Tue, 15 May 2018

University of Edinburgh appoints pagan chaplain

Scotland's most prestigious universities have begun appointing pagan representatives in recent years, with the University of Edinburgh the latest to do so.

The Times (£)

‘For some, the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem fulfills divine prophecy’

Michele Chabin studies the views of evangelical Christians and orthodox Jews who see the relocation of the US embassy in Israel as part of a divine plan.

Religion News Service

Pastor at US embassy opening in Jerusalem says Trump is “on the right side” of God

Robert Jeffress, the pastor who spoke at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem yesterday, is a case study in the Christian apocalyptic theology which has partly motivated the decision to move it.


‘The Christian right is breaking up in the US’

This editorial says the alliance between fundamentalist Protestants and Roman Catholics cannot survive the humiliations of evangelical support for President Trump.

The Guardian

Hindu nationalist BJP heading for key poll win in India

India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is heading towards an outright majority in the southern state of Karnataka, early results show. The polls are seen as a bellwether ahead of 2019 general elections.


‘Religious instruction in NZ primary schools is a bad idea’

Peter Harrison argues that if people in New Zealand want their schools to be tolerant and welcoming, they should avoid giving fundamentalists open access to children.

Stuff (NZ)

Mon, 14 May 2018

Islamic school advises girls not to use tampons – NSS quoted

An Islamic school in Birmingham has been criticised after advising its schoolgirls not to use tampons. NSS education and schools officer Alastair Lichten described the guidance as "concerning".

The Sun

Sutton Trust welcomes retention of 50% cap on faith-based admissions

The Sutton Trust, which focuses on social mobility, has welcomed the Department for Education's decision not to lift the 50% cap on faith-based admissions to new faith schools.


Take religion into account, coroners to be told

Coroners across the country are to be formally instructed to take into account the religious requirements of families when deciding whether to prioritise work, in the wake of a High Court ruling.

The Telegraph

Official guidance says Christians must be allowed to wear crosses at work

Firms that tell employees to remove religious symbols could face fines or be forced to pay compensation, according to new guidance.

The Sun

‘Pro-life’ group to challenge Scottish government over abortion pill plan

Campaigners will go to court today in an attempt to overturn Scottish government policy on allowing women to take an abortion pill at home.

The Herald

‘Let’s not confuse anti-Muslim hate with Islamophobia’

Fiyaz Mughal says hate attacks against Muslims are having a serious impact on many people and argues that obfuscation through the use of the term 'Islamophobia' should not take away from the real-world problems facing Muslims.

The Times (£)

Civil partnerships could be scrapped as heterosexual campaigners go to Supreme Court

The government could scrap civil partnerships as the number of people taking them up has fallen. The news comes ahead of a Supreme Court case beginning today which aims to open the partnerships up to heterosexual couples.

The Telegraph

Northern Ireland women could get abortions in Republic if 'yes' vote wins, say campaigners

Women from Northern Ireland could cross the border to access abortion services if the Irish referendum produces a 'yes' vote, it has been claimed.

Belfast Telegraph

Conservative MP blocks bid to bring equal marriage to Northern Ireland

An objection from a backbench Conservative MP has shot down a cross-party push to bring equal marriage to Northern Ireland.

Pink News

‘If the church can't look after this prized part of Exeter, it should give it to the council’ – NSS research cited

John Twyford says the owners of the area around Exeter Cathedral should be able to keep it free of litter.

Devon Live

Cut it out: NSS doctor will urge end to infant circumcision at talk in east London

A group of humanists in east London has invited Dr Antony Lempert, chair of the NSS's secular medical forum, to lead a discussion on the non-therapeutic genital cutting of males. Dr Lempert's talk will take place tonight.

Ilford Recorder

IS still threatens Europe, warns MI5 chief

The head of MI5 is warning that the Islamic State group aspires to commit "devastating" and "more complex" attacks in Europe after losing territory in the Middle East. His words come after apparent terror attacks in Paris and Indonesia over the weekend.


Fri, 11 May 2018

Faith schools get green light to expand

Local councils will have funds to open new faith schools, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced.


Green light for religiously segregated schools

The faith cap on new state schools has been retained in name alone as the government has backed the creation of a new wave of schools that can select all their pupils on the basis of religion.


Catholics slam ‘broken promise’ as faith admissions cap retained

The Catholic Church lamented the move as a "broken promise".


‘An archaic settlement’: NSS writes for LSE on the No More Faith Schools campaign

NSS CEO Stephen Evans challenges the continued privilege afforded to faith groups in the education sector, and suggests that only a fully secular education system can truly promote tolerance and inclusivity.

LSE Religion & Global Society blog

Investigate Christian campaign group over Alfie Evans case, say NSS

The NSS has urged the legal regulatory authorities to investigate the conduct of a Christian campaign group in the case of the toddler Alfie Evans.


'Alfie's law could undo decades of progress on children's rights'

Campaigners are calling for new legislation to 're-empower' parents, but we have moved a long way from the concept of children as chattel, says Carolyne Willow.

The Guardian

Mother and daughters ‘plotted terror attacks’

A mother and her two daughters formed Britain's first all-female terrorist group to plot attacks at the British Museum and Palace of Westminster, a court was told yesterday.

The Times (£)

Humanists given voice in shaping religious education

But after a legal challenge, the Welsh Government has said non-religious groups have the same right as religious ones.


Faith school ordered to address ‘significant’ failings in admissions appeals

A faith school criticised for the way it handled an appeal from a pupil to whom it refused a place has been ordered to replace its admissions panel.


Judges recommend harsh punishments for sharing hate posts

Advice for judges and magistrates recommends harsh punishments for those found guilty of stirring up hatred against racial, religious or sexual minority groups.

Daily Mail

Row about alleged discrimination within Monmouthshire religious education group

At a full council meeting on Thursday, an attempt by council leader Councillor Peter Fox to elect one of his cabinet as the chair of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) was met with contention.

South Wales Argus

Woman 'with 11 husbands' buried alive and stoned to death by Islamist militants

A woman accused of having 11 husbands was stoned to death in Somalia by members of the Islamic militant group Al-Shabab.


Thu, 10 May 2018

Priest sexually abused girl in confessional, Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry hears

A girl was sexually abused by a priest after she went to confession, an inquiry has heard. The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry is currently examining children's homes, no longer operating, which were run by the Catholic congregation the Sisters of Nazareth in Scotland.

The Herald

Father threatened to chop daughter up if she didn’t marry cousin, court told

A father tricked his teenage daughter into travelling abroad for an arranged marriage and threatened to "chop her up in 18 seconds" if she refused, Leeds crown court has heard.

The Times (£)

Birmingham woman duped daughter into forced marriage, court told

A mother from Birmingham duped her teenage daughter into travelling to Pakistan before forcing her to marry a man 16 years her senior, Birmingham crown court has heard.

The Guardian

Former country house may be turned into religious school

Councillors in Cheshire have approved plans to turn Hartford Manor, a former country house, into either homes or a religious school.

Northwich Guardian

Row over Melanie Phillips comments on ‘Islamophobia’

Jewish and Muslim groups have criticised the journalist Melanie Phillips after she said the concept of 'Islamophobia' was "a fiction to shut down debate".

Jewish News

Telegraph pays mosque leader damages over extremism claim

The Daily Telegraph has paid "substantial" undisclosed libel damages to the chairman of Finsbury Park Mosque over a claim he was a supporter of violent Islamist extremism.

The Independent

Court rules Berlin law requiring public servants to wear neutral clothing is constitutional

A Muslim primary school teacher has lost her bid to overturn a law banning the wearing of religious clothing by public servants in Berlin. The Berlin labour court judge ruled that the city-state's neutrality law for teachers, police and court officials was constitutional.


Google bans Irish abortion referendum adverts

Google has banned all adverts relating to the Irish abortion referendum from its platform, amid fears of overseas organisations taking advantage of loopholes in campaign funding laws to target voters before polling day.

The Guardian

‘Caste hatred in India - what it looks like’

A recent exhibition in the Indian city of Mumbai documented Dalit (formerly known as "untouchable") families that have lost a loved one because of discrimination and violence.


‘How a child rape became a religious flashpoint for India’

India's top court has moved the trial in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl from a Muslim background out of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The BBC spoke to people there about the divisions that led to the court's decision.


Wed, 09 May 2018

Council could take legal action over Jewish festival ‘explosion’ in north London

A council could take legal action against a local Jewish organisation over a bonfire that "exploded" in the middle of a packed street during a festival.

Hackney Gazette

Religious independent schools among those warned by DfE

The government has made public 27 warning notices issued to private schools that failed to meet its independent school standards. These include a number of independent schools with a religious character.

Schools Week

NSS doctor to give talk about forced genital cutting at humanists' event

Dr Antony Lempert of the NSS will give a talk on male circumcision at an event hosted by the East London Humanists on Monday.

East London & West Essex Guardian

Bishop of Leeds proposes amendment to Brexit bill

The Government has suffered an unexpected Brexit defeat in the Lords. During the process the bishop of Leeds proposed a cross-party amendment to allow Britain's continued participation in EU agencies.

Sky News

Islamic school in Leicester had books in library condoning violence against women

An Islamic faith school in Leicester has been slammed by Ofsted after it found "inappropriate" reading material in the boys' library.

Leicester Mercury

‘MPs must protect the free press: we all depend on it’

Jodie Ginsberg says the House of Commons should reject amendments to the Data Protection Bill. These would force any publisher who refuses to join a state-backed press regulator to pay all the legal costs of any case brought against them.

The Times (£)

Campaigners pushing for change to abortion laws in Gibraltar

Gibraltar has the harshest anti-abortion laws anywhere in Europe. But with Brexit looming and the Irish abortion referendum just weeks away, campaigners are hoping for change.


Baptism barrier in Ireland’s schools set to be lifted this year

Ireland's minister for education has announced that new rules banning discrimination against children who are not baptised should come into force this year.

The Journal (Ireland)

‘The Catholic grip on Irish education is being loosened’

Carl O'Brien assesses the implications of likely changes to admissions policies in Ireland's schools.

The Irish Times

‘The new era of abstinence in the US’

This editorial says the administration of Donald Trump is promoting abstinence with a zeal perhaps never before seen from the US government.

The New York Times

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