Newsstand Late December - Early January
Anglicans respond as Australia burns; New Archbishop of York announced; US Jews take up arms as anti-Semitic attacks grow; the symbolism of the Virgin Mary; Trump and religious freedom; and much more.
January 8 2020
Anglican agencies launch appeals to support bushfire victims across the state while Melbourne priest the Revd Dr Chris Mulherin shares his experience of being trapped in Mallacoota.
Former Federal Liberal leader John Hewson says Prime Minister Scott Morrison urgently needs to follow the example of Saul of Tarsus on a matter of science and morality, rather than religious belief, and “accept the need for a climate conversion”.
The Church of England’s next Archbishop of York is to be the Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, who will succeed Dr John Sentamu following his retirement in June 2020. Bishop Cottrell, who is a renowned preacher, author and communicator will become the 98th Archbishop of York in a line dating back to St Paulinus in 627 AD. As Primate of England and Metropolitan of the Province of York, the Archbishop-designate will share in the leadership of the Church of England in partnership with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury.
As Australians give thanks for firefighters putting their lives on the line during this summer’s bushfire ordeal, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury sees in another group of volunteers – lifeboat crews – heroic models for hope in the world.
Amid this increase in anti-Semitic attacks in the US, more Jews are taking shooting lessons and arming themselves. But some in the Jewish community are uncomfortable with the number of citizens taking up arms.
An appeal by the US mother of a dead toddler for her hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to pray for the girl to be raised from the dead was born of love but failed to recognise that we are not divine, confused hope for power and transformed tragedy into failure.
The Virgin cult cuts women off from the full, human reality of Jesus’ mother Mary, and so from full participation in the life of the church, writes Melbourne Anglican New Testament scholar, the Revd Professor Dorothy Lee.
It took 400 years, but sometime in the early fifth century Christians transformed a tradition about Jesus’s miraculous virgin birth into a doctrine that inextricably connected sex with sin. It has plagued the church ever since, doing untold damage to generations of women in particular.
An administration certainly does not have to grant every free exercise claim to be a bona fide proponent of religious freedom, writes Professor Melissa Rogers for Religion News Service. But it is striking to see how differently free exercise claims are treated when they do not align with the Trump administration’s policy priorities.
The New Zealand Government has officially pardoned Māori religious and community leader Rua Kēnana Hepetipa, who was convicted for “moral resistance to arrest” more than a century ago. Descendants of the pacifist leader gathered to watch the final reading of the pardon bill, which clears Rua Kēnana’s name and acknowledges that his wrongful treatment caused lasting damage to his people. Rua Kēnana was arrested when armed police invaded his Maungapōhatu community in 1916. His son and another family member were killed in the illegal raid, and both sides suffered injuries during a gun fight.