Thu, 22 Feb 2018

C of E school to expand as “progressive academy” closes on Isle of Wight

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.


Governments “shamelessly” backsliding on human rights, says Amnesty

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 fears potential Brexit impact on human rights

Amnesty International has warned that the Government is selling off the human rights of British citizens in return for post-Brexit trade deals.

The National

Northern Ireland criticised in global report on human rights

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 petition appears likely to force vote to end genital cutting for non-medical reasons

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 tells state-run schools to stop steering pupils to religion class

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 condemns council for failing to back hijab ban school

Ofsted has condemned a council in London for giving insufficient support to a primary school over its decision to restrict hijab wearing.


Northern Ireland could get same-sex marriage through Westminster

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.


Rotherham child sex abuse: Inquiry finds 100 more potential victims

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.


Jeremy Hunt responds to Christian group that wants to ban transgender teen treatments

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".

Pink News

Council says faith schools should be able to teach sex education according to religious ethos

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

Experts call for ban on LGBT+ conversion ‘therapies’

Campaigners say public awareness of the harm done by conversion 'therapy' is rising – but only Brazil, Ecuador and Malta have nationwide bans.


‘Is religion a toxic brand?’

Letter writers give a range of views on the role of religion in education.

The Guardian

Irish cabinet agrees draft wording for abortion ban repeal

Ireland's referendum on repealing its abortion ban is on track to take place on 25 May.

The Independent (Ireland)

Eight hundred families flee city after blasphemy claim triggers riots in Pakistan

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

Hungarian leader calls Christianity “Europe's last hope”

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".

ABC News

New book published on Donald Trump's religion

US president Donald Trump has given a thumbs-up to a new book about his Christian faith.

Premier Christian Radio

Tue, 20 Feb 2018

Debate over Iceland’s proposed ban on genital cutting – NSS featured

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.

BBC Newsnight

Warning over abuse linked to witchcraft and possession beliefs in UK

Thousands of children could be abused because relatives believe they are witches or possessed by evil spirits in Britain, experts have warned.

The Independent

Education secretary to maintain parental opt-out from sex education

Damian Hinds has said he will maintain the current rule that parents can withdraw their children from SRE classes.

Pink News

Catholic Church welcomes plans to increase religious discrimination in schools

The Catholic Education Service has welcomed the education secretary's commitment to allowing more discriminatory admissions policies for faith schools.

The Tablet

FGM trial underway in Bristol

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.

The Guardian

‘It’s time for a British First Amendment to protect free speech’

Hugh Tomlinson says the UK should copy the US and introduce a law protecting free speech – and this would require a UK constitution.


Faith school admissions rules disadvantage children in care, say councils

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.


‘Muslim-American femicide and the intersectional feminist enablers’

Sara Al Iraqiya says honour killings of women from Muslim backgrounds are persisting – and some self-styled feminists are giving cover to the practices.

Conatus News

Report reveals extent of discrimination against LGBT+ people in the US

A new report from the Human Rights Watch details the dangers of 'religious exemption' laws to LGBT+ rights in the US.

Gay Star News

Bermuda faces fresh lawsuit after re-banning same-sex marriage

A gay Bermudan man has launched a legal challenge against the nation's decision to re-ban same-sex marriage.

Gay Times

Atheists call for removal of check boxes in census religion question in Ireland

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

Hinds says Government will lift faith-based admissions cap

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 importance of rethinking religious education’ – NSS cited

The Economist's Erasmus blog considers religious control of the RE curriculum, and discusses the NSS's ideas for reforming the subject.

The Economist

Religious studies voted among least important subjects – NSS quoted

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

Hunt begins for legion of ‘missing’ children being educated at home

A new law may require the thousands educated outside school to be registered, amid fears of neglect and radicalisation.

The Sunday Times (£)

Wales Humanists 'excluded' from religious education councils

Humanists are being denied a voice on the teaching of religious education in schools in Wales, it has been claimed.


‘How Scotland’s Christian right lost at politics and learned to love the law’

Andrew Tickell says Scotland has "fallen out with God" – but the Christian right is bringing a swath of legal cases nonetheless.

The National

‘It’s time to move on from ACE’ – NSS mentioned

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".


Church spires to boost broadband signals in pact with Government

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.

Christian Today

Ukip's interim leader reiterates his belief that Islam is a "death cult"

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.

The Guardian

Religious leaders claim genital cutting is “non-negotiable” as Iceland prepares to ban it

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'.

The Observer

Islamic State claims responsibility for shooting outside Russian church

Five women have been killed after a gunman opened fire on people leaving a church service in Russia's Dagestan region.

Sky News

Fri, 16 Feb 2018

Applications to teach RE fall by 38%

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.


Britons inadvertently eating non-stun meat, says top vet

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.

Daily Mail

Religious groups mount campaign against teaching about same-sex marriage

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.


Welby addresses safeguarding in interview to mark five years as archbishop

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.

Church Times

Police investigating claims of abuse at charity after teen is found dead

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.

Lincolnshire Live

Scottish Catholic charity dealt with two child sex abuse cases

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.


Muslim man challenges Walsall council ban on cemetery borders and flowerbeds

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.

The Guardian

Woman jailed after having stillbirth in El Salvador freed after nine years

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.


Trump's travel ban is unconstitutional religious discrimination, US court rules

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.

The Guardian

Trump judicial nominee: marriage equality part of “assault on nature”

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.

The Advocate

Thu, 15 Feb 2018

Ministers too politically correct to enforce hijab policy in schools, former Ofsted boss warns

The Government is too politically correct to enforce rules on hijabs in schools, leaving teachers "alone, isolated and vulnerable", Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned.

The Telegraph

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