Gender Neutral Babies, Rahmen Chisti, Persecuted Christians
A family from Bristol are bringing up their baby as gender neutral. They say it's to help their baby avoid unconscious gender bias. We hear from the family and discuss the theological implications of such decisions.
The deadline for responses to a report on the persecution of Christians, led by the Bishop of Truro, Philip Mounstephen, was this week. Some organisations have raised concerns about aspects of the report and its methodology. William talks to Rev Bonnie Evans-Hills, Coordinator for UK Coalition, who is concerned about the report and submitted a response on behalf of a number of faith groups and academics and Andrew Boyd from Release International.
Rehman Chisti is the Prime Minister's new Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief. He discusses what will happen to the recommendations in the report and his priorities for his new role.
Gun-carrying Pastor, Crowdfunding Ethics, William Blake's beliefs
In November 2017 a gunman walked into a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and shot dead 26 parishioners. The pastor of that church, Frank Pomeroy, lost his 14 year old daughter in the attack. He tells William Crawley why he’s now running for political office and why he wears a gun in the pulpit.
A crowdfunding page launched by a Muslim group opposed to LGBT relationships lessons has been removed. GoFundMe said the page violated its terms of service by raising money to fight an injunction preventing protesters from gathering outside a Birmingham primary school. John Coventry, Europe Director of GoFundMe and Anne McElvoy, senior editor at the Economist discuss the ethics of crowdfunding.
Sheikh Yusuf Motala, one of the most significant figures in British Islam, has died. He was head of the Islamic institution, Darul Uloom in Bury. One of his pupils, Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra and the BBC’s Home Affairs Correspondent Dominic Casciani explain his influence.
As a new William Blake exhibition opens at Tate Britain in London, Blake author and academic David Fallon explores how his unique and unorthodox beliefs shaped his art.
Should you break a promise, Sacred trees, The legacy of Mugabe
Should you make a promise you can’t keep? We reflect on the ethical issues thrown up by the week’s events in Parliament.
Pope Francis has embarked on a 3 nation African tour. He’s visiting Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius. Martin Bashir, the BBC’s Religion Editor, has been travelling with the Pope.
The historian Dan Jones has just written a new account of the era through the multiple perspectives of characters whose stories have seldom been heard.
Much of the coverage of Robert Mugabe’s death has pondered on how a liberator became a tyrant. The answer is complex, as is the relationship between Christians in Zimbabwe and their former leader.
And we have an in-depth investigation into the allegations of sexual and physical abuse against Sogyal Rinpoche.
Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham
Editor: Amanda Hancox
Who is protecting the rights of indigenous people in the Amazon? We hear from Kawá, an Amazonian tribesman living in the UK about how his tribe has been affected by the fires and Adriana Ramos from the The Instituto Socioambiental in Brazil.
A group of Church of England bishops has issued an open letter on the prospect of a 'no-deal' Brexit and the need for national reconciliation. Rt Rev Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, tells us why the letter has been written. Quentin Letts, Church going member of the Church of England, and political sketch writer at The Times shares his concerns.
Tim Farron, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, talks about his book, A Better Ambition.
What’s it like to be a Muslim Policewoman in North Yorkshire? Uzma Amireddy is the Positive Action Co-ordinator for North Yorkshire Police.
After the death of Sogyal Rinpoche, author of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, we explore his legacy with author Mary Finnigan, who wrote ‘Sex and Violence in Tibetan Buddhism - The Rise and Fall of Sogyal Rinpoche'.
And it’s the 50th Anniversary of the Churches Conservation Trust. The charity is holding a debate asking: who is going to look after these buildings in the future? We visit All Souls church in Bolton, under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, and hear from Simon Jenkins, a Trustee of the Trust, about what he thinks should happen to historic buildings.
Producer: Louise Clarke-Rowbotham
Editor: Amanda Hancox
Religion and Music
In a special Sunday programme, Edward Stourton takes a look at the relationship between religion and music.
He begins with Gospel music and talks to historian Viv Broughton, promoter Roy Francis and singer Dawn Thomas Wallace about music that has its roots in the black oral tradition and which has had a massive impact on the popular music scene.
The Rev Dr Jonathan Arnold discusses why religious music is still popular despite declining attendances at our traditional churches.
Edward also investigates the power of music to induce a sense of spiritual well being with Neurologist Professor Michael Trimble and Music Psychologist Dr Ruth Herbert. And Professor Rupert Till explains why he believes that popular music has become the primary location for young people to find meaning and belief in their lives.
Music Therapist Grace Meadows describes how music can give a voice to those who have difficulty in communicating.
The programme ends with Cantor Zoe Jacobs - Britain's first Cantor in Reform Judaism - talking about her role.