Thu, 22 Feb 2018
A plan to close an Isle of Wight academy to create a new council-run school has been given government approval. Sandown Bay Academy, which describes its ethos as "progressive", will close. The plan will also see the Bay Church of England Primary School become an all-through school catering for students aged 4-16.
A report from Amnesty International has accused governments across the globe of "shamelessly" backsliding on human rights, cracking down on dissent, and instituting measures that ensured the persecution of marginalised groups throughout 2017.
Amnesty International has warned that the Government is selling off the human rights of British citizens in return for post-Brexit trade deals.
Amnesty's report criticises Northern Ireland for its same-sex marriage ban, strict abortion laws and issues around the legacy of the Troubles.
The Irish News
Danish activists have collected nearly 20,000 signatures out of the 50,000 they need to create a bill proposing to ban non-medical circumcision for boys.
The Times of Israel
Ireland's state-run secondary schools can no longer assume their students will receive religious instruction, the Government has said, directing the schools to offer alternative classes.
The Boston Globe
Wed, 21 Feb 2018
Ofsted has condemned a council in London for giving insufficient support to a primary school over its decision to restrict hijab wearing.
The UK Government has said same-sex marriage could be introduced to Northern Ireland via a vote in Westminster after power-sharing talks broke down last week.
The number of potential victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has risen to more than 1,500, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has said.
The health secretary has responded to a Christian anti-LGBT+ campaign group that is attempting to ban treatment for transgender teens. He said the Department of Health and Social Care's position is "that patients have a fundamental legal and ethical right to determine what happens to their own bodies".
Councillors in Barnet have voted unanimously for a motion stating that the Government must allow faith schools to teach sex education with their religious ethos.
Hendon & Finchley Times series
Campaigners say public awareness of the harm done by conversion 'therapy' is rising – but only Brazil, Ecuador and Malta have nationwide bans.
Letter writers give a range of views on the role of religion in education.
Ireland's referendum on repealing its abortion ban is on track to take place on 25 May.
The Independent (Ireland)
Hundreds of Christians have fled rioting in Pakistan's second-largest city after a local Christian man was accused of insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Premier Christian Radio
Hungary's prime minister has claimed that "Christianity is Europe's last hope" and politicians in Europe have "opened the way to the decline of Christian culture and the advance of Islam".
US president Donald Trump has given a thumbs-up to a new book about his Christian faith.
Premier Christian Radio
Tue, 20 Feb 2018
Dr Antony Lempert of the NSS's Secular Medical Forum has defended an Icelandic proposal to ban cutting infant boys' genitals. The relevant section begins after 31:50.
Thousands of children could be abused because relatives believe they are witches or possessed by evil spirits in Britain, experts have warned.
Damian Hinds has said he will maintain the current rule that parents can withdraw their children from SRE classes.
The Catholic Education Service has welcomed the education secretary's commitment to allowing more discriminatory admissions policies for faith schools.
A father from Bristol arranged for his seven-year-old daughter to undergo a female genital mutilation procedure and told a charity worker the practice was carried out in his culture to prevent women from "feeling sexy all the time", a jury has heard.
Hugh Tomlinson says the UK should copy the US and introduce a law protecting free speech – and this would require a UK constitution.
New Government plans are expected to give children who have spent time in care while living in other countries the "highest priority" for school admissions in England. Some local authorities have raised concerns that faith schools' ability to give priority to children from their faith background has disadvantaged children in care.
Sara Al Iraqiya says honour killings of women from Muslim backgrounds are persisting – and some self-styled feminists are giving cover to the practices.
A new report from the Human Rights Watch details the dangers of 'religious exemption' laws to LGBT+ rights in the US.
Gay Star News
A gay Bermudan man has launched a legal challenge against the nation's decision to re-ban same-sex marriage.
Atheist Ireland has told a census advisory group that the question on religion in the country's 2021 census should be optional.
The Irish Times
Mon, 19 Feb 2018
The education secretary has spoken about his plans to abolish a ban on new faith schools taking in more than 50% of pupils on the basis of their parents' religion in an interview.
The Sunday Times (£)
The Economist's Erasmus blog considers religious control of the RE curriculum, and discusses the NSS's ideas for reforming the subject.
The British public considers religious education one of the least important subjects which secondary schools commonly teach, according to a poll. The NSS's education campaigner, Alastair Lichten, said this should prompt debate over whether a specific subject called religious education is needed.
Premier Christian Radio
A new law may require the thousands educated outside school to be registered, amid fears of neglect and radicalisation.
The Sunday Times (£)
Humanists are being denied a voice on the teaching of religious education in schools in Wales, it has been claimed.
Andrew Tickell says Scotland has "fallen out with God" – but the Christian right is bringing a swath of legal cases nonetheless.
Jonny Scaramanga reflects on the lack of media coverage his recent paper on the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum has generated, and says he has stopped campaigning on the issue "for the good of my health".
In a pact between ministers and Church officials, the C of E will encourage its 16,000 churches, most of which are in rural areas, to host telecoms equipment.
Ukip's interim leader, Gerard Batten, has reiterated his belief that Islam is a "death cult" and called for Muslims to be asked to sign a document renouncing parts of the Koran.
Iceland is poised to become the first European country to ban ritual cutting of boys' genitals. Some Jewish and Muslim leaders claim the ban will be an attack on 'religious freedom'.
Five women have been killed after a gunman opened fire on people leaving a church service in Russia's Dagestan region.
Fri, 16 Feb 2018
Applications for RE teacher training have dropped by almost 40% since last year. The Religious Education Council of England and Wales has responded by calling for higher bursaries for RE trainees.
Lord Trees, a crossbench peer and professor of veterinary parasitology, has said it is "highly probable" that meat from unstunned animals is entering the non-halal and kosher food chain.
Religious groups responding to the government's plans on sex education are campaigning against the idea of teaching same-sex marriage. Some are also calling for lessons in how marriage can prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Paul Handley speaks to the archbishop of Canterbury as he marks five years in the post. The discussion includes several questions on abuse and safeguarding within the Church of England.
Police are investigating allegations of abuse at a Christian charity after a 16-year-old boy who went there as a child was found dead.
The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund dealt with abuse cases in 2012 and 2016. Its boss has said it can be trusted by the public.
A Muslim man is mounting a legal challenge over a prohibition on edging, or borders, around individual graves in his local cemetery. He claims the ban breaches his right to freedom of religion.
A woman jailed for murder under El Salvador's strict abortion laws has had her 30-year sentence commuted. The laws were created partly because of lobbying from the Catholic Church.
President Trump's latest travel ban on travellers from six predominantly Muslim countries is unconstitutional because it discriminates against people based on their religion, a federal appeals court in the US ruled on Thursday.
Civil rights groups are calling on President Trump to withdraw the nomination of Gordon Giampetro for a federal judgeship over numerous anti-LGBT+ and anti-contraception statements.
Thu, 15 Feb 2018
The Government is too politically correct to enforce rules on hijabs in schools, leaving teachers "alone, isolated and vulnerable", Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned.
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