Questions of Faith: Conscientious objection to military spending
Marc ShoffmanOriginal Broadcast:
Questions Of Faith
From Chilcot to Trident, there's plenty of conflict being discussed in the corridors of parliament. But some Christians are against nuclear weapons and support for Trident and others want to stop our taxes being used to fund defence and wars. Labour MP Ruth Cadbury will introduce a bill under the ten minute rule in Parliament to allow taxpayers to conscientiously object to their money being spent on the military. In this episode of Questions of Faith, Marc Shoffman speaks to the Brentford and Isleworth MP.
The Muslim community has come to the end of its holy month of Ramadan.
As well as a month of fasting the festival also has a big focus on charitable giving, known as Zakat.
But Islam isn't the only faith that puts charity at the centre of its beliefs.
Research commissioned by the BBC in 2014 found that people who have a religious belief are more likely to give to charity than non-believers.
Sikhs and Jews emerged as the most likely to share their wealth with a good cause, just ahead of Christians, Hindus and Muslims.
The study, carried out for the BBC's network of local radio stations found that levels of generosity across the British public are strikingly high, but highest among those with a religious faith.
As many as seven in 10 people in England said they had given money to a charity in the past month. But while just over two thirds of those who professed no religious faith claimed to have done so, among believers the figure rose to almost eight out of 10.
Among those polled, all of the Sikhs and 82 per cent of practising Jews had given money in the past month. Among practising Christians the figure was 78 per cent.
So what is it about religion that makes people so charitable?
Well as one example, in the Jewish faith there is a rule that people should give 10 per cent to charity, known as Tzedakah.
Marc Shoffman spoke to Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum of the Hadley Wood Jewish community to find out more.
Marc Shoffman looks at the reports of hate crime in the aftermath of the EU Referendum. Rita Lobo speaks to Imam Qari Asim, Imam at Leeds Mosque and Editor of Imams Online, on the rise in Islamophobia in recent days and what should be done to tackle this issue. Marc Shoffman speaks to Dr Kirsten Johnson, of the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum and supporter of Christians Stronger in Europe, about what this event means to her as a Christian. Christian author, Symon Hill, analyses the concept of the 'neighbour' in the Bible and how they apply to these difficult times.
All religions would say they welcome anyone who wants to worship. But there can be a lot of challenges, such as access to old religious buildings if you are in a wheelchair, or being able to read the small print of a bible if you are visually impaired. Marc Shoffman looks at the theological teachings behind disability with Naomi Lawson Jacobs, who is researching Disability and Christianity for a PHD. Reverend Bill Braviner and Dave Lucas, both from Disability and Jesus, and Dr Zachariah Duke, Academic Assistant to the Dean Lecturer in Theology and Biblical Studies at the Broken Bay Institute, speak to Marc ahead of Living Fully, a conference in Rome this week that looks at disability and religion.
Naomi Lawson Jacobs, Dr Zachariah Duke, Bill Braviner, Dave Lucas
Marc Shoffman speaks to Dr Keith Kahn Harris, Lecturer at Leo Baeck College and Director of the European Jewish Research Archive at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, about anti-Semitism and how it can be tackled. Jeremy Newmark, of Jewish Labour Movement, explains why there have been so many incidents of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
How does religion fit in the EU Referendum? Lord William Wallace, from Christians for Europe, and Adrian Hilton, Co-chair of Christians for Britain, join Marc Shoffman to discuss what role faith should play throughout the campaign. How big a factor should Christianity play when people come to vote?
Religions such as Judaism and Islam have strict rules on modesty when it comes to men and women in the way they dress and look. This has given rise to a whole industry around modest fashion. Marc Shoffman speaks to Anas Sillwood, who runs modest fashion webstie Shukr Clothing, about the teachings in the Muslim faith about modesty. Rabbi Benjy Rickman and his wife, Emily, also explain how modesty plays in the Jewish faith.
Marc Shoffman focuses on the ongoing issue of tax avoidance after it was revealed that the Church of England is investing in Google. The 2015 annual report from the Church Commissioners, which is the investment arm of the Church of England, revealed Alphabet Inc, parent company of the search engine, was among its top 20 holdings. Edward Mason, Head of Responsible Investment for the Church Commissioners, Toby Quantrill, Principal Adviser for Economic Justice at Christian Aid, and Mark Harper, Adviser for Trinity Wealth Management, join Marc to discuss this issue.
Marc Shoffman discusses the month of Ramadan with Financial Journalist, Amina Zafar, who explains what challenges Muslims face when fasting. Tufail Hussain, Islamic Relief Deputy Director and Head of Fundraising, looks at the campaign behind the charity’s bus adverts and explains how Muslims work out their Zakat. He also talks about Islamic Relief’s projects and how they are monitored.
Marc Shoffman speaks to Carrie Pemberton Ford, Director of Research for Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking, and Rabbi Lea Mühlstein of Jewish Social Justice campagn group, Tzelem. The guests discuss what each of their groups aim to raise awareness of human trafficking and ways in which it can be tackled.