Week commencing 26th April 2021

The Guardian reports that a rabbi in Jerusalem has been accused of being an undercover Christian missionary from New Jersey. The rabbi has lived and worked for many years in an ultra-orthodox Jewish community, but now faces a challenge to his Jewish heritage from Beyneynu, an organisation that monitors missionary activity in Israel. 

The Guardian also reports that Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, has told a Christian conference that he was called by God to be PM. He is Australia’s first Pentecostal Prime Minister and has revealed he practices the laying on of hands in his work. 

Religion News Service reports that there has been a surge in interest in Tarot amongst young people in the US, as an expression of spirituality that has been taboo in the past. Now, the website explains, people from a variety of religious traditions are using Tarot as part of their spiritual practice. 

Religion News also runs with a story about an evangelical leader who is urging people to be vaccinated. Jamie Aten, a disaster psychologist, has received angry responses and death threats to his social media campaign to encourage fellow evangelicals to take up the jab. 

The Guardian reports that the UN has condemned the imprisonment of a Nigerian humanist. Mubarak Bala has been detained since last April without charge, but accused of blasphemy. 

NBC News reports that a Catholic priest in Wisconsin, in the US, is warning congregations against the coronavirus vaccine, defying the message from the Vatican. Rev. James Altman in a contradictory statement, claims that the virus is a hoax but that “God is still the best doctor and prayer is still the best medicine.” The news outlet states that the priest uses ‘misinformation’ to back up his anti-vaxxer stance.