Sunday 6 July 2014

Gay weddings, UK Muslims going to Syria, WWI, problems for the Catholic Church, Ramadan, the living wage and calls to scrap Christian assemblies in schools

This week's Sunday dwelt on many familiar themes - as you can see from the title of this post.

First was an interview with Rev Roberta Rominger, former general secretary of the United Reform Church, which looks set to become the first mainstream church to allow gay weddings to be carried out in their churches. Rev Roberta supports the idea. William Crawley asked her if she hoped such a move would encourage other mainstream churches to follow their example. 

Then it was onto the story of the 100+ imams and their open letter urging British Muslims not to travel to Iraq or Syria to take part in sectarian fighting and to offer help "from the UK in a safe and responsible way". Sunday sought to "find out what it means for Muslims who passionately want to take part in the humanitarian effort" by talking to one of the imams, Shahid Raza, and Atiqur Rahman, who has already been on a humanitarian convoy to Syria. They didn't agree over the issue.

Then came "the first part of [a] series examining religious responses to the outbreak of World War I", with Steve Evans reporting from Berlin on the reaction of faith communities in Germany 100 years ago. Germany was 2/3 Protestant and 1/3 Catholic back then. Both churches overwhelmingly backed the war, believing God was on their side. One guest said that the Protestants in particular saw the war as a way of getting their flock back. There were a few conscientious objectors, most of whom were Christians. The Jewish community volunteered for the army, wanting to become part of the German nation's war effort, but anti-Semitism soon reared its head in an ugly smear about them being under-represented in the trenches. The German military carried out a census among troops which proved that rumour to be a complete lie, but the census was then suppressed and the smear allowed to stand. 

Then came an interview with senior Vatican official Archbishop Rino Fisichella about the problems of recruiting young Catholics to a vocation in the Church in the wake the paedophile priests scandal. William Crawley focused on the issue of celibacy as a key problem, along with the scandals, the Church's "archaic" language and its old-fashioned values that belong to another age.

It was onto Ramadan next and a story that was bound to appeal to Sunday:
We hear from orthodox Rabbi Natan Levy who says he's frustrated at what he sees as a lack of engagement between Jews and Muslims in the UK, and is observing Ramadan to increase the understanding between the two faiths.
Rabbi Levy hopes to "turn strangers into friends". He is concerned about the "negative imagery" around Islam.

Then it was onto the living wage (last discussed on last Sunday's edition of the programme):
Nestlé has become the largest manufacturer to sign up to the living wage in the UK. It comes days after a report published by the Living Wage Commission urging action to tackle poverty. William Crawley speaks to the Commission chair, Archbishop John Sentamu.
The Archbishop, of course, supports the campaign. (No opponents were heard from this week).

Finally came the call to scrap Christian worship in school assemblies:
The National Governors' Association has called for the statutory requirement for non-religious schools to hold a daily 'act of collective worship mainly of a Christian character' to be scrapped. We report on the debate and ask why so many schools appear to be in breach of the legislation.

The NGA say the law is "meaningless" in a "multicultural society". 

Firstly, Kevin Bocquet reported from a multi-ethnic school in Manchester, when an assembly celebrating "diversity" was going on in conformity to the 1944 Education Act. The British Humanist Association's Andrew Copson (like the NGA) wants that law scrapped though. Various parents had their say (offering differing points of view), then the headteacher of the Manchester school, who doesn't feel it's outdated, and the churches oppose it too.  

Then came a discussion between Bishop John Pritchard and Gillian Allcroft of the NGA. Though Bishop John is keen for their to be a daily "space" when our Christianity heritage is drawn upon, both agreed that the word "worship" is a problem. The Bishop of Oxford wants it changed to "spiritual reflection". 

To summarise then (by repeating a paragraph from last week's post): Nothing much here then, is there, to undermined Damian Thompson's claim that "Radio 4's Sunday programme offers perhaps the most undiluted liberal bias to be found anywhere on the BBC"? I say not.

1 comment:

  1. Remind me again....what proportion of the population are Muslim? how long have Muslims been a presence here in comparison to the Jews then? come the proportion of news and religious output being led by the camel ring into our programmes is so ridiculously...well...Islamic?
    Any thoughts from Posh Ed?...Stockholm Syndrome coming to mind I wonder?
    1. Re gay marriage-this programme probably went to air too late to give a glowing hat tip to the URC who will be allowing gay marriages to happen on their premises some time soon(as long as they`ve hosed out any Methodist and their damned Wesley stuff! first)...The 8am news said so anyway.
    2.Any thoughts from Islam re holding THEIR gay weddings then?...any news on THEIR Imams choosing to get into those booths and tabernacles for Rosh Hashana and suchlike?...or-yet again- are we talking a one way street to multiculti happinesses? Need I ask?
    3. The Church needs to get out of charity work altogether-let the f***in State deal with it all-THEN come back and talk re the "Christian heritage" that schools don`t need to tell kids of any more.
    4. And no mention of BBC reflex antiSemitic coverage over those deaths in Israel there a Jewish spokesman brave enough to smash the BBC repeatedly fore their bias...or are we to be left with Roberta, Romaine and Kaufman?


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