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




Joe Biden's First Year Report; Chaplaincy; Where Do We Draw Our Moral Compass From?

As the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill continues its passage through Parliament, our Presenter Edward Stourton explores why the proposals on Protest are such a contentious issue, with Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain. Chaplains are appointed to work in all kinds of places outside the normal life of the Church, from hospitals to care homes, to schools, we hear from some of them on how they've dealt with the pressures of the past two years. One year on from the...


Faith-inspired public art; 100th online church service; Pagan extremism

What kinds of faith-inspired statues, sculptures and murals might we see in the future on Britain’s streets and public spaces? Faith groups are among those that have been encouraged to apply for part of a £1 million ‘untold stories’ grant from the Mayor of London which closes on Wednesday and aims to better represent the capital’s communities. The funding follows heated debate in the last few years over which statues should remain standing in the UK. Our reporter Vishva Samani’s been finding...


Archbishop Desmond Tutu's life and legacy, It's a Wonderful Life, Volunteering

Following the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bishop David Walker remembers the life and legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who helped end apartheid in South Africa. Actor and activist Michael Sheen tells William about the transformative encounters that led him to give away a large chunk of his earnings and turn himself into a social enterprise - a not-for-profit actor. Champion baker David Atherton shares his recipe for Florentines and talks candidly about growing up gay in a...


Angels, Churches and Omicron and Dorothy Day

This week Sunday hears from churches how they’re adjusting to the Government’s Plan B in light of rising cases of Omicron. Carol concerts are cancelled, Christmas services face restrictions, and clergy are becoming frazzled and weary. Buddhists at a monastery in Scotland say their silent retreats are being disturbed by gunfire. The Samye Ling Tibetan Centre at Eskdalemuir in Scotland is the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in western Europe and they are objecting to a planning application...



Steven Spielberg’s remake of the musical West Side Story has hit the big screen and with it there is renewed interest in its origins as a story of two lovers divided by religion. The man behind the screenplay for the new version, award winning writer Tony Kushner tells Edward about the film's Jewish roots. In a candid interview with Edward, the former Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones talks about his latest book ‘Justice for Christ’s Sake’ in which he which draws heavily on the lessons he...


The Pope in Greece; Columba - a post-Brexit saint; Religious Chart Toppers

Pope Francis is in Cyprus this week where he said that "walls of fear" and nationalism were slowing down Europe's progress. As he moves onto Greece, another country on the frontline of the migrant crisis, we'll hear how this visit is being greeted on the ground. In the aftermath of the crisis of 2015, when thousands of asylum seekers arrived in Greece, the government there toughened its stance on migrants. How do Catholics in Greece, itself not long in recovery after a deep economic...


The bible in BSL, the Rabbi and Kim Kardashian, and Rev Dr John Sentamu

The bible in sign language, the rabbi and Kim Kardashian, and Lord Bishop Sentamu


Rumi: The Musical, Asylum seeker conversions, Mother-and-baby homes in Northern Ireland

In the wake of last weekend’s bomb attack in Liverpool, carried out by an apparent convert to Christianity, Emily Buchanan and guests explore the role of religious conversion in the lives of those seeking asylum in the UK. The Stormont executive has agreed to accept all the recommendations of a panel set up to investigate institutions for unmarried mothers in Northern Ireland. We consider the implications and hear the testimony of one survivor, Adele Johnstone. While sayings of the 13th...


Europe's Best Cathedrals, FW. De Klerk's faith, and could Joe Biden be banned from Communion?

With thousands of migrants stranded in freezing temperatures, we explore the humanitarian crisis unfolding on Poland's border with Belarus. Wojciech Wilk from the Polish Centre for International Aid gives the picture on the ground and journalist Jonathan Luxmoore explains local Church leaders' response. To mark Remembrance Day, our reporter Vishva Samani joins a group of British Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims as they uncover forgotten stories of sacrifice and valour from their own communities....


Leonard Cohen's Spirituality; Is Faith Being Left Out Of COP 26?; St Cuthbert

The singer Leonard Cohen, who died five years ago, tells the story that a friend once told him: "You never met a religion you didn't like". Listen in to our investigation of his spiritual life and we're fairly confident you'll never hear a Cohen song in quite the same way again. Though he fell out with the Montreal Jewish community he grew up in, his music fuses Judaism and Christianity as well as ideas from Zen Buddism. We hear Cohen's own views on faith from the BBC archive, talk to Harry...


Black Muslims, COP26, Divali

“I feel like you almost need to perform to prove you are a Muslim” says makeup artist Zainab Hassan as a survey by Muzmatch confirms the discrimination many Black Muslims feel within some Muslim communities. Imam Rakin Niass and Imam Qari Asim discuss how to tackle this. 19 out of 20 of the most popular Christian American pages on Facebook were fake. Karen Hao tells Edward about the troll farms set up to exploit Facebook communities in the run up to last year’s Presidential election. As...


Last rites as an 'emergency service', Lebanon crisis, 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'

The Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury has called for greater recognition of the last rites as an “emergency service”, following concerns that a priest was unable to reach Sir David Amess, a Catholic, at the scene where he was attacked. Meanwhile in Parliament this week, there was talk of this being reflected in a so-called "Amess amendment" to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. Ed Stourton explores the implications. Sectarian violence on the streets of Beirut last week was the...


Church crawls, Religious toys, Jewish Fringe Festival

On this weekend’s Sunday programme, we continue to explore the future of religious worship, post-pandemic. Our reporter Nalini Sivasthasan looks into the renewed calls to make some Mosques more inclusive spaces for Muslim Women. And our Presenter Emily Buchanan speaks to the Imam and Scholar, Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra. Amidst the growing calls for the restitution of treasures looted from Africa during the colonial era, there sits in the British Museum a contested collection of Sacred Plaques...


Ben Fogle; Halal Student Finance; Day of the Scientist

Following in the footsteps of St Colomba, presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle has been on a pilgrimage across the Hebrides to explore themes of community and spirituality, He joins Edward Stourton to describe a personal journey that can be seen in a four part series on BBC One called 'Scotland's Sacred Islands with Ben Fogle'. A survey by Muslim Census has found that large numbers of Muslim students feel compromised by having to take out non halal student loans. The student loan scheme...



Is it possible for intense suffering to bring about great spiritual growth ? That’s the question our Presenter Emily Buchanan explores with the Psychologist and Author Dr. Steve Taylor in his book ‘Extraordinary Awakenings: When Trauma Leads to Transformation. It covers the stories of those who report transcendental experiences after a major trauma such as bereavement or witnessing violent conflict. Over a thousand Church Leaders are signatories to a letter urging the Government not to...


"Brown" Bouquets; Faith After The Pandemic; Deborah Feldman

This years' bumper wedding season - postponed because of the pandemic - means difficult flower choices for many a winter bride. The Chelsea Flower Show judge and Royal Wedding florist Shane Connolly believes that using unseasonal flowers at weddings and in churches is a real problem for the environment. Edward Stourton hears from recent brides who chose recycled bouquets and talks to Shane Connolly about "brown flowers" and why he wants churches to give up using plastic foams and imported...


Psalm 23 Garden, Sanctuary, Muslim Sibling Rivalry

The Chelsea Flower Show finally opens its doors on Monday 20th September. Reporter Vishva Samani went behind the scenes for a sneak preview of The Bible Society’s Garden, Psalm 23, designed by Sarah Eberle The Assisted Dying Bill gets its second reading in the Lords next month. As the debate gains momentum, our Presenter William Crawley asks how we can find more comfortable and beneficial ways of talking about the subject of death and dying. He’s joined by Liz Slade, Chief Officer of the...


Turban confusion, Jewish heritage, Hong Kong Christian activists

The first hate crime recorded after the 9/11 attacks in the US was against an observant American Sikh man Balbir Singh Sodhi. He was murdered by a man who thought his turban meant he supported the Taliban. Now Sikhs in the US and UK are concerned that the rising profile of the Taliban in Afghanistan is once again leading to abuse. We hear from the community and ask what might be done to remedy what they call "religious illiteracy". This year the UK opened its borders to people from Hong Kong...


British Muslims views on Afghanistan, Vaccine inequity, The traditions of the Jewish New Year.

As the Rt. Rev. Jonathan Goodall, the Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet resigns to become a Roman Catholic, we explore what it means for both faiths. Our Presenter Edward Stourton is joined by Christina Rees, who was a member of the Church of England’s Synod for twenty five years and also a prominent campaigner for the ordination of women, and the Right Reverend Monsignor Keith Newton, who is responsible for the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham. John Viney, a former Jehovah’s Witness Elder...


Religious minorities in Afghanistan, The rise and fall of Christian Ireland, George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’ 50 years on

As the UK urges the Taliban to guarantee a safe passage for those who want to leave Afghanistan beyond the 31 August deadline, there have been calls in the US to prioritise the resettlement of members of minority religious groups at risk of persecution. This week, William Crawley explores the situation on the ground for minority Christians and Hazara Shia Muslims. Ireland has long been regarded as the land of saints and scholars. Yet, despite Christianity’s long dominance on the Island of...