Charleston killer avoids second death sentence
DYLANN ROOF, a 23-year-old man found guilty in a United States federal court last year of murdering nine black people in a racially motivated attack at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, South Carolina, pleaded guilty to state murder charges on Monday, after a plea deal that enabled him to avoid a second death sentence and spared the victims a further trial. The second sentence is life imprisonment. He will await execution by lethal injection in a federal prison in another state (News,13 January). The victims were attending a Bible-study meeting (News, 26 June 2015). Their murderer told police that he was a white supremacist who wanted to ignite a race war in the US.
‘Unbearable’ violence in DRC, say bishops
THE Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo described the situation as “harsh and unbearable” in a statement released last week, after attempts to achieve a church-brokered power-sharing settlement with rebel militias were abandoned last month. “The militias are continuing their macabre operations — each passing day sees new killings and burning of religious buildings,” the statement says. “The worst affected is the Diocese of Luebo [in the southern-central DRC], where the bishop’s house, library, sisters’ convent and vehicles have been burned, and priests and religious have fled to the forest with other inhabitants.”
Archbishop criticises Athens government
THE Archbishop of Athens, Ieronymos, in an interview with the Sunday newspaper Proto Thema this week, criticised the Greek government for interfering with the Church. “In terms of the Church, there is no separation with the State,” he said. “We want clear, distinct roles. Once we have distinct roles, how can they interfere whenever they want?” The Archbishop said that he “felt sorry” for the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, but that he did not believe in political parties. He also said that same-sex marriages were not marriages, and that he was “sceptical” about the building of a mosque in Athens. “These people must learn that we love them, we are hospitable, but this is not their place. Their aim should be to go home.”
Muslim births to overtake Christian by c.2035
BIRTHS of babies with Muslim parents will begin to outnumber those with Christian ones worldwide by 2035, data from the Pew Research Centre suggests. Currently, more babies are born to Christian mothers than to those of any other religion (33 per cent). But Islam is projected to be the fastest-growing religion, and births among Muslims (currently 31 per cent) are expected to increase to 225 million by 2035, compared with 224 million births among Christians at that time. By 2055 to 2060, Pew estimates that nine per cent of all babies will be born to religiously unaffiliated women, and more than 70 per cent will be born to either Muslims (36 per cent) or Christians (35 per cent).