Mon, 09 Apr 2018

Humanist chaplain appointed in Buckinghamshire NHS trust

A humanist has been appointed as the first atheist head chaplain in the NHS.

The Times (£)

Humour and hot water: should Islam be a target of satire? – NSS mentioned

Thomas Clements interviews Waleed Wain, the comedian behind the character Veedu Vidz. Wain has faced bans from Facebook after mocking Salafi preachers. The NSS recently criticised Facebook over its bans.

Conatus News

Censorship on Edinburgh Uni campus drives creation of new website

A growing "crisis" over campus censorship at Edinburgh University is driving the success of a new free speech ­platform where nothing is off-limits, according to the two students who founded it.

The Scotsman

Labour has antisemitism problem, 51% of voters say

Half of the electorate believes that there are at least pockets of antisemitism in the Labour party, according to a poll.

The Observer

First mosque in the Outer Hebrides to open this summer despite Presbyterian opposition

The first mosque in the Outer Hebrides is set to open this summer despite opposition from the local arm of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

The Telegraph

Berlin police arrest six over 'city-endangering' plot

Berlin police have arrested six people who they suspect of "preparing a grave city-endangering violent act". German media has reported that a knife attack was foiled against Sunday's half-marathon in the city. Die Welt reported that those arrested were suspected of having links to the December 2016 truck attacker.


Fri, 06 Apr 2018

Regular Sunday opening for Stornoway's arts centre ‘as soon possible’

A Hebridean arts centre will open on Sundays "as soon as possible" in the wake of a pilot opening of part of the complex on three Sundays between January and March.

The Scotsman

Austria's government aims to ban headscarves in school for girls under 10

Austria's government announced plans on Wednesday to ban girls from wearing headscarves in nurseries and primary schools.


'Religious instruction and worship should take place outside core school hours'

David Graham says it is effectively impossible to opt out of the religiously integrated curriculum in Ireland, and there is a growing appetite for change.

The Journal (Ireland)

‘On Chichester and safeguarding’

Martin Warner, the bishop of Chichester, claims his diocese is changing its approach to safeguarding in response to recent revelations from the IICSA inquiry.

Church Times

‘Annie Besant and her dauntless legacy of resistance’ – NSS mentioned

A profile of Annie Besant – a noted philosopher, social reformer and women's rights activist who played an important role in the early history of the NSS.

Feminism in India

No council probe of "Muslim parasite” social media post

A councillor will not face an investigation by Calderdale Council for sharing an article on social media that called Muslims "parasites" before he took up his position. The Conservative Party has suspended Mike Payne over the remarks.


US columnist loses job over calls to execute women who have abortions

The Atlantic magazine has sacked Kevin Williamson, who was hired last week, when editors learnt that he had previously called for women who have abortions to be hanged.

The Washington Post

‘Ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in New York continue to fail and lawmakers are making it worse’

Terry Firma says lawmakers in New York are giving too much ground to Orthodox Jewish leaders who resist state oversight of religious schools.


Settlement will prevent NYPD surveillance of Muslims based on just religion or ethnicity

The New York Police Department has agreed not to conduct surveillance based on religion or ethnicity as it develops new training materials as part of a deal to settle claims it illegally spied on Muslims.

Boston Globe

New Jersey could soon outlaw marriage for anyone under 18

New Jersey could become the first state in the US to outlaw marriage for anyone under the age of 18. A bill to ban child brides was stopped in its tracks last year when Chris Christie, then the governor of the state, vetoed it. He said it was too restrictive and could infringe on religious and cultural traditions.

Thu, 05 Apr 2018

Charity Commission takes over abbey’s safeguarding responsibilities

Ampleforth Abbey has been stripped of responsibility for pupil welfare by the Charity Commission amid concerns about its management of sex abuse allegations. The abbey runs a 200-year-old religious community on the same site as Ampleforth College in Yorkshire.

The Telegraph

Corbyn and Jewish leaders will meet to discuss Labour anti-Semitism

Jeremy Corbyn and Britain's two largest Jewish organisations have agreed to address antisemitism in the Labour party.

The Guardian

UK diplomats among those criticising Iceland’s proposed ban on child circumcision

Icelandic consulates in numerous countries have received concerted criticism regarding the country's proposed ban on child circumcision. Britain, Germany and the US have reportedly been particularly critical.

The Reykjavik Grapevine

Chaplains for Commonwealth Games athletes

Two chaplains from the UK based Christians in Sport Group will be among the staff working with athletes taking part in the Commonwealth Games over the next two weeks.

Christian Today

‘Many left-wing progressives are silent about Islam’s totalitarian tendencies – and the victims are overwhelmingly women’

Julie Bindel says secularist feminists are furious with those who "are more afraid of being labelled 'Islamophobic' than of giving more power to conservative Muslim men who seek to impose Islamic law on women and girls".

UnHerd (requires free sign up)

Keith O’Brien funeral held in Newcastle

The funeral of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, formerly the Catholic Church's most senior cleric in Britain, is being held in Newcastle. O'Brien resigned as Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2013 after admitting sexual misconduct. He died in hospital last month.

Belfast Telegraph

Crowdfunders bid to build mosque on Isle of Lewis

A crowdfunding page has been set up in a bid to raise £50,000 toward creating a mosque on the Isle of Lewis. The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Presbytery of the Outer Hebrides has criticised plans to build a mosque on the island.

The Herald

Bill would end religious ethos opt out for sex ed in Ireland

A bill to prevent schools from using their religious ethos to avoid providing objective and factual sex education is to be debated in the lower house of the Irish legislature.

Irish Examiner

Israeli authorities block adverts urging female airline passengers not to move seats for ultra-Orthodox Jewish men

Israeli authorities have refused to display adverts informing female airline passengers they are not obliged to change seats at the request of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who do not want to sit next to them.

The Independent

‘Ireland's abortion debate proves how deeply the country trades on shame’

Una Mullally, the author of a new book about the campaign for reproductive rights in Ireland, shares some of the stories she has heard during her research. She asks what women are really worth if they do not have bodily autonomy.

The Telegraph

Bibles pulled from online stores as China increases control of religion

The Bible appears to have been removed from online marketplaces in China, as Beijing clamps down on how its citizens practice religion.


Women tending to collapsed mayor told to stay out of ‘sacred’ sumo ring in Japan

A referee urged two women in Japan to stay out of a sumo ring as they tried to assist an official who was unconscious.

The Japan Times

Wed, 04 Apr 2018

Sacked teacher was not dismissed for telling pupils ‘God loves you’

The Christian Legal Centre claimed a teacher was dismissed after telling a lesbian pupil "God loves you". A tribunal has shown there is more to the case.

Christian Today

Survivor tells Welby to be brave with reforms

An alleged victim of a brutal spanking by a barrister linked to a Christian charity has urged the Archbishop of Canterbury to be "brave" in reforming the church after receiving a personal apology for his suffering.

The Times (£)

Lincoln Cathedral school teacher admits abusing boys

A former teacher has admitted charges of sexually abusing six young boys.


Church leader jailed for four years over £156,000 Gift Aid fraud

A church leader who lied about charity donations to fraudulently claim £155,840 in Gift Aid repayments has been jailed for four years.

Third Sector

Most drivers at Derby taxi firm stay away from work on sick 'Punish a Muslim' day

A Derby taxi firm lost 70% of its drivers yesterday because they were too scared to work due to a 'Punish a Muslim' hate campaign.

Derby Telegraph

‘An Ohio bill would ban all abortions. It’s part of a bigger plan’

Ohio lawmakers have proposed legislation to ban all abortions, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest or to save a woman's life. This editorial says that, even if the bill doesn't become law, it could pave the way for other, somewhat less extreme measures to pass, seeming reasonable by comparison.

The New York Times

‘Punishing the powerless’

Khaled Ahmed says poor minorities are usually the target of Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Indian Express

‘How Pakistani school textbooks mould its students’ skewed worldview’

Madiha Afzal says textbooks in Pakistan assert that religion defines the country's role in the world and permeates politics, policy, and society.


Call for better protection for Christians as Egyptian president re-elected

As Egypt's president is re-elected, a charity is calling on him to do more to protect Christians in his country.

Premier Christian Radio

Can this cruise line torpedo Bermuda’s gay marriage ban?

Carnival Cruise Line is hoping to help Bermuda become the first country in the world to re-legalise same-sex marriage.

The Daily Beast

Tue, 03 Apr 2018

Archbishop of York facing police investigation over alleged failure to report abuse

The archbishop of York and four other bishops are reportedly facing a police investigation for allegedly failing to report allegations of child sexual abuse.

Christian Today

Places of worship get £1.8m for repairs

Listed places of worship are to get a share of £1.8m for minor repairs under a government pilot scheme.


C of E should pay for maintenance of churches – NSS letter

NSS president Keith Porteous Wood says the C of E should use its own realisable assets, well in excess of £8bn even above parish level, to pay for church maintenance (second letter down). His letter comes in response to a Simon Jenkins column which argued for higher taxes for church maintenance.

The Guardian

Ofsted defends itself as teachers say attempts to ban hijab "racism dressed as liberalism"

Ofsted has defended itself against a backlash from teachers today after speakers at the NUT section of the NEU conference blasted inspectors' attempts to clamp down on the hijab in the classroom as "racism dressed up as liberalism".

Daily Express

Prince Charles's Easter message focuses on persecuted Christians

The prince of Wales and future supreme governor of the Church of England has released an Easter message for the first time. He spoke of solidarity with Christians being attacked and killed around the world.

Sky News

Women told to hide their hijabs on ‘Punish a Muslim’ day

Women are being urged to hide their hijabs on a day when thugs have apparently threatened to reward violence against Muslims.


SDLP to discuss abortion conscience vote

The SDLP is to hold a special conference to review the party's position on abortion. The party currently has an anti-choice stance but some party members have suggested being allowed to vote with their conscience on the issue.


Some Scots believe Islam shown 'too much respect', says Easter poll

A third of Scots believe Islam receives too much respect, while a quarter think too little is shown to Christianity, according to an Easter Sunday poll for The Sunday Times.

Glasgow Live

Corbyn attends Passover with left-wing Jewish group

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has attended a Passover event with a left-wing Jewish group highly critical of better-known Jewish communal bodies. There has been a mixed response to his decision.

The Guardian

Republic of Ireland to remove 'baptism barrier' for admission to schools

Two key moves to reduce the Catholic Church's control of education in Ireland will be made within weeks. Plans to remove the so-called baptism barrier for admission to Catholic schools are at an advanced stage, as are moves to ask parents to decide who should run Catholic primary schools.

Belfast Telegraph

Costa Rica vote halts march of religious conservatism

The resounding victory of a pro-gay marriage candidate in Costa Rica's presidential run-off vote on Sunday staved off a resurgent Christian evangelical movement that proved unable to translate social conservatism into a win.


Lawmakers in El Salvador face race against time to overturn abortion ban

Moves to overturn El Salvador's ban on abortion could be thwarted unless lawmakers work quickly to push through changes before a more conservative group assumes office in May.

The Guardian

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