Religion News 22 September

Image credit: Muzmatch

Pope calls for the coronavirus vaccine to be distributed equally

Pope Francis has called for the coronavirus vaccine to be distributed equally to everyone, especially the poor. The Catholic Herald reports that in an address to the Italian Pharmaceutical Bank, Pope Francis said it would be sad if priority is given to the wealthiest, or confined to one country and not available for everyone. “Too many people, too many children are still dying in the world because they are denied access to a drug that is available in other regions, or to a vaccine. We know the danger of the globalization of indifference.” The Pharmaceutical Bank was set up to provide medicines for the poor  and the Pope called on pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies and governments to work towards the goal of a “more equitable distribution of medicines”.

Conservative Roman Catholic front runner to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Roman Catholic, is being hailed as a front runner to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Independent reports that she is regarded highly by religious conservatives and others on the right for her conservative views on abortion and gun rights. Aged 48, she is from Chicago and was previously an academic at Notre Dame university. Donald Trump has vowed to appoint a woman as soon as possible.

Jews practice their religion with confidence in UAE

Jews in the United Arab Emirates have been given permission to practice their religion openly, following the historic peace deal with Israel. The Telegraph reports that Rabbi Levi Duchman, the only resident rabbi in the UAE says his synagogue teems with new life and the anonymous Jewish community is coming out of the shadows. Residency visas never gave the option of declaring a religion as Jewish, but now hotels serve kosher meat and kosher wine is available in licensed shops.

School assistant sacked for LGBTQ+ beliefs aired on social media

Kristie Higgs, a school assistant from Gloucestershire, is challenging her dismissal for engaging in a social media debate on a school programme about teaching LGBTQ+ rights.  She was dismissed for gross misconduct by her secondary school, after posting objections to the ‘No Outsiders’ programme which was being introduced in her son’s primary school. She told the tribunal that it was her Christian duty to speak out to defend the “Bible truth” that God made male and female and same sex marriages are contrary to God’s law. She did not believe in gender fluidity and transgenderism. The conservative Christian Legal Centre is supporting her case.

Muslim dating app “Muzmatch” soars in the pandemic

Muzmatch, “the world’s largest dating app”, saw the number of users spike by 13 per cent in the first two weeks after lockdown in March. There was a 45 per cent increase in downloads of the app in the week leading up to the lockdown announcement on March 23. The Express and Star reports that the app has religious filters, so you can select a match by sect, ethnicity, religiosity, dress and how much they pray. It also allows the use of chaperones, who can enter conversations for peace of mind. The app has 3 million members in 190 countries.