Religion news 9 July 2021

Image credit: Lawrie Cate flickr

Chief Rabbi steps in as rabbinical courts accused of siding with domestic abusers

The Chief Rabbi has personally intervened in a dispute over religious divorce, after campaigners warned that rabbinical courts are siding with domestic abusers at the expense of their victims. The move is in response to widespread outrage following last week’s warning by the Federation of Synagogues that it would refuse to approve a get (a Jewish document of divorce) to any woman who initiated a criminal prosecution against her husband for “coercive and controlling behaviour” under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. The Jewish Chronical reports that the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, is to convene meetings between the rabbinical courts, parliamentarians, lawyers and women’s rights campaigners to try to resolve the issue. Meanwhile a Jewish male domestic abuse victim who has been denied a religious divorce for 18 months is to set up a charity for other men in similar situations.  The Jewish Chronical reports that he was unable to find support in the Jewish community and he wanted similar to the JWA (Jewish Women’s Aid) charity.

General Synod seeks younger and more diverse members through first ad campaign
The Church of England has launched an advertising campaign to encourage a broader range of candidates to stand for election to the General Synod. The Church Times says it’s the first time  in  the church’s history that an attempt has been made to attract younger and more diverse members in order to be more representative of the  people of England.  The campaign includes a 90 second film, a short explanatory animation, a dedicated webpage and social media campaign using the hashtag #StandforSynod. The closing date is  8 September and elections will take place in the autumn after the current Synod term was extended by a year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

‘God threshold’ conclusion of  controversial paper is  ‘not robust’
Academics say that a controversial 2019 paper suggesting that societies grew alongside the concept of a moralising God was “not robust”. The Telegraph reports that a fresh analysis of the original data which formed the basis of the study showed that the results were skewed by 100 years. This misinterpretation of missing data massively shifted to show that moralising gods were also present in much smaller societies – the opposite conclusion of the original paper.

England win Euros semi-final, with the help of Bishops and Maltesers
Football-loving bishops were quick to offer advice, commentary and prayers as England battled against Denmark in the semi-final of the Euros at Wembley Stadium.  The former Archbishop of York, Lord Sentamu, implored players to maintain focus and composure, and, most importantly, score goals. Self-confessed Liverpool FC fan Andy Emerton, Bishop of Sherwood,  predicted it was going to be a stressful second half. Spurs supporter and Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent, commented on the “dodgy won” and “badly taken” penalty and Bishop of Burnley, Philip North said he’d eaten twice his body weight in Maltesers out of nervous tension. See more in  Church Times.
Meanwhile The United Synagogue has been joining in the Euro fun on Twitter, suggesting it will rename Cockfosters and N Southgate Synagogue to ‘Cockfosters and Gareth Southgate Synagogue” in honour of the England manager.

More news:

Bishops criticised over heavenly lifestyles while parishes are penniless

Vatican gives latest update on health of Pope Francis

Prime Minister admits possible Jewish ‘exodus’ from Northern Ireland over Brexit deal

China slams Olympic boycott call, ‘politicization of sports’

Survey: White mainline Protestants outnumber white evangelicals, while ‘nones’ shrink

Evangelist Nick Vujicic co-founds a pro-life supporting bank

Activists suspended over antisemitism allegations lose court challenge against Labour

Former JFS head quit facing gross misconduct charge

Campaign calls for end to use of NDAs in keeping Christians from sharing abuse stories

Chief Rabbi attacks church-backed ‘apartheid state’ Israel report

Scottish Parliament launches consultation on conversion therapy

Presbyterian General Assembly argues that gay ministers not qualified for ordination

£6 million Jewish cemetery inaugurated in Edgware


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