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Fri, 12 Jan 2018

‘Germany is silencing “hate speech”, but cannot define it’

‘Germany is silencing “hate speech”, but cannot define it’

Criticism of Germany's new law on social media 'hate speech' is mounting.

The Economist

Myanmar military admits to murder of 10 Rohingya Muslims

Myanmar military admits to murder of 10 Rohingya Muslims

Myanmar's military has admitted that its soldiers murdered 10 captured Rohingya who it claims were "terrorists" during insurgent attacks at the beginning of September, after local Buddhist villagers had forced the men into a grave they had dug.

The Guardian

New Hampshire allows gay ‘conversion therapy’ to remain legal

New Hampshire allows gay ‘conversion therapy’ to remain legal

A ban on 'conversion therapy', a discredited practice that attempts to change sexual orientation or gender identity, failed to pass Tuesday in New Hampshire's House of Representatives.

Huffington Post

One in 12 Christians around the world is persecuted, says report

One in 12 Christians around the world is persecuted, says report

One in 12 Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith and are the target of violent attacks, a report has found. According to Open Doors USA, 215 million Christians live in areas with high levels of persecution worldwide and over 3,000 were killed last year.

Daily Mail

Report forecasts crackdown for Christians in China

Report forecasts crackdown for Christians in China

Christians in China will face a crackdown this year, Release International is warning.

Church Times

Thu, 11 Jan 2018

Tim Farron: I was foolish to say gay sex isn't a sin

Tim Farron: I was foolish to say gay sex isn't a sin

Former leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron has spoken of his "regret" at bowing to pressure he felt to say homosexual sex is not sinful.

Premier Christian Radio

Army defends appeal to Muslims

Army defends appeal to Muslims

A new recruitment advert for the British Army depicts Muslims praying and says gay people are welcome. Some have criticised it as too politically correct. The head of the army has defended it, saying that he needed to reach a wider audience.

The Times (£)

Secret documents reveal sex abuse scandal in Jehovah’s Witnesses church

Secret documents reveal sex abuse scandal in Jehovah’s Witnesses church

Leaked letters and internal documents expose a series of sexual abuse accusations against a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses church. They also show the efforts the church made to cover up the scandal and keep it from the "worldly court of law".

Newsweek

Priests threaten to quit over Scotland’s first female bishop

Priests threaten to quit over Scotland’s first female bishop

Priests in Aberdeen and Orkney are threatening to resign over the appointment of Scotland's first female bishop. They have called the move "divisive and disrespectful".

The Guardian

‘I wish I could have helped my mum end her life’

‘I wish I could have helped my mum end her life’

Emma Duncan says personal experience has taught her that the law on assisted suicide needs to change.

The Times (£)

Edinburgh University principal defends 'restrictive' free speech policy

Edinburgh University principal defends 'restrictive' free speech policy

The principal of Edinburgh University has defended its policy on free speech after a former minister said it is "like a machinery for restricting speech rather than promoting it".

The Herald

Britain First leader Paul Golding to deny inciting hatred with speech on Islam

Britain First leader Paul Golding to deny inciting hatred with speech on Islam

The leader of far-right group Britain First is to deny inciting hatred. Paul Golding is charged with threatening, abusive or insulting language at a rally.

The Independent

In rural Nepal, menstruation taboo claims another victim

In rural Nepal, menstruation taboo claims another victim

According to the police, Gauri Kumari Bayak is the latest victim of a tradition in rural Nepal in which religious Hindus believe that menstruating women are unclean and should be banished from the family home.

The New York Times

New US ambassador to the Netherlands promoted unsubstantiated claims about Muslims

New US ambassador to the Netherlands promoted unsubstantiated claims about Muslims

Peter Hoekstra is facing scrutiny from Dutch media over his claims that an "Islamic movement" was bringing chaos to the low countries.

The Independent

Trudeau: abortion clause shouldn’t put religious groups off applying for a summer jobs grant

Trudeau: abortion clause shouldn’t put religious groups off applying for a summer jobs grant

Justin Trudeau says Canada's religious groups should be able to apply for wage subsidies to hire secondary and post-secondary students. But he added that organisations which wanted to restrict abortion were "not in line with where we are as a government".

National Post

‘Iowa is becoming a contraceptive desert’

‘Iowa is becoming a contraceptive desert’

This editorial says diminishing access to birth control in the state will lead to more unwanted pregnancies.

Des Moines Register

Wed, 10 Jan 2018

Concerns over Catholic church's 2014 donation to Damian Hinds

Concerns over Catholic church's 2014 donation to Damian Hinds

The new education secretary accepted more than £5,000 from the Catholic church in 2014 to pay for a parliamentary intern.

The Guardian

Jo Johnson leaves role as universities minister

Jo Johnson leaves role as universities minister

Jo Johnson has been replaced as minister for universities and science by Sam Gyimah. The move could have implications for attempts to promote free speech at universities.

Varsity

Greek PM hails change to limit power of sharia law

Greek PM hails change to limit power of sharia law

A new law allows Muslims to opt for Greece's secular legal system instead of Islamic law to resolve divorce, child custody and inheritance matters.

The Guardian

‘Iranian and Saudi youth try to bury 1979’

‘Iranian and Saudi youth try to bury 1979’

Thomas Friedman says a growing number of young Iranians and Saudis are fed up of being told how to live their lives by "old, corrupt or suffocating" clerics.

The New York Times

Irish cabinet to consider abortion legislation today

Irish cabinet to consider abortion legislation today

Irish cabinet ministers will today be asked to give the green light for the preparation of legislation allowing abortion up to 12 weeks.

The Independent (Ireland)

French town scraps pork-free school meals

French town scraps pork-free school meals

A Front National mayor in France has decided to scrap pork-free options in his town's school meals. Some have condemned the move as anti-Muslim.

The Independent

‘What will the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans mean politically?’

‘What will the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans mean politically?’

David Mislin says history suggests we should be cautious before drawing generalisations about the link between religious affiliation and political positions.

The Conversation US

US Supreme Court allows draconian ‘religious freedom’ law to stand

US Supreme Court allows draconian ‘religious freedom’ law to stand

The US Supreme Court is refusing to hear challenges to a Mississippi law that allows businesses and government employees to deny services to LGBT+ people based on their religious beliefs.

Patheos

Trump’s spiritual adviser: give my church one month’s pay or face “consequences”

Trump’s spiritual adviser: give my church one month’s pay or face “consequences”

President Trump's "spiritual advisor" is encouraging everyone to ring in the new year by donating one month's salary to her church — and warning of "consequences" if they don't.

Patheos

Tue, 09 Jan 2018

New education secretary called for lifting of faith-based admissions cap

New education secretary called for lifting of faith-based admissions cap

Damian Hinds has replaced Justine Greening as education secretary. In 2014 he called on the Government to lift the cap on faith-based admissions to Catholic schools in a debate in Parliament.

TES

Justine Greening’s departure could be bad news for opponents of faith schools – NSS mentioned

Justine Greening’s departure could be bad news for opponents of faith schools – NSS mentioned

Justine Greening's departure as education secretary and Damian Hinds's appointment could represent a significant shift for faith schools in the UK, particularly Catholic schools.

Christian Today

Church of England tells landowners it owns their mineral rights

Church of England tells landowners it owns their mineral rights

The Church of England has laid claim to minerals beneath privately owned land covering an area the size of the Lake District, including in regions earmarked for fracking, The Times says.

The Times (£)

C of E finds vicar guilty of spiritual abuse of 15-year-old boy

C of E finds vicar guilty of spiritual abuse of 15-year-old boy

The Church of England has found a vicar guilty of spiritually abusing a teenage boy, after putting him under "unacceptable pressure" during intensive prayer and Bible-study sessions in the boy's bedroom.

The Guardian

Two-thirds of Christians in new survey say they have been spiritually abused

Two-thirds of Christians in new survey say they have been spiritually abused

Two-thirds of respondents to an online survey say that they have been spiritually abused, a study has revealed. Some caution has been expressed about the figures in the survey, whose results form part of the report Understanding Spiritual Abuse in Christian Communities.

Church Times

Dating website couple guilty of Islamic State Christmas plot

Dating website couple guilty of Islamic State Christmas plot

A couple who met on an online dating website have been found guilty of plotting an Islamic State-inspired attack over Christmas.

Sky News

Terror suspect ‘called for jihad’ on visit to Glasgow

Terror suspect ‘called for jihad’ on visit to Glasgow

One of the world's most wanted terrorism suspects visited Scotland to urge Muslim youths to become jihadis years before 9/11, an investigation claims.

The Times (£)

Sabbatarians condemn Sunday screening of Star Wars on Lewis

Sabbatarians condemn Sunday screening of Star Wars on Lewis

A Sunday screening of The Last Jedi on the Isle of Lewis has sold out in advance. Leaders of the Free Church of Scotland have condemned the screening.

The Times (£)

‘Our sacred right to blaspheme’

‘Our sacred right to blaspheme’

Caroline Fourest says Charlie Hebdo has been attacked, threatened, misunderstood and maligned — but it sticks to its core values.

Politico

Israeli parliament passes law to shut commercial business on Jewish Sabbath

Israeli parliament passes law to shut commercial business on Jewish Sabbath

Israel's parliament has passed a law limiting trade on the Jewish Sabbath, following a marathon debate. It grants the interior minister a right to cancel municipal by-laws that currently allow shops, restaurants, cinemas and other businesses in their areas to operate on Saturdays.

Xinhua

George Pell accuser dies before court case against Australia's most senior Catholic

George Pell accuser dies before court case against Australia's most senior Catholic

One of the men who accused Cardinal George Pell - Australia's most senior Catholic – of child sex assault has died, in a development that could weaken the criminal case against the cardinal.

The Telegraph

Melbourne Christian school loses court case over ban on turbans

Melbourne Christian school loses court case over ban on turbans

A Melbourne Christian school has amended its uniform policy after being found to have discriminated against a young Sikh boy because he wore a turban.

SBS News

Mon, 08 Jan 2018

Justine Greening tipped for demotion in reshuffle

Justine Greening tipped for demotion in reshuffle

Reports suggest the education secretary may lose her job today, in a move which would have implications for Government plans on faith school admissions.

TES

Councils need ‘better powers to tackle rogue faith schools’

Councils need ‘better powers to tackle rogue faith schools’

Councils are powerless to stop pupils from being educated in rogue faith schools, according to a report from Hackney Council, with 1000 boys attending unregistered schools in that London borough alone.

Politics Home

Black cab rapist John Worboys 'turned to Christianity' to fool parole board

Black cab rapist John Worboys 'turned to Christianity' to fool parole board

Worboys became a born again Christian to help convince the authorities he was capable of turning his life around, according to a prison system source.

International Business Times

Activists intimidated over support for action on hijab – NSS article mentioned

Activists intimidated over support for action on hijab – NSS article mentioned

Human rights activists in Britain have been subjected to intimidation by Islamists for convincing Ofsted to take action on the rise of the hijab in primary schools. They include Yasmin Rehman, who wrote a blog for the NSS in November on the subject.

Conatus News

Government urged to maintain cap on discriminatory faith school admissions

Government urged to maintain cap on discriminatory faith school admissions

The Children's Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) has urged the Government to maintain its current cap that prevents faith free schools from selecting more than half of their pupils using religious discrimination.

Ekklesia

NUS apologises after omitting Judaism from religion survey for the second time in six months

NUS apologises after omitting Judaism from religion survey for the second time in six months

The National Union of Students has apologised after omitting Judaism from its list of religions in a survey.

Evening Standard

Has rape become a weapon to silence atheists in Bangladesh?

Has rape become a weapon to silence atheists in Bangladesh?

Rumana Hashem studies the use of sexual violence to intimidate freethinkers in Bangladesh.

Open Democracy

Economists say witch trials were driven by “competition for religious market share”

Economists say witch trials were driven by “competition for religious market share”

Economists Peter Leeson and Jacob Russ of George Mason University in Virginia argue that witch trials in Europe between 1550 and 1700 reflected "non-price competition between the Catholic and Protestant churches for religious market share".

The Observer

Abortion battle heading to US Supreme Court

Abortion battle heading to US Supreme Court

A California law requires faith-based 'crisis pregnancy centres' that don't offer abortions to post notices about state family planning and pregnancy-related services. The US Supreme Court will decide whether this law is constitutional. Here Robert Sedler says the law does not violate the first amendment.

The Conversation US

Unsafe abortions cause high maternal death rate in Sierra Leone

Unsafe abortions cause high maternal death rate in Sierra Leone

Women in Sierra Leone are dying from unsafe abortion methods as President Ernest Bai Koroma refused to sign a law legalising abortion in the West African country. Religious groups have played an important role in preventing the legalisation of abortion in Sierra Leone.

TRT World

Orthodox Russian leader defends anti-gay attitudes in Christmas speech

Orthodox Russian leader defends anti-gay attitudes in Christmas speech

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has warned that banks could place unfair conditions on getting accounts, and suggested those conditions may be linked to toleration of homosexuality.

The Times (£)

Fri, 05 Jan 2018

Charlie Hebdo writers: we've been forgotten by France

Charlie Hebdo writers: we've been forgotten by France

Three years after terrorists murdered its staff, the French magazine Charlie Hebdo is struggling to pay an annual security bill of €1.5 million. Its journalists say they are living and working in conditions "that do not bring honour to France".

The Times (£)

Belfast City Hall debates proposal to ban councillors from using “offensive expressions”

Belfast City Hall debates proposal to ban councillors from using “offensive expressions”

Sinn Fein has proposed banning councillors in the city from using "offensive expressions in reference to any person or section of society". Some councillors say the proposal will conflict with guarantees of free expression.

Belfast Telegraph

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