Archbishop condemns plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby used his Easter sermon to condemn the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as “the opposite of God’s nature”. He said there were serious ethical issues in the policy and that it could not “carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values… Outsourcing our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well, like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself has taken responsibility for our failures.” The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, backed up the criticism. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday show, he said he was appalled at the proposal “It’s unethical,” he told Story Here
The plan was also condemned by the provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, Kelvin Holdsworth, as “immoral, shameless and obscene”.
In a Times article, Home Secretary Priti Patel defended the plans as the act of a humanitarian nation, saying the archbishop should come up with his own solutions.
Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend, said Justin Welby misunderstood what the policy was trying to achieve because it was not about an abandonment of responsibility, but of a very difficult responsibility.
Conservative expert Tim Montgomerie tweeted that Christians can legitimately support or oppose Rwandan politics if – in their souls – their ultimate goal is a more secure and sustainable refugee policy. “How dare my Archbishop say that Anglicans like me are somehow acting against God because we favor a different path towards common goals.”
Pope calls for end to ‘cruel and senseless war’ in Ukraine
In his Easter address, Pope Francis called on world leaders to hear the cry for peace on this “Easter of war”. In his ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (to the city and to the world) message delivered to thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, he said Ukraine was sorely tried by the violence and destruction of war cruel and senseless into which she was drawn. . He thanked those who had taken in refugees from Ukraine and spoke of the terrible stories of suffering and death. He said: “Let us all pledge to cry out for peace, from our balconies and in our streets! May the leaders of the nations hear the call of the people for peace. (story here)
Bishop frustrated by delays in getting Ukrainian refugees to UK
The Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Most Reverend Martin Seeley, has called for changes to the “frustrating” process for Ukrainian refugees to settle with willing families in the UK. He told the BBC he had signed up to host a family but still did not know when they might arrive.
Clashes with riot police at Al Asqa Mosque in Jerusalem leave more than 150 injured
152 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli riot police inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on Good Friday. Police said a crowd of masked men carrying Palestinian and Hamas flags marched toward the mosque compound, a site also sacred to Jews known as the “Temple Mount,” the location of the second Temple. Police said masked men threw rocks and firecrackers at them, so they used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Tensions are heightened as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover.
Four days of protests in Sweden against threats to burn the Koran
Threats to burn the Koran from a right-wing, anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic political party in Sweden sparked protests over four days of Easter at rallies across the country. 26 police officers and 14 protesters or members of the public were injured, 40 people were arrested and 20 police vehicles were destroyed. Rasmus Paludan admitted to burning a copy of the Quran and said he wanted to do it again.
Prohibit same-sex marriage for religious reasons not contrary to Bermuda’s constitution
A legal tangle around a law in Bermuda that says marriage is a union only between a man and a woman, ended with a final judgment supporting the restriction. Same-sex marriage was permitted in 2017 until it was overturned by Parliament in 2018. Legal challenges reinstated same-sex marriage months later, but it was again appealed to the Council’s Judiciary Committee private party from the UK, which ruled last week that a ban on same-sex marriage did not contravene Bermuda’s constitution simply because it was passed for a religious purpose.
Worship Jesus 30,000 feet in the air on an Easyjet flight
A video showing young Christians singing on guitars during an airplane flight has gone viral on social media. Jack Jensz Jr., founder of Pennsylvania-based Kingdom Realm Ministries, filmed and posted the Instagram video “Worshipping Jesus 30,000 Feet In The Air”, while on TikTok he commented “We’re taking this flight for Jesus!”. It is reported that he and his group were on an Easyjet flight on their way home from helping refugees in Ukraine and had asked permission from the flight attendant and pilot. There was a backlash on social media. Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar suggested she and her family would have to hold a prayer meeting on an airplane, wondering how it would end.