Fri, 02 Feb 2018
NSS honorary associate Peter Tatchell is backing calls for opposite-sex civil partnerships to become legal, as MPs debate a private member's bill on the matter.
A review of sharia councils has said Muslims in the UK should undergo a civil marriage as well as a religious ceremony and a public body should be set up to regulate sharia councils. The Home Office immediately rejected the latter suggestion.
One of the country's biggest multi-academy trusts has predicted that nearly all of its schools will be in deficit by 2018-19. The latest financial accounts for Plymouth CAST, which operates 35 faith schools in the west country, state that 22 of its academies have set a deficit budget for the current academic year.
The Church of England waited six weeks to release an allegation of historic sexual abuse against Bishop George Bell.
High Court rules Home Office 'interfering' with people's right to observe Islam in detention centres
The Home Office is interfering with people's right to observe Islam by subjecting immigration detainees to a "lock-in" regime which forces them to pray in dirty conditions, the High Court has ruled.
Riding a tsunami of moral conservatism and anti-gay prejudice, Indonesia's Islamic political parties appear on the cusp of a major victory: outlawing all sex outside marriage.
Just over a year ago President Trump reinstated a law prohibiting the allocation of US funding to foreign non-governmental organizations that offer abortion services or information about the procedure. Health care workers say the policy has had disastrous effect.
Thu, 01 Feb 2018
Head teachers must stop religious extremists using schools to indoctrinate children, says Ofsted head
In a strongly-worded speech today Amanda Spielman will call on head teachers not to be afraid of causing offence or tackling religious extremists who use schools to indoctrinate children.
International Business Times
Lord Soley says the tragic discovery in California of 13 children imprisoned and tortured in their own home is a salutary reminder of what can happen when the right to home-educate children is used as a cover for abuse. His home education bill "will not answer all the problems facing schools and parents, but it will help".
The Times (£)
A Church of England priest who worked at a private school in North Devon after torturing and abusing two boys in Sussex was first reported to the church 20 years ago, according to a BBC investigation.
A new allegation has been made against the late Bishop George Bell who was accused after his death of abusing a young girl, the BBC understands.
The Offensive Behaviour at Football Act looks set to be repealed in Scotland. Stuart Waiton says this is a good thing, as "the act is so broad that simply being offensive was made into a crime".
The Times (£)
An abuse survivor is suing a Catholic sect and a council after being beaten and assaulted by a notorious monk in East Lothian.
Anti-semitic hate incidents have reached a record level in the UK, figures indicate.
A new war memorial to commemorate the sacrifice of Sikh servicemen has been backed by the government.
Indonesia has proposed banning gay sex – and the law could pass in the next two weeks. The bill, which reportedly has support from all 10 of the country's main political parties, would make gay sex punishable by up to five years in prison.
Poland's Senate has approved a bill that makes it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.
The high-profile Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan has been taken into custody by French police investigating allegations of rape and sexual assault.
Los Angeles Times
Authorities in the Indonesian province of Aceh have ordered Muslim flight attendants to wear headscarves when flying into the ultra-conservative Islamic region, officials confirmed on Wednesday.
Wed, 31 Jan 2018
The culture of secrecy in the Church of England, its hierarchy and its approach to sexuality are to be among the central lines of questioning in an upcoming public hearing into the handling of child sex abuse allegations in the diocese of Chichester.
‘We shouldn’t allow children to be labelled with the same religious identity as their parents’ – by NSS communications officer
Chris Sloggett says true religious freedom comes from having the ability to make your own decisions when you are old enough, and schools should enforce clear rules on religious clothing that are in children's best interests.
The new Education Secretary will push ahead with plans to require LGBT-inclusive sex and relationship education to be taught in schools, the Government has confirmed.
The Catholic Church in Scotland has renewed calls for Holyrood laws to protect "conscience rights" for health workers who do not wish to do anything to support abortion services.
A new abortion law would lift the threat of criminal sanctions for women who illegally terminate their pregnancies in Ireland.
The Times (£)
The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain (CEMB) will protest against the mandatory hijab in Iran today in support of the White Wednesday campaign.
Indian families' traditional preference for sons over daughters has led to the existence of millions of "unwanted" girls in the country, a new government report estimates. The report suggests several possible reasons for India's preference for sons, including that male offspring perform important religious rituals for their parents.
The Huffington Post
Julia Belluz says the Trump administration has made some remarkable moves to curtail hard-fought access to reproductive health care and family planning services. Observers say this is evidence of the religious right's growing influence at the highest levels of government and Trump's desire to fulfill campaign promises to expand 'religious freedom'.
This editorial reflects on the creation of a "Conscience and Religious Freedom Division" in the US Government's Department of Health and Human Services. It says freedom of religion is essential, but so is access to healthcare.
The New York Times
An Iranian woman detained after defiantly taking off her headscarf and holding it on a stick in Tehran has been freed, a human rights lawyer says.
Pope Francis is sending a Vatican investigator to Chile to look into accusations that a bishop covered up for an abusive priest.
A web portal used by hundreds of secular state schools in Israel is integrating religious content into its science and technology lessons.
Tue, 30 Jan 2018
During his first appearance at education questions since he took the top job in education on January 8, Damian Hinds told MPs today that he still hasn't decided whether to get rid of the 50-per-cent cap on religious discrimination in admissions to new faith schools.
A letter writer says it is a myth to suggest the cultural heritage of Lewis and Harris is being undermined by an arts centre's decision to open as a trial on Sunday.
A Charity Commission investigation has found a series of failings at the Islamic charity Peacetrail. The Commission says these include a failure to account for "at least £92,110" of the organisation's total expenditure. Lauren Booth, half-sister of Cherie Blair, set up the charity in 2013.
Melanie Phillips says the treatment of Sara Khan shows that those who defend religious fanaticism are winning.
The Times (£)
The Irish government has agreed to hold a referendum at the end of May on whether to reform the country's near-total ban on abortion.
An unnamed writer says a proposal to allow companies to decline wedding services to same-sex couples in Jersey's proposed same-sex marriage law is "a get out of jail free card for bigots".
Jersey Evening Post
The Senate has not advanced a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and threaten providers who performed the procedure with up to five years in prison.
Michael Freedman says extreme factions in Israel's religious parties have been empowered, as the deaths of more moderate leaders have left a vacuum.
The Washington Post
Loveday Morris, Michelle Boorstein and Ruth Eglash say polls suggest support for Israel is waning among young evangelicals in the US.
The Washington Post
The Kenyan High Court has ruled that an atheist group can keep its official recognition, with all the freedoms that come with it. The Attorney General had previously suspended the group.
Religious people are, on average, less intelligent than atheists, researchers claim.
Mon, 29 Jan 2018
The government has held secret talks with the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) about re-establishing a relationship, nine years after it broke with the group over its alleged links with extremism.
The Sunday Times (£)
Labour's new head of party discipline previously defended Lutfur Rahman, a disgraced mayor who was ousted by the courts for bullying Muslims.
The Times (£)
A bill seeking to protect the conscience rights of all medical professionals received its second reading on Friday in the House of Lords.
Independent Catholic News
Survivors of UK terrorist attacks and bereaved relatives have launched a group to lobby the government over its anti-terror policies.
The cinema on the Isle of Lewis has opened on a Sunday for the first time as part of a trial that has been opposed by Sabbatarian church leaders.
Marianne Taylor says the hardline argument of Sabbatarians on Lewis will soon be brought down by two forces: reason and economics.
The "horrible" death of a retired teacher has led to a new campaign to legalise assisted dying for the terminally ill in Scotland.
The Times (£)
More than 100,000 minority Uighur Muslims are reportedly being indefinitely detained in overcrowded 're-education' camps on China's western border.
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