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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, Sheik 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.

Dan Tierney
Rosie Dawson

Series Producer:
Amanda Hancox

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
Rosie Dawson
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.

Helen Lee
Peter Everett

Legal loopholes, Christian Liberty, conflict resolution and World Humanitarian Day

Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham explains why some MPs want to close a legal loophole so that it is illegal for sports coaches and religious leaders to have sex with anyone in their care under the age of 18.

Maji Peterx is a specialist in conflict resolution and has brought together former members and victims of Boko Haram in trauma awareness and peace-building workshops. He talks to Emily about his work and explains what he will be doing in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin this week.

Why is one of Scotland’s biggest pilgrimage sites to close? Despite a petition with over 5000 signatures to keep it open, the pilgrimage centre at Carfin Grotto, North Lanarkshire, is likely to close as officials say it’s not making enough money.

And Monday 19th August is the United Nations’ ‘World Humanitarian Day’. This year the focus of the UN's World Humanitarian day is on women. We speak to humanitarian aid workers Shivani Rana from Christian Aid and Zoe Corden from CAFOD about how dangerous their work has become.

Produced by
Louise Clarke-Rowbotham
Peter Everett

Series Producer
Amanda Hancox

4 episodes