Christian nationalism and 1950s nostalgia in the US election
The results of the midterm elections in the United States are said to be on the razor’s edge, with Republicans set to win the House of Representatives, but the Senate too close to be called. There were a few surprises. The Religion News Service reviews Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race, which ended in defeat for Christian nationalist Senator Doug Mastriano and victory for the state’s Jewish Attorney General, Josh Shapiro. He says Mastriano has embraced Christian nationalist themes such as anti-pandemic restrictions, pro-conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and references to signs from God. But his defeat does not mean Christian nationalism is dead, as hardliners will see that his choice as a candidate shows that those views still resonate. Another RNS report summarizes the Public Religion Research Institute’s 2022 American Values Survey which found that a sizable minority “yearn for a country reminiscent of the 1950s, embrace the idea that God created America to ‘is a new promised land for European Christians, views newcomers as a threat to American culture, and believes society has become too soft and feminine’.
American Muslims win a series of historic midterm results in the United States
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said there are 145 Muslim Americans running in midterm elections in the United States, including state legislatures. Its National Executive Director, Nihad Awad, said: “These newly elected officials build on the success of our community’s decades-long investment in civic engagement, voter registration and running for office,” adding that this indicated that American Muslims were moving from “marginalized voices to decision makers”. The “historic string of record results” will be collated and released today. The New Arabic, a London-based publication of Middle East News, claims that three Americans of Palestinian descent have won seats in the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib won re-election in Michigan, Ruwa Rumman became the first Muslim and Palestinian from Georgia to represent the state, and Abdel Nasser Rashid won in Illinois.
Chief Rabbi pays historic visit to UAE
The Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, is on a visit to the United Arab Emirates – the first official visit to an Arab state in its 318-year history. The Daily Telegraph accompanied him as he delivered the keynote speech at the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, an annual event attended by academics and religious and political leaders. He said the visit was only possible because of the 2020 Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain. He called for good relations between leaders to filter down to the grassroots and religious leaders to promote peace. According to Jewish News, the forum’s general secretary, Sheikh Al Mahfoudh bin Bayyah, believes the organization is moving towards a paradigm shift in how Muslims engage with others.
Pope calls again for end to ‘war madness’ in Ukraine
Pope Francis has once again spoken out against the “madness of war” in Ukraine and called for dialogue to end the conflict not only in Ukraine, but also in Syria, Yemen and Myanmar. Speaking at the weekly audience in Rome, he said wars destroy humanity and conflicts should not be resolved through war. He said the “tormented” Ukraine is a victim of war “which will never be resolved by the childish logic of arms, but only by the gentle force of dialogue”.
Statue of Queen Elizabeth installed in York Minster
A statue of Queen Elizabeth II has been installed on the west front of York Minster, watching over an area that will be known as Elizabeth Square. It was unveiled by his son, King Charles, who visited the city yesterday. The BBC reports that the statue “weighs nearly two tonnes and is made from French Lépine limestone. It depicts Queen Elizabeth wearing garter robes and the George IV state tiara, and holding the orb and scepter, symbols of authority. The King’s visit to York was widely reported after a protester threw eggs at him – but all four missed it.