so evident about Boris Johnson, and the incompetence of this government, they’re not going to go away.”

Muslim protests over Lady of Heaven film

Groups of Muslims have protested against the showing of the film Lady of Heaven at Cineworld in Bradford and Birmingham and The Vue in Blackburn. They said the depiction of the life story of Lady Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, and the image of the Prophet’s face in computer graphics, was offensive and disrespectful. Iran has banned the film.

Seventy churches in Georgia leave the United Methodist Church

Seventy Methodist churches in north Georgia, United States, have announced plans to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church in protest at its plans to allow same-sex marriage. This represents 9 per cent of the congregations in the conference and 3 per cent of the membership. The split will come into effect on 30 June.

Spanish Catholics pressing for women priests and optional celibacy

Catholic Church members in Barcelona are asking the Pope to consider allowing women priests and for celibacy to be optional, according to a report in The Times. It says the Spanish Episcopal Conference will debate the proposals on Saturday in Madrid. The Archdiocese of Barcelona said its congregation suggested the changes to address the lack of equality between men and women in the church. The recommendations will be presented to the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican next year.

Global diplomatic row over comments by BJP leaders on Islam

Seven Muslim countries have expressed outrage at social media comments by two officials of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist BJP party, said to be derogatory and blasphemous against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Arab states summoned Indian ambassadors and there have been calls for a boycott of Indian goods. BJP’s national spokesperson Nupur Sharma has since been suspended and Delhi’s BJP leader Naveen Kumar Jindal has since been expelled from the party.  The Guardian reports continuing tension between the BJP and Islam, with the party accused of marginalising and allowing persecution of the country’s 200 million Muslims.

Hundreds sign up for golf taster sessions for Muslim women

The Guardian reports that 24 Muslim women enjoyed a taster session at the Walton Heath golf club in Surrey. It was one of the first events in a nationwide initiative to encourage Muslim women to take up the sport. The organiser, Amir Malik, founder of the Muslim Golf Association , said golf was perfect for Muslim women as there is no physical contact between players, and modest clothing and head coverings were no impediment. “My mission is to get women in niqabs on golf courses. This is a sport that is ripe for disruption.” The Guardian says the tour has proved popular with 180 women already signed up and a further 500 on a waiting list.


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