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




Sunday: 'Music of the soul'; Faith and Forgiveness; Racism in the Church of England

Emily Buchanan with a look at the ethical and religious issues of the week.


The Duke of Edinburgh's Faith, Northern Ireland Violence, The Musical Human

Following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, William Crawley looks back on his life and reflects on his faith with Bishop Graham James, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, historian Coryne Hall and the writer Martin Palmer. Also in the programme, as violence returns to the streets of Northern Ireland, how significant is this moment and do religious leaders have any influence on events? With the Catholic Bishop Noel Treanor, and the Presbyterian Moderator, Dr David Bruce. And the musicologist...


Sunday: The Duke of Edinburgh's Faith, Northern Ireland Violence, The Musical Human

The Duke of Edinburgh's Faith, Northern Ireland Violence, The Musical Human


Harry Connick Junior; Fiona Bruce, Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief and Sir David Suchet

The singer and musician Harry Connick Junior is a Grammy and Emmy winning star. He's sold more than 28 million records worldwide and is in constant demand for concerts internationally. So when Covid struck, he found himself with time on his hands. The result is a new album Alone with My Faith. Last December, the Conservative MP Fiona Bruce was appointed the Prime Minister's Global Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief. In her first broadcast interview since being appointed, she tells...


Handel's Messiah; RE and the Cartoon Row; Sikh Domestic Abuse

The English National Opera and BBC Two are going ahead with a full rendition of Handel's Messiah over Easter. The soprano Nadine Benjamin and the conductor Laurence Cummings tell Emily Buchanan why this socially distanced performance means so much to them. After a tense week in which a Batley school used an "inappropriate" image of the Prophet Mohammed, we discuss how you strike the balance between teaching controversial subjects and promoting respect and tolerance. Emily Buchanan is joined...


"Witch" songs; The Ethics of Protest; LGBT+ Catholics

I've Forgotten Now Who I Used To Be is an album from Ghana's so called Witch Camps. The Italian-Rwandan film maker Marilena Delli Umuhoza and the Grammy award winning producer Ian Brennan recorded music made by women accused of witchcraft and ostracised. Most are guilty of nothing more than being older, destitute or of having disabilities. The couple specialise in documenting the music of the marginalised from prisoners in Malawi to genocide survivors in Rwanda. It is, they say, the music of...


Strange Fruit; Prison during the Pandemic; Religion and the Census

In this episode of Sunday we hear the little known Jewish history of one of the most influential protest songs of the 20th century 'Strange Fruit' and how it came to be performed by Billie Holiday, which is the subject of the film 'The United States vs Billie Holiday' currently streaming on Sky Cinema. Former prison inmate now prison chaplain, Jonathan Aitken takes us inside HMP Pentonville, as he describes a year of prison chaplaincy during the pandemic which he says has led to some...


A special programme to celebrate International Women's Day

Sister Norma Pimentel is one of the most important advocates for immigrants in the United States. For over three decades, she has been working to support migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. along Texas border with Mexico and as Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, she directs efforts to provide shelter, food, sanctuary and comfort to people often treated as less than human. Last year she made Time magazine's list of the100 most influential people and her work...


Black Church Vaccine Push; Pope's Historic Visit to Iraq; Decorating Graves

Sixty of the country’s black majority churches have joined forces to support the Covid vaccination programme. Pastor Agu Irukwu, head of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, which is operating a pop-up vaccination centre, talks to Ed Stourton about what they are doing to tackle vaccine hesitancy. Pope Francis is due to visit Iraq this Friday. It will be the pontiff's first international trip since the start of the pandemic, but the Pope is said to be intent on going. Dr Elizabeth Monier,...


Elton John's Rocketman for Lent; Young Worshipers and Climate Change; Nigeria's Oscars bid

Can Elton John really help us think differently about Lent? Canon Rachel Mann believes he can and she tells William how the rock star known for his flamboyance inspired her guide to the Christian season of self-examination and fasting which began this week. This week the Catholic Church in England announced new action on climate change, to be led by the diocese of Salford. The Church of England too has pledged zero carbon emissions by 2030. And the Islamic Relief charity is helping Muslims...


Every Day Sounds That Make Us Happy; Dissappeared Christian and Black Church Domestic Abuse.

What every day sounds make you happy; the sound of a coffee pot percolating, a cat purring or Church bells ringing? Musician Tommy Perman asked that question and has produced an album using everyday sounds. William Crawley talks to Tommy about why and how he made the album happen? On 13 February 2017, Malaysian Christian worker Raymond Koh was abducted. His family has been lobbying for his release or news of his fate ever since. They say they've received minimal cooperation from the Police...


The Skipping Sikh; David Baddiel; Gospel Music

The Queen hailed Captain Tom Moore, the 100-year-old who raised millions for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, as an "inspiration" this week after he died of coronavirus. We talk to 73 year old Rajinder Singh who was inspired by Captain Tom to become the "Skipping Sikh" - he gained worldwide acclaim for the exercise videos he made to cheer up his community in isolation and ended up raising money for the NHS as well. Maybe more than at any other point in history, we are talking now...


Archbishop of York; Nazir Afzal; Islamic Relief Worldwide

After the devastating news this week that 100,000 people have died in the UK after contracting Covid-19, the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell tells Ed Stourton why he and the Archbishop of Canterbury are inviting the nation to join them in prayer every day at 6pm during the month of February. Nazir Afzal was Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England from 2011 to 2015. He built his career on bringing people to justice. This week he called for a public inquiry into the Government's...


Faith and Kamala Harris; China's Uighar Minority; How to be a Refugee

When Kamala Harris was sworn in as the US vice-president this week, Hindus gathered in her family's ancestral home town in India to pray for her success. Much is said about her status as the first woman and first African American to hold her post, but less about her South Asian heritage. In this week's programme William Crawley asks how important her Hindu background is to her and to Americans. One of the final acts of the Trump administration this week was to declare that China's treatment...


Lichfield Cathedral Becomes Vaccination Hub; Martin Luther King Day and Sikh Devotional Music

Lichfield Cathedral has committed to helping a medical practice vaccinate the local community for a year, meaning that for several days a week it will sacrifice its worship space for public health. Few cathedrals are accessible to the elderly and vulnerable who need to be vaccinated immediately – but fortunately Lichfield, which was built as a medieval centre of healing for pilgrims, was built with step-free access way back in the 12th century. Sophia Smith-Galer reports. Monday the 18th...


President Trump, white supremacy and Christianity; Children of Catholic Priests; Christmas lights stay on

There were crosses, “Jesus Saves” signs and “Jesus 2020” flags that mimicked the design of the Trump flags. Christian symbols were on display as the world watched rioters storm into the US Capitol on Wednesday. As many of the President's allies withdraw their support for him in the dying days of his presidency Edward investigates the religious rhetoric and symbolism that Trump and his supporters have embraced. The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde is the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of...


Religious News Review; Hospital Chaplain; Religion and Vaccine Scepticism

For our first programme of 2021 we brought together three journalists to talk about the big religious news stories of the past year and what they expect to be reporting on in the next. Emily Buchanan is joined by Justin Cohen, News Editor at The Jewish News, Aina Khan a freelance journalist who writes for Al Jazeera among others and Ruth Gledhill, Multi-media Editor of the Catholic magazine The Tablet. As hospitals across the country struggle under the strain of the current spike in...


Hope, Devotional music, Cold water swimming

Is it possible to find hope in a pandemic? One thing many agree on is that a pandemic can reveal much about who we really are, individually and as a society. Pandemics can expose the cracks in our health care and the inequalities that separate us – nationally and globally. If that’s true, pandemics also give us a chance to learn how to care for one another better. That’s a message we often hear from those working in development charities around the world as they’ve continued to combat...


Bethlehem's quiet Christmas, Cardinal Pell's prison journal, Choir's Covid test

Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem have begun their Christmas celebrations under strict restrictions following a surge in corona virus cases in the occupied West Bank. As Yolande Knell reports, church leaders say Bethlehem will continue with its festivities to try to send a hopeful message to the world. In 2019 Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to six years in prison for 'historical sexual assault offences'. Earlier this year the Australian High Court voted 7-0 to overturn the original...


Indian farmers' strike; Lock-down Conversions; Christmas Lights at Durham Cathedral

Millions of farmers across India are striking in a dispute with the government over new agricultural laws. The Government says the new law would free farmers from a current system of middlemen, but the farmers believe prices will fall and small farmers will struggle. Indians of many faiths are involved but the majority are Sikh and Sikh communities around the world have been demonstrating, concerned at what might become of the some 146 million farms in India, with an average size of less...