The barbarity of the response to protest by the Syrian regime - bullets, shabihas and tanks that soon graduated to chemical weapons and TNT barrels - also weaponised an equally radical bunch of people who carry with them the cloak of religiosity although they do not care a jot about the future governance of Syria, says regional analyst Dr Harry Hagopian. So where do we go from here?
There is an intense debate about Religious Education in schools today. What about Theology and Religious Studies in university departments? Graeme Smith, who teaches public theology and the University of Chichester, looks at what the discipline involves. What does this mean for the MPs and others scrutinising from the outside? "Well I suspect that when they do come calling we shall have some questions for them as well," says Dr Smith.
The voice of the prophets was essential, the late Tony Benn argued, to challenge wrong-doing and wrong motives – to provide direction for the rulers who would listen, and stubborn unyielding opposition when they would not. This, he believed, should be the role of the church in relation to government. The Rev Benny Hazelhurst, former vicar of Tolpuddle, recalls a man of vision and social hope, who died on 14 March 2014.
A few weeks ago, Juliet Kilpin attended the community launch of Christians on the Left (www.christiansontheleft.org.uk) with a summit on faith, social action and social justice. In a packed food bank based in a London City Mission venue in Vauxhall, inspirational voices shared stories of action motivated by Christian faith. But the event and network raises other important questions about faith, politics, justice, class, witness and the use of the Bible, she suggests.
Privatisation hurtles on in the UK, regardless of the damage. Even David Cameron and George Osborne acknowledge that we have been badly served by the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), under which companies build hospitals, schools and prisons, then lease them back to the state, locking taxpayers into decades long maintenance contracts. Clare Sambrook exposes the underside of the privatising business, looking at who profits, who loses, who benefits and who decides.
Disabled and sick people's experience, views and expertise is frequently filtered out of skewed debates and discussions about welfare and benefits. Here researcher, blogger and campaigner Sue Marsh explains what it's like to negotiate the media circus as a person living with a deeply debilitating condition, how the mainstream media fails those most impacted by government-driven cuts and stigma, and why "we must make our own media".
Nearly one hundred representatives of the German member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) met from 16 to 18 January 2014 at the Evangelical Academy of Loccum in order to share their experiences from the WCC 10th Assembly in Busan, Korea, and to discuss how they would continue their way together on their pilgrimage of justice and peace. Christina Biere, a former WCC Central Committee member, summarises and shares their reflections and findings.
This is the full statement from an Ecumenical Consultation on Syria, involving churches from across the world, hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, from 15-17 January 2014, ahead of the upcoming Geneva II international talks on resolving the Syrian crisis.
It's time to talk about, and talk up, monetary reform – to ensure that the public good that is our money system once again serves the interests of wider society, not just those of private wealth. So says groundbreaking political economist Ann Pettifor, whose new book 'Just Money' demystifies the nature of money and the finance system, showing how and why it needs to be reconstructed.
The Lobbying Bill being debated at Westminster will do nothing to expose corporate lobbying, says Tamasin Cave, a director of SpinWatch, author, and leader of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency coalition. If we are going to diminish corporate commercial influence in government, we need to understand its tactics better and call them out.