A look at the ethical and religious issues of the week

A look at the ethical and religious issues of the week


London, United Kingdom




A look at the ethical and religious issues of the week




80th Anniversary of Dunkirk; Forgiveness and Will Hajj Happen?

Dom Gervase Hobson-Matthews was a monk who trained and taught at the Benedictine run Downside Abbey. During WW2 he served as a chaplain to the 1st Artillery Division. He kept a diary that chronicled his experience helping troops to withdraw from the beaches of Dunkirk where he was killed in June 1940. Days before his death, he rejected an opportunity to return home. To mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Dunkirk the Abbey’s Director of Heritage Dr Simon Johnson tells us about Dom...


Keeping fit South Asian style, Navajo Nation, Church post-lockdown

Award-winning fitness instructor Lavina Mehta is doing special exercise classes online for the elderly South Asian community in this country. She is joined every day by her 72-year-old mother-in-law Nishaben Mahendra Mehta who translates Lavina’s instructions into Gujarati and does all the exercises as well. This week, President Trump announced that the Navajo Nation - which includes vast stretches of land in northern Arizona, New Mexico and Utah - will receive more than 600 million dollars...


VE Day Anniversary; Christian Charity Crisis; Ramadan Online

On VE Day 75 years ago the bells of churches and cathedrals across the country were rung in celebration. Anniversary events will be very different this year as many of them have been cancelled as people adhere to rules that prohibit mass gatherings. Using archive and contemporary recordings from some who were there in May 1945 we remember the moment when the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied forces ended World War II in Europe. The charity Christian Aid has announced that...


'Telephone Lament for Coronavirus', US Lockdown Protests, 'Best of' Streamed Worship.

As protests to end the lockdown continue across some states in America, Edward Stourton speaks to two Christian pastors in Virginia who have responded differently to the stay-at-home order. Our correspondent Rahul Tandon reports on claims that Hindu nationalists are exploiting Covid-19 to ramp up prejudice against Muslims in India. Mud Orange – a new ‘creative agency’ launched at the start of this year's Ramadan - is, according to its founders, the first in the Western world to specialise in...


Chester Mystery Plays go online; Pope Francis on Covid-19; Jewish Chronicle's financial woes

There’s no Passion play on the streets of Chester this year, so the city’s Mystery Plays go online for the first time. In an exclusive interview with the papal biographer and journalist Austin Ivereigh, Pope Francis has given an insight into his life under lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the BBC's Middle East correspondent Yolande Knell reflect on the impact that coronavirus has had on Easter...


Covid ethical dilemmas; Plants for Passion; Holy Howlers

The Covid pandemic has created ‘battlefield’ conditions for UK doctors who may soon have to make very difficult decisions about who to prioritise for life-saving treatment. Edward Stourton discusses the underlying ethical principles with Dominic Wilkinson, Professor of Medical Ethics at Oxford University; and Rev Dr Brendan McCarthy, National Adviser on Medical Ethics for The Church of England. Urban naturalist Bob Gilbert uncovers some of the native plants and trees in Britain that have a...


Covid-19 Funerals; Charity Funding; Fuad Nahdi

As the UK adapts to the social restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic, Edward Stourton looks at the impact it is having on grieving families at funerals. How do you greet people in a time of social distancing? Shaunaka Rishi Das, Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, tells Edward about the Hindu greeting known as the Namaste. Yahya Birt and the Bishop of Bradford, Toby Howarth pay tribute to the former Editor of Q News, Fuad Nahdi, who died last weekend. And why is Brazil's...


Response of Religions to Coronavirus; Worship Online; Mothing Sunday

The landscape for all faith communities has changed dramatically this week. The doors to churches, mosques, temples and cathedrals closed as communities do their bit to try and keep worshipers safe and reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But keeping those communities together and supporting them through a time of national crisis is proving to be challenging. Joining Edward Stourton to discuss how their faith communities are navigating the current crisis are the Rev Prof Gina Radford - a...


The Bones of Saint Eanswythe; Christ Church College Dispute; Coronavirus and the Vatican

In the coastal town of Folkestone, historians and archaeologists are celebrating a remarkable find. It dates from 7th Century and is thought to be the earliest verified remains of the English Saint Eanswythe – one of the first converts to Christianity in England. The BBC's Religion Editor, Martin Bashir, reports from Folkestone. Andrew Billen from The Times unpacks the dispute between the Dean of Christ Church College and the some of the academic staff that has cost over £2.5 million in...


Digital Religion; International Women's Day; Coronavirus and a South Korean Religious Sect

Sophia Smith Galer reports on religious apps, in the first of a three part series for the BBC World Service Heart and Soul on religion in the digital age. To mark International Women’s Day we hear from three young women about what their faith means to them in 21st century Britain. And the BBC’s Laura Bickers tells Edward why a South Korean religious sect is being investigated over its links to the high number of Coronavirus confirmed cases in the country. Producers: Catherine Earlam, Helen...


Vatican "Secret" Archives; Coping with Trauma and Dehli Religious Riots

The Vatican “Secret” archives will be opened on Monday – what new findings might emerge about Pope Pius X11 war time dealings? Historian David Kertzer and Lisa Billig,the American Jewish Committee's representative to the Holy See, talk about what they expect to discover. L'Arche communities around the world support people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them. Last week a community report concluded that it's founder Jean Vanier abused six adult women. Emily Buchanan talks...


Doom Paintings, Illegal Schools; Bloomberg and the Jewish Vote

One of England's largest 'doom' paintings has been restored in St Thomas's Church, Salisbury. These medieval paintings depict the moment when Christ judges souls to send them to either Heaven or Hell. Over the years many were painted over or damaged. William Crawley talks to Rev Kelvin Inglis about what the restoration of the Salisbury 'doom' painting has revealed. As the government announces more measures to crackdown on illegal schools, many of which have a religious character, we hear...


When Gospel Meets Hip-hop; Safeguarding; National Holocaust Memorial

Christian rap and grime artist Guvna B travels to the US to explore the fusion of gospel music and hip-hop The Church of England may have to pay out hundreds of millions of pounds to compensate survivors of sexual abuse following a unanimous vote at this week's General Synod. The Church's incoming Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Rt Rev Jonathan Gibbs, put forward an amendment calling for serious money to be committed for redress and for a safeguarding policy reshaped by survivors. So is this...


Franklin Graham; Faith and Film; Red Sea Spies

Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was scheduled to come to the UK for an 8 city tour beginning in May. As all the venues say they have cancelled his bookings Edward asks him why people appear to be uncomfortable with his visit and how he plans to respond. A clandestine operation carried out by one of the world’s most secretive intelligence agencies used a fake diving resort on the coast of Sudan to evacuate the ‘lost tribe’ of black Jews in...


Church of England football; Lawyer to Asia Bibi; The Rule of Benedict

The Church of England’s has its first official football team, founded by an ex-professional from Iran who is now a priest in Sunderland. Emily talks to Rev. Pauya Hedari, captain and founder of the newly-formed Archbishop of Canterbury FC, about this team that will be made up exclusively of priests. Ten years ago the case of a young Christian woman in Pakistan made headlines when she was sentenced to death for blasphemy. Her case was so controversial that two Pakistani politicians were later...


Remembering the Holocaust; RE in Wales; Ezekiel Bread

To mark 75 years of liberation from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp Frank Bright and Ziggy Shipper both survivors of the camp talk about their experiences. A loaf of bread based on an ancient recipe in the Old Testament has become the latest nutritional in thing. Victoria Beckham posted a picture of her breakfast of smashed avocado on a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread and others have been following suit. Sunday’s David Cook bakes some Ezekiel bread and Vanessa Kimble tells William...


A Hidden Life, Xenobots, Synagogue Leadership Row

The true story of a Catholic, Austrian peasant farmer, who refused to pledge allegiance to Hitler but was let down by the Church is the subject of the film, A Hidden Life, out in cinemas this week. Bishop John Sherrington joins Sunday to discuss whether the film sheds new light on the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Nazis. This week came news that researchers in the US have created the first living machines by assembling cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots that...


Australian wildfires; China's religious prison camps; a 12th C Monk's diet

Edward Stourton with the week's religious and ethical news.


The Spirituality of Bees; Celebration Earth and Ethical Veganism.

Farah Jarral looks at the spirituality of the Bee. Long before we understood the ecological importance of the bee, it was already a precious symbol for many faiths and communities for centuries. Against a back drop of horrendous fires and floods engulfing the parts of the world, Celebration Earth is being launched. It’s an invitation to community groups, faith groups and large organisations to come together to celebrate the earth and help combat Climate change. Emily Buchanan discusses this...


The Mayflower - 400 years

In the autumn of 1620, 102 passengers set sail from England aboard the Mayflower. Many of those sailing were Puritans, looking for the freedom to practice their religious ideas. Others wanted a fresh start in the New World. The treacherous journey took 66 days and as the Pilgrims established their new colony they battled harsh winters, disease and internal dissent. As the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey is about to be commemorated, Emily Buchanan explores the Pilgrim’s journey,...