Newsstand 15 - 21 April
Prayer vigil for Myanmar, Australian Greek Orthodox divided, Sydney Anglicans recommendation on transgender churchgoers, Episcopalians respond to Derek Chauvin verdict, how Anglicans are fighting racism around the world, and more...
April 22 2021
Bishop Paul Barker, who has made over 40 trips to Myanmar over the past 15 years, and members of Melbourne’s Myanmar community are holding a vigil for the violence-ravaged country at St Paul’s Cathedral on Saturday. Hundreds of protesters have been killed in the past few weeks as the military steps up its attempts to assert authority after taking control of the country in a coup on 1 February.
Last week's ABC report that taxpayer-funded aged care homes across Australia had funnelled $31 million into the coffers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has caused a rift in the Greek Orthodox community, with some rallying behind the Archbishop and others calling for more accountability around the church’s finances.
The presiding bishop and other Episcopal leaders called for prayer, justice and healing on April 20 as a jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota, found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all three counts of murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.
Transgender people should be called by their preferred name, according to a report to the Sydney Anglican Synod which will meet in May. “It is appropriate to call someone by the name that they prefer,” says the ‘Suggested Responses to Practical Questions’ report. “This does not necessarily express acceptance of their gender identification, but reflects what we do in all of life, where we call people by the name by which they prefer to be known.”
Facebook is facing a complaint under Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act that the company is not doing enough to moderate against hate speech. The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (Aman) announced on Wednesday it had lodged a complaint under sections nine and 18(c) of the act with the Australian Human Rights Commission over what the group says is Facebook’s failure to rein in hateful speech on its platform.
The Episcopal Church publicly released a report on April 19 that assesses the racial makeup and perceptions of a broad sampling of the church’s leadership and summarises how race influences internal church culture. The release of the 72-page report, nearly three years in the making, also sheds light on nine dominant patterns of racism that were identified during interviews with dozens of church leaders.
Churches around the Anglican Communion are deeply involved in the fight against racism, both within the structures of the church itself, and in wider society. The year 2020 was marked by an increase in support for the Black Lives Matter movement, following the death of George Floyd, an African American, at the hands of police officers in the US. Many churches released statements in response to the tragedy, affirming a commitment to racial reconciliation. Covid-19 has also disproportionately impacted minority groups. Churches around the world have been doing what they can in the fight against racism.
Catholic leaders are backing an Australia-wide campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years, saying that allowing children as young as 10 to be incarcerated is immoral and opposed to human dignity. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, more than 900 children aged 10 to 13 were placed in youth detention in Australia in 2018-19. More than 65 per cent of them were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children.
A religious freedom watchdog is urging the US State Department to name four additional countries to its list of the worst religious liberty offenders. In its 2021 annual report the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom said India, Russia, Syria and Vietnam should be considered “countries of particular concern.” Those nations have been found to have engaged in or permitted ongoing, systematic and egregious religious freedom violations.
The Christian romantic comedy genre attempts to balance entertaining content and theological depth. Often it misses the mark, trading Christian messages for ‘feel-good’ stories with vague Biblical undertones. Yet when the balance is successfully struck, these movies can have a great impact on young viewers by engaging them with the message of the Gospel.