Parliament’s part in the C of E’s rifts on equality for women and gay people | Letters

Westminster interference over women priests left a legacy that is still felt today, says April Alexander, while Andy Foster says equality for LGBTQ+ people in the church must become law

MPs may “raise concerns” about the fact that the Church of England appears not to be willing to offer marriage in church to same-sex couples (Welby ‘would rather see C of E disestablished than split over same-sex marriage’, 1 February ), but parliament has something to answer for in relation to the church and its attitude on such matters.

In 1992, the General Synod passed a relatively simple measure to allow women to become priests, but not to impose them where a parish wanted to maintain the then position of appointing only male priests. That did not satisfy the ecclesiastical committee of the time (a joint committee of MPs and peers) and they demanded “protection” and “safeguarding” against women priests by means of an Act of Synod. The church had no alternative but to oblige – and complicated arrangements were agreed whereby evangelical and, broadly, Anglo-Catholic parishes could opt out of the new regime and elect not to appoint women priests or to consider them for posts.

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There’s no cycle of violence in Jerusalem – only Israel’s lethal oppression of my people | Jalal Abukhater

From house demolitions to military detention, the violence we Palestinians face daily reflects the power imbalance of occupier and occupied

Almost every day, the bulldozers are on the move. In the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, my city, Israeli forces are demolishing homes on an almost daily basis. Dispossession and discrimination have been a longstanding reality here in the eastern part of the city, under Israeli military occupation for 56 years, but under the new far-right Israeli government, Jerusalem has seen a spike in demolitions – more than 30 structures were destroyed in January alone.

The news from our region in western capitals and media outlets tends to be dominated by bloodshed – and the Palestinian people are going through some of the most violent, destructive and lethal days in recent memory. The year 2022 was the deadliest in nearly two decades in the occupied West Bank. In January a further 31 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire. Hopelessness, frustration and despair hover over us all like a dark cloud. But the numbers alone do not express the extent of this cruelty.

Jalal Abukhater is a writer from Jerusalem

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I have seen race hate in the US and UK and the message is the same: no one is free until we are all free | Al Sharpton

In both countries, policing still devalues Black lives, but there is good news: we have seen progress, and know our struggle yields results

I came to London more than 30 years ago to protest against the vicious murder of 15-year-old Rolan Adams . He and his younger brother were waiting at a bus stop when they were chased by a gang of white teenagers, many yelling racial epithets. Adams was stabbed in the neck with a butterfly knife and died.

The white mobs here were eerily similar to the white mobs we witnessed while protesting in places like Bensonhurst , Brooklyn. Similar stares, similar hate, similar use of the “N-word”, similar unease, similar tension and a similar lack of justice. More than three decades later, I return to share my film, Loudmouth , which chronicles my lifelong journey advocating and fighting for civil rights. While there has been progress that I have witnessed first-hand, both the US and the UK are still dealing with an excessive amount of police brutality. Whether it is back home or across the pond, the need for effective, thorough police reform is long overdue and we are here to demand it in unison.

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