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Fri, 21 May 2021

ONS finds Covid death rates are higher among religious people

ONS finds Covid death rates are higher among religious people

More people who identify as Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish have died with Covid-19 than those who identify as Christian or as no religion, the Office for National Statistics says.

Church Times*

NSS president: ‘The religious threat to global human rights must be taken seriously’

NSS president: ‘The religious threat to global human rights must be taken seriously’

UN efforts to challenge violations of human rights should consider both oppressive laws which theocrats uphold in former colonies and efforts to impose similar agendas further afield, says Keith Porteous Wood.

The Freethinker (Patheos)

‘New laws enforce free speech at universities’

‘New laws enforce free speech at universities’

The Queen's Speech suggests unnecessary changes to freedom of expression law, says Jonathan Ames.

The Times*

Ireland: Pupils relying on internet rather than school for sex education, students say

Ireland: Pupils relying on internet rather than school for sex education, students say

Many students are not receiving an adequate sex education at school and are relying on the internet for information, a parliamentary committee has heard.

The Irish Times*

‘Molly is right, keep religion out of sex education in schools’

‘Molly is right, keep religion out of sex education in schools’

Molly, an eight-year-old girl from Cork, recently wrote to the taoiseach about how the new relationships and sexuality programme class made her feel left out.

The Times*

‘Swearing of religious oaths is hypocritical as Ireland becomes more secular’

‘Swearing of religious oaths is hypocritical as Ireland becomes more secular’

What if an elected president declined office due to the religious oath required by our Constitution, asks Brian Whiteside.

The Irish Times*

‘Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s unjust detention is just the tip of the iceberg for the treatment of women in Iran’

‘Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s unjust detention is just the tip of the iceberg for the treatment of women in Iran’

The world must not turn a blind eye to the treatment of women in Iran who are oppressed, incarcerated and lacking basic human rights too, says Elnaz Sarbar.

iNews

Thu, 20 May 2021

The seven new faith school trusts at the heart of the DfE’s academies drive

The seven new faith school trusts at the heart of the DfE’s academies drive

The government has named the first seven new faith school trusts it is funding to help drive its academisation "vision".

Schools Week

Priest 'said God bless' after 1986 Gateshead rape

Priest 'said God bless' after 1986 Gateshead rape

Retired Roman Catholic priest John Anthony Clohosey, 72, is charged with raping the woman at her Gateshead home 35 years ago.

BBC

Labour grassroots campaign to jettison IHRA definition of antisemitism

Labour grassroots campaign to jettison IHRA definition of antisemitism

Constituency Labour Party branches are being urged to submit motions for Labour conference to replace the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance with the Jerusalem Declaration.

The Jewish Chronicle

Jewish students at UCL targeted with death threats

Jewish students at UCL targeted with death threats

Jewish students at University College London say they have been targeted with death threats in the wake of renewed violence in Israel and Gaza.

The Jewish Chronicle

Glasgow churches subjected to anti-Catholic abuse after Rangers win

Glasgow churches subjected to anti-Catholic abuse after Rangers win

A number of churches in and around Glasgow were subject to vandalism and anti-Catholic abuse over the weekend as Rangers supporters rampaged through the city centre on Saturday.

The Guardian

‘The Assisted Dying Bill will give dying people control at the end of their lives’

‘The Assisted Dying Bill will give dying people control at the end of their lives’

84% of people in this country want assisted dying to be legalised, says Baroness Meacher.

Politics Home

Swedish authorities probe mohel for not using anaesthesia when circumcising 8-day-old babies

Swedish authorities probe mohel for not using anaesthesia when circumcising 8-day-old babies

Health Ministry officials in Sweden have launched a review into the actions of a rabbi and physician for circumcising Jewish infants without anaesthesia.

Jewish Telegraph Agency

Texas governor signs six-week abortion ban into law

Texas governor signs six-week abortion ban into law

A new bill banning abortion from the sixth week of pregnancy, which could tie clinics up in potentially business-ending litigation, has been signed into law by the governor of Texas.

The Times*

‘Abortion is new front line in US culture wars’

‘Abortion is new front line in US culture wars’

If the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v Wade it is ignoring the national mood and will set back progress by decades, says David Aaronovitch.

The Times*

US Navy sued by sailors wanting religious exemption to have beards

US Navy sued by sailors wanting religious exemption to have beards

Sailors in the US Navy have filed a lawsuit for a religious exemption to have beards. The lawsuit is an attempt by four men to stop the Navy from forcing them to shave in violation of their religious beliefs.

The Independent

Wed, 19 May 2021

Fair employment religious exception for NI teachers 'no longer acceptable'

Fair employment religious exception for NI teachers 'no longer acceptable'

It is no longer acceptable to exclude the entire teaching workforce from fair employment legislation, the head of the Equality Commission has said. The exception allows schools to use religious belief as a ground on which to discriminate between candidates for posts.

The Irish News*

Biggest Protestant church in NI backs DUP bill on disabled abortions

Biggest Protestant church in NI backs DUP bill on disabled abortions

The bill seeks to remove "severe fetal impairment" as a ground for abortion.

News Letter*

‘Salman Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens and the defence of free speech’

‘Salman Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens and the defence of free speech’

The main lesson of the fatwa years is the need for solidarity, says Daniel James Sharp.

Aero

International Criminal Court asked to investigate mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries

International Criminal Court asked to investigate mother and baby homes and Magdalene Laundries

The International Criminal Court in the Hague has been asked to investigate the "violent legacy" of mother and baby homes, Magdalene Laundries, and industrial schools in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Irish Examiner

Biden White House officials hold first meeting with atheist, secular groups

Biden White House officials hold first meeting with atheist, secular groups

Representatives of atheist and secular groups held their first meeting with White House officials last week, marking a willingness by the Biden administration to work with the growing networks of religiously unaffiliated Americans.

Religion News Service

Short of details, public officials could only watch as Salem church Covid outbreak unfolded

Short of details, public officials could only watch as Salem church Covid outbreak unfolded

A month passed from the first reported case of Covid at Peoples Church in Salem before health authorities could establish that dozens of people were sick.

Salem Reporter

‘How Trump and McConnell set the final pieces for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade’

‘How Trump and McConnell set the final pieces for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade’

Conservatives have been waiting decades for this moment: a transformed Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an abortion case that directly challenges women's reproductive rights tracing to the 1973 Roe v. Wade milestone.

CNN

Mob attacks police station in Pakistan in search of man accused of blasphemy

Mob attacks police station in Pakistan in search of man accused of blasphemy

A mob has attacked a police station in the Pakistani capital in an attempt to lynch a man detained on a charge of blasphemy, according to a media report.

The Hindu

Indian mosque bulldozed in defiance of high court order

Indian mosque bulldozed in defiance of high court order

A local administration in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has defied a state high court order and bulldozed a mosque, in one of the most inflammatory actions taken against a Muslim place of worship since the demolition of the Babri Mosque by a mob of Hindu nationalist rioters in 1992.

The Guardian

‘Plug the loophole in South Africa’s circumcision law fast’

‘Plug the loophole in South Africa’s circumcision law fast’

Last week a Ngcobo magistrate made a ruling that will have a profound impact: parents have a right to grant consent for underage youths to undergo circumcision.

Dispatch Live

Tue, 18 May 2021

Italy pushes for permanent Vatican role in UN health talks

Italy pushes for permanent Vatican role in UN health talks

Critics say that giving the Holy See a fixed seat at the World Health Assembly could endanger sexual and reproductive rights worldwide.

openDemocracy

House of Lords to debate assisted dying Private Member’s Bill for first time in more than 5 years

House of Lords to debate assisted dying Private Member’s Bill for first time in more than 5 years

An assisted dying bill is due to be debated in the House of Lords later this year – the first time a private member's bill on the topic will be discussed in Westminster for more than five years.

Politics Home

Proposal to end compulsory worship in non-faith schools – NSS quoted

Proposal to end compulsory worship in non-faith schools – NSS quoted

A bill to end compulsory acts of collective worship in schools in England without a religious character is set to be presented to parliament. NSS head of education Alastair Lichten is quoted.

Ekklesia

‘Why Nazir Afzal could ultimately find his safeguarding job with the Catholic Church too difficult’

‘Why Nazir Afzal could ultimately find his safeguarding job with the Catholic Church too difficult’

It remains legal for a church leader to know that a child has been abused but to sit on this knowledge. This fundamental flaw in our law means that the new safeguarding body can never be entirely sure that all allegations or reasonable suspicions of abuse have actually been reported to the statutory authorities, says Richard Scorer.

The Tablet*

‘Batley Grammar and the dilemma for trainee teachers’

‘Batley Grammar and the dilemma for trainee teachers’

When a member of their profession remains in hiding, unable to return to work, is it any wonder trainee teachers are asking what the implications of this case are for their own teaching practices, says Joanna Rossiter.

The Spectator*

‘Challenge bigotry by all means, but outlaw it? I’d rather not’

‘Challenge bigotry by all means, but outlaw it? I’d rather not’

Draft laws that forbid one thing online but allow it offline betray a chilling agenda, says Kenan Malik.

The Guardian

‘Children need lessons in relationship and sexuality - but without Catholic Church influence'

‘Children need lessons in relationship and sexuality - but without Catholic Church influence'

A group of concerned parents and teachers in Cork have started a conversation about the place of religion in the teaching of Relationships and Sexuality Education in Ireland's schools.

Echo Live

US Supreme Court to consider Mississippi 15-week abortion ban with new conservative majority

US Supreme Court to consider Mississippi 15-week abortion ban with new conservative majority

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a challenge to Mississippi's ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, giving the court's new conservative majority a chance to weigh in on the issue for the first time in a major case.

USA Today

Australia: New South Wales bans religious knives in schools after alleged high school stabbing

Australia: New South Wales bans religious knives in schools after alleged high school stabbing

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell says carrying knives will no longer be tolerated in NSW schools - even for religious purposes - after a recent alleged stabbing.

SBS News

‘In Taliban-controlled areas, girls are fleeing for one thing: an education’

‘In Taliban-controlled areas, girls are fleeing for one thing: an education’

Two districts in Afghanistan's northwest offer a glimpse into life under the Taliban, who have completely cut off education for teenage girls.

The New York Times*

Mon, 17 May 2021

Make school assemblies “inclusive”, Church of England schools told

Make school assemblies “inclusive”, Church of England schools told

A new statement from the Church of England says that assemblies should be "inclusive, invitational and inspiring".

The Times*

Batley Grammar: Parents pull pupils out of prophet row school

Batley Grammar: Parents pull pupils out of prophet row school

Parents are looking to pull their children out of Batley Grammar School, where the showing of a cartoon Islam's prophet Muhammad provoked uproar six weeks ago, because they fear that tensions will erupt again once an investigation by the school concludes.

The Times*

Imam brands Muslim MPs who backed a teacher at the centre of Muhammad cartoon row 'coconuts'

Imam brands Muslim MPs who backed a teacher at the centre of Muhammad cartoon row 'coconuts'

An imam who is demanding the sacking of a teacher who showed pupils an image of the Prophet Muhammad may have broken hate crime laws, a former senior police officer believes.

Mail On Sunday

New animal welfare law will not cover non-stun slaughter

New animal welfare law will not cover non-stun slaughter

To avoid a row with religious groups, the Animal Sentience Bill will not cover religious slaughter in which the animals are still conscious when their throats are cut.

Mail Online

Ian Paisley accuses BBC of mocking Edwin Poots' faith

Ian Paisley accuses BBC of mocking Edwin Poots' faith

The BBC has been accused of "taking the mickey" out of the newly elected leader of the DUP over his religious beliefs.

The Irish News

Ex-prosecutor Nazir Afzal will head Catholic Church's drive to stamp out child abuse

Ex-prosecutor Nazir Afzal will head Catholic Church's drive to stamp out child abuse

The Muslim former prosecutor who led the crackdown on Rochdale's grooming gangs is to head the Catholic Church's drive to stamp out child abuse scandals.

Mail On Sunday

Former Tory MP Lord Herbert named government envoy on LGBT rights

Former Tory MP Lord Herbert named government envoy on LGBT rights

Nick Herbert, who was one of the first openly gay Tory MPs and was instrumental in the campaign for same-sex marriage, was appointed on Sunday.

iNews

Four men arrested in anti-Semitism video investigation

Four men arrested in anti-Semitism video investigation

Police have arrested four men in connection with a video which appeared to show anti-Semitic abuse being shouted from a car in north London.

BBC

Nicola Sturgeon hits out at 'anti-Catholic prejudice’ of Rangers fans following ugly scenes in Glasgow

Nicola Sturgeon hits out at 'anti-Catholic prejudice’ of Rangers fans following ugly scenes in Glasgow

The First Minister condemned "the violence, vandalism and the vile anti-Catholic prejudice" on display in the heart of the city.

The Herald*

Drive for religious literacy ‘would undermine press freedom’ – NSS mentioned

Drive for religious literacy ‘would undermine press freedom’ – NSS mentioned

A recent blog written by NSS head of communications Chris Sloggett is referenced in Religion Media Centre's round up of news.

Religion Media Centre

Irish Assembly hears children risk being 'othered' over sexuality education

Irish Assembly hears children risk being 'othered' over sexuality education

Sinn Féin's Education spokesperson has told the Assembly of Ireland that children risk being "othered" due to the way sexual health education is being taught in schools.

RTE

Ireland: Call for non-denominational school gets unanimous council support

Ireland: Call for non-denominational school gets unanimous council support

The lack of diversity in the primary education sector in the Athlone Moate Municipal District was highlighted this week by Green Party Cllr Louise Heavin, who received the full backing of her fellow councillors for her bid to have a multi-faith or non-denominational primary school provided in the area.

Independent Westmeath

Fri, 14 May 2021

‘C of E’s further-education report is out of touch’ – Letter from NSS education forum reps

‘C of E’s further-education report is out of touch’ – Letter from NSS education forum reps

It would be wholly inappropriate for the Church of England to use post-16 education as a privileged means of attempting to reverse its falling membership among young people, say Chris Higgins and Keith Sharpe of the National Secular Society's Secular Education Forum (Scroll down to view).

Church Times*

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