Religion in the News

Church of England urged to offer same-sex blessings

Members of the clergy should be allowed to offer blessings to same-sex couples, a report commissioned by the Church of England has recommended. The report, produced by four bishops and chaired by former civil servant Sir Joseph Pilling, does not propose offering a “formal liturgy”. But it says priests should be “free” to give gay couples a “public service”. The Church pointed out the report is for discussion and is … Continued

New report highlights abuse of Muslim women

A new report  into the experience and impact of anti-Muslim hatred on British Muslim women, by Chris Allen, Arshad Isakjee and Ozlem Ogtem Young, has been released by the University of Birmingham. The report, based on interviews with 20 Muslim women and produced in association with Muslim hate crime monitor Tell MAMA,  found that in 80 per cent of cases women are targeted because of wearing Muslim dress, a headscarf, niqab or full-face … Continued

Ofsted report claims religious education teaching is ‘not good enough’

Ofsted, the official body for inspecting schools, has released a highly critical report on the provision of religious education in schools. Based on research carried out at 185 schools between 2009 and 2012, the report identifies eight major weaknesses, including low standards, weak teaching and confusion about the purpose of religious education. Arguably its most politically significant finding is that the recent introduction of the English Baccalaureate, by failing to include … Continued

College in Birmingham bans the niqab

Birmingham Metropolitan College has provoked anger among students and anti-discrimination campaigners by placing a ban on all facial coverings on its premises, including the niqab and similar face veils. The college management has deemed such items of clothing a risk, stating that individuals should be ‘easily identifiable at all times’ so that all students can study in a ‘safe and welcoming learning environment’. Other clothing to be removed on the … Continued

Ephraim Mirvis installed as chief rabbi

Ephraim Mirvis has been installed as the new chief rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth at a ceremony in London. As the BBC reports, Mirvis took over from Lord Jonathan Sacks, who held the post for 22 years, on Sunday 1st September. With Michael Howard and Ed Miliband present, as well as the Bishop of Lambeth and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the new chief rabbi used … Continued

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warns of ‘lynch mob’ against bankers

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which published its final report last month. In his first public comments since the  report, the Archbishop spoke to the Bishop of Liverpool for BBC Radio 4’s “The Bishop and the Bankers”. As the Huffington Post reports, the Archbishop Of Canterbury used the interview to warn that targeting individual bankers for blame after the … Continued