Religion News May 30, 2024

Orthodox rabbi in Diane Abbott’s constituency defends her and criticizes Keir Starmer

Orthodox Rabbi Herschel Gluck has spoken in defense of his local MP Diane Abbott, whom he has known and supported for many years. He told Channel 4 News he was shocked by her comments in the Observer in 2023 that Jewish, Irish and Traveler people do not have to deal with racism all their lives. The comment led to her suspension, which was only lifted yesterday, and subsequent confusion over whether she will be allowed to stand again as a Labor MP. She said she had been banned, but Sir Keir Starmer said no decision had been made. Rabbi Gluck said: “I spoke to her on the phone a number of times and she was very sorry for making this statement. She felt she had made an error in judgment and we both realized that this was completely out of character for her.” Speaking about Keir Starmer’s role in the confusing events surrounding her future, he said Sir Keir had to prove he was a good person: “His behavior towards Diane has shown a complete lack of human sympathy and any aspiring Prime Minister must show that they care about people and especially about people who have served their party so well for more than forty years.”

Jewish, Arab and Muslim media have poorer mental health after reporting on the war between Israel and Gaza

The Film and TV Charity has published a report from a survey of Arab, Muslim and Jewish workers on how they have been affected by coverage of the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, the conflict in Gaza and the humanitarian crisis. With 400 responses received, a “sense of discomfort in the workplace in relation to respondents’ religious and ethnic identities” was noted, reinforcing experiences of discrimination. 94 percent experienced a deterioration in their mental health; only 23 percent felt supported by their employers; 51 percent believed that the sector is structurally and/or systemically discriminatory against their community; 57 percent believe that attitudes and behaviors hostile to their community are common in the industry; 55 percent have experienced a deterioration in their sense of well-being at work; and only 22 percent think the sector is safe and welcoming to them. The roundtable discussions organized afterwards agreed on the need to prioritize training and improve cultural literacy to counter a lack of understanding, worrying levels of hostility and a lack of safety felt in all communities . The investigation involved all major broadcasters in Britain. Details here

The dismissed Cliff College teacher provides evidence to the employment tribunal

Dr. Aaron Edwards, a former lecturer at the Methodist Cliff College in Derbyshire who was dismissed for tweeting that ‘homosexuality is infiltrating the church’, has given evidence at an employment tribunal dealing with his claim for unfair dismissal, harassment and discrimination. His case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, which is keeping a detailed record of his evidence. He told the tribunal that social media was equivalent to spaces where early Christians preached “enculturated messages” and that his tweet proclaimed Christian truth in a public space. It reads: “Homosexuality is invading the Church. Evangelicals no longer see the seriousness of this because they are busy apologizing for their seemingly barbaric homophobia, whether it is true or not. This *is* a “Gospel issue,” by the way. When sin is no longer sin, we no longer need a Savior.” He wrote it in February 2023, a time when the divisive debate over same-sex relationships in the Church of England was being widely reported, reflecting a similar tension in the Methodist Church. He believed that his evangelical theological university should take a position consistent with traditional evangelical thinking against same-sex relationships. His tweet went viral. The college issued a statement saying it was inappropriate and unacceptable, ultimately leading to his dismissal for misconduct. He said he had not defamed the college, but it had denounced and ostracized him, causing stress that led to heart problems, and a backlash online when he said he was being harassed, slandered and discredited, which resulted in life-changing consequences and irreparable damage. to his career.

Russell Brand describes his month-old Christian faith on Tik Tok

Russell Brand has tweeted again about his newfound Christian faith, saying there was now “an inner enlightenment” available to him. On TikTok he said he had been a Christian for a month and it had been a big change. He loved the idea that when he is alone in prayer, “there is a figure available, wounded and crowned, who is available to me in my shortcomings and my failures and in my fallibility.” He had adopted many new concepts, including repentance: “Repentance means constantly changing and recognizing that I am in a battle against myself. I must surrender myself to an ever-present internal and accessible Jesus.” Russell Brand was baptized in the Thames a month ago, helped by his friend Bear Grylls, who converted through the Alpha program and is a friend of Nicky Gumbel, former minister of Holy Trinity Church Brompton.

American Southern Baptists are once again debating female pastors

The U.S. Southern Baptist Convention will hold its annual meeting next week, June 9 and 10, and once again the issue of women pastors is on the agenda. Last year, it voted to affirm a decision by the denomination’s Executive Committee to expel two churches — Saddleback Church in Southern California and Fern Creek Baptist Church in Kentucky — for having female pastors, saying the role was limited was to men. A hardline amendment stating that a local congregation can only be part of the convention if it “confirms, appoints, or employs only men as any form of pastor or elder as qualified by the Bible” was passed last year, on objection from the Executive Committee. . The amendment is back on the agenda for a vote as it must be approved for two years before coming into effect. That has sparked a debate over whether the restriction on male ministers applies only to a church’s senior leader or to support roles, such as a children’s or music minister. A report presented last year estimated that there are 1,844 female pastors serving in 1,225 churches – many in support roles, often in black churches. The Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the US with 47,000 churches and a membership of just under 13 million.

400 Muslim families deported in the Indian state of Assam

There are reports that around 400 Muslim families have been driven from their homes in the Sipajhar region of India’s northeastern state of Assam and had their homes destroyed by bulldozers. They are of Bangladeshi descent and have lived in Assam for decades, after moving there to escape the floods. Christian Solidarity Worldwide says this group has been evicted from their homes multiple times in the same region and is being persecuted for their faith. This time it says they were evicted on the orders of BJP state Chief Minister Himanta Biswa. She urges the national government to condemn the evictions and relocate the families.

73 year old Christian man brutally beaten for disrespecting the Koran

Aid to the Church in Need highlights the story of a 73-year-old Christian man living in Pakistan who was brutally beaten by a large crowd and subsequently became the subject of a blasphemy investigation by Pakistani police. Nazir Gill Masih and his son are accused of disrespecting the Quran after damaged pages were found outside his home. Police have arrested more than a hundred men over his attempted lynching and burning of his house and shoe factory. Father and son are in hospital with serious injuries, but their condition is stable.

Financial incentives to teach Bible stories to Texas schoolchildren

Texas school students The Guardian reports that Texas primary school students will learn Bible stories as part of their reading instruction, in a curriculum redesign program announced this week. It is part of a movement to anchor young people’s lives in traditional values ​​and follows a movement to allow chaplains to work as school counselors. The Guardian cites examples such as using a story about a congressman asking delegates to pray together despite religious differences to teach the word “compromise.” Or read the story of the Last Supper to understand Leonardo da Vinci’s painting. Participation is voluntary, but schools will receive $60 for each participating student.

Photo exhibition of Muslims in Norfolk for people who don’t know they are there

Muslim convert and photographer Khalil Mitchell launches a photo exhibition of Muslims in Norfolk, telling the story of a hidden community: “People don’t know we’re here half the time. We don’t look like the typical Muslims,” he said. The exhibition will travel through libraries and museums across Norfolk from June to September, in a project inspired by a calligraphy exhibition and curated by a community librarian and curator of community history. Khalil says the photographs are intended to portray a vibrant and dynamic community based in the Ihsan Mosque in Chapelfield, Norwich. He hopes the photos point to something bigger: “With every photo I have taken, I have always hoped that it would be the ultimate photo to show people Muslims and Islam.”

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