Dec 22, 2019

Church of England to review ethics of its investments in AI and robotics

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images

The Church of England's Ethical Investment Advisory Group plans to review over the next year whether its holdings in Big Tech firms are compatible with Christianity, the Telegraph reports.

Why it matters: The review will help determine whether the church's $15.6 billion investment fund should back companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google, which are pursuing artificial intelligence and robotics.

What they're saying: A source close to the review told the Telegraph some church officials are worried that the technology is “akin to playing God."

  • “If all of your philosophical frameworks assume the primacy of the person, and the primacy of God’s revelation ... and a piece of tech emerges that enables one to rethink the role of the mind, what’s at stake is your whole ethical foundation, theological foundation and the very idea of God," the source said.

The big picture: Google’s owner Alphabet Inc. has been one of the church's most valuable equity holdings over the past two years, and Amazon was among the top 20 most valuable holdings in 2017, according to Bloomberg.

  • In the past, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the most senior cleric in the Church of England, denounced the gig economy as “evil."
  • He has also claimed that Amazon and other tech companies are “leeching off” the U.K. by avoiding taxes.

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Texas church security volunteer who shot gunman was trained reserve deputy

An FBI agent at West Freeway Church of Christ after a shooting during services on Sunday. Photo: Stewart F. House/Getty Images

The Texas church security volunteer who killed a gunman after he opened fire during a Sunday morning service was identified on Monday as Jack Wilson, a trained reserve deputy, per CNN.

What they're saying: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that Wilson "had significant training, had his own shooting range, had taught other people how to shoot, had taught many people in this church how to be prepared" and "ultimately saved the lives of maybe hundreds of people" with his actions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 30, 2019

AP: Over 900 clergy accused of child sexual abuse absent from dioceses' lists

Pope Francis holds a 'Protection of Minors in the Church' meeting in February 2019 in Vatican City. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Over 900 clergy accused of sexually abusing children are not included in dioceses' public lists of those credibly accused, AP reports.

The big picture: Sexual abuse and misconduct within the Catholic Church is a global problem that has persisted for decades. Pope Francis recently unveiled rules to make the Church accountable for reporting allegations of abuse.

Go deeperArrowDec 28, 2019

Methodist church proposes plan to split over LGBTQ inclusion

Karen Oliveto, the Methodist church's first openly lesbian bishop, speaks at Iliff School of Theology in April 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

United Methodist Church leaders announced plans on Friday for a historic split of its 13 million-plus denomination over allowing same-sex marriage within the church and LGBTQ clergy members.

What's next: The church is expected to vote on the measure to implement the division of America's second-largest Protestant domination at the general conference in Minneapolis this May.

Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020