The British public is broadly sympathetic to the secularist cause. We say those words with increasing confidence. This week, a survey from the Pew Research Centre
showed that 60% of adults in the UK believe religion should be kept separate from government policy. That includes most Christians with 'low' and even 'moderate'
levels of commitment.
The convincing victory for those who campaigned to repeal Ireland's eighth amendment has been a reminder that religion's stranglehold on public policy can be
successfully challenged. And yet policy makers – nationally, locally and even (as one of our articles shows this week) at a European level – continue to pander to
We're pushing back against this because we believe in safeguarding everyone's right to freedom of and from religion. That means we must challenge the deference to
religion which informs much of our public policy. If you consider this valuable work, please take a moment to support it. Thank you.
Two senior EU politicians have said they would oppose restrictions on rituals such as genital cutting and religious animal slaughter.
Thousands of people are expected
to call on Theresa May to legislate for marriage equality in Northern Ireland at a protest in Belfast tomorrow.
The Irish prime minister has said he is prepared to consider a debate on ending church
patronage of schools. Meanwhile changes to admission rules, approved this
week, mean schools in Ireland will no longer be able to use religion as a criterion for prioritising entry from 2019.
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has heard that a child leapt to her
death after being "battered" by a nun at a Catholic children's home. It's also heard that a former resident at the same home was raped by a priest and repeatedly abused by a nun.
More than 3,500 reports of forced marriage were made to police
over a three-year period, according to the Guardian.
Denmark has become the latest country to introduce a ban on wearing garments
which hide the face in public.
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Women in Northern Ireland are still subject to restrictive laws – and heavy penalties – should they wish to have autonomy over their own bodies.
Quotes of the week
"What we've seen is the culmination of a quiet revolution that's taken place in Ireland for the past 10 or twenty years… The people have said we want a
modern constitution for a modern country, that we trust women and we respect them to make the right decision, the right choices about their own
Varadkar, Ireland's prime minister, reacts to the repeal of the eighth amendment
"It's hypocritical, degrading and insulting to Northern Irish women that we are forced to travel for vital healthcare services but cannot access them at
home. We cannot be left behind in a corner of the UK and on the island of Ireland as second-class citizens." Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland campaigns
manager, calls for reform after the result in the Republic
"If in doubt, better not let them enter." Pope
Francis once again shows his much-touted gay-friendly credentials