Religion in the News: 25th Feb – 3rd Mar

Welcome to this edition of Religion in the News.

This week in the news,


BBC News reports: ‘South Africa ‘resurrection’ pastor challenged to raise Mandela’

South African Pastor, Alph Lukau claims to have brought a man back from the dead, and was challenged by another preacher for “bringing Christianity into disrepute” with the fake resurrection. Lukau was seen in a recent viral video of the ‘resurrection’.

The other preacher named Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng said that if Lukau could raise the dead then he should go to Nelson Mandela’s grave.

Motsoeneng has also been mocked online for saying he had gone to heaven and taken pictures on his phone.

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa commented on the matter  stating that the government should curb “religious leaders of questionable practices” who take advantage of people.


BBC News further reports: ‘Egypt al-Azhar imam warns against polygamy an ‘injustice’ for women’

The grand imam of al-Azhar, a top Egyptian Islamic institution said that polygamy can be be an “injustice for women and children”.

In this statement the imam was not stating he wanted a ban on polygamy but that in practicing polygamy, fairness should be ensured when having multiple wives.

“Those who say that marriage must be polygamous are all wrong”, he stated;  monogamy is the rule, and polygamy the exception.


The Guardian reports: ‘Cardinal declined to meet abuse victim before Vatican summit’

 A woman who was sexually abused by a Catholic priest as a teenager was declined a meeting with the leader of the Catholic church in England and Wales before the Vatican abuse summit last month.

The woman (unnamed) asked to meet Cardinal Vincent Nichols to discuss her treatment and the handling of the case by the Church, to which the Cardinal’s office responded that his diary was too full for the meeting.

The woman stated “I feel incredibly frustrated, but in some ways not surprised.”

She made a formal complaint to the Catholic Church due to the way her case was handled, saying that “I felt like I was in the wrong…”.


The Guardian further reports: ‘George Pell appeals over ‘fundamental irregularity’ in his sexual abuse trial’

Pell argues that his child sexual abuse case should be overturned or he should receive a retrial due to “fundamental irregularity” which prevented him from starting a not-guilty plea in front of the jury.

Pell was convicted in December 2018 of sexually abusing two choirboys when he was the Archbishop of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne. The article includes an overview of George Pell and his conviction.

Pell’s appeal includes the argument that the jury relied on evidence from only one victim, claiming that “The verdicts are unreasonable and cannot be supported, having regard to the evidence…”.


Al Jazeera reports: ‘Turkey urges China to protect religious freedom in Xinjiang’

 Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu voiced concerns over China’s treatment of Muslims, including the Uighur, in the Xinjiang region of China, and called for the protection of their religious freedom.

The UN Human Rights Council looked to Turkey and other members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to highlight China’s “reeducation and training” facilities in Xinjiang.

A senior Chinese diplomat claimed that Beijing’s counter-terrorism and deradicalisation efforts in Xinjiang should be applauded for its new way of tackling the problem.

The region has been under heavy security since an anti-government riot in the capital of the region in 2009.


Religion News Service reports: ‘Faith is no excuse for skipping vaccines, says med school professor

 This article outlines the dangerous, growing anti-vaccination movement, which has led to outbreaks of measles in places in Washington state. 

Dr. Peter Hotez wants to push back against the movement which is fueled by misinformation. He says “We need a more robust system of pro-vaccine advocacy in this country”.

Hotez is supporting efforts by lawmakers in Washington and Oregon to remove exemptions from vaccinations based on philosophical or personal reasons which  would include religious reasons. 

“I started seeing a trend in Texas where thousands of kids weren’t getting vaccinated due to phony non-medical exemption reasons, so it prompted me to write the book,” Hotez stated.


And finally,

A ‘photos of the week’ piece by the RNS featuring photos presenting religious expression from around the world. This week, images include: LQBTQ+ people reacting to Traditional plan being adopted by United Methodist Church, dancing members of the Gur Hassidic sect of Judaism during a wedding in Jerusalem, and Pope Francis along with clergy members attending a penitential liturgy in the Vatican.