Religious campaign to halt EU abortion funding 'lacks mercy'

One of Us campaign, backed by Catholic church, is an attempt force the EU to hold world's poorest women hostage, say critics

 A pro-life campaigner holds a model of a nine-week-old foetus at an anti-abortion rally in Malta, the EU's smallest member state in terms of land mass, GDP and population. Photograph: Reuters

A religious-backed initiative to prevent EU aid money being spent on programmes that support abortion lacks compassion for women, the head of the International Planned Parenthood Federation has said.

Tewodros Melesse said the One of Us campaign, launched with the backing of the Catholic church, failed to prioritise women's rights and judged women for taking control of their bodies. "A woman doesn't have an abortion for fun," said Melesse, in Stockholm last week for a meeting of parliamentarians to discuss progress on women's rights across the globe.

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Should Britain become a secular state?

Is it time for Britain to separate Church and State and become a secular state?

Myriam Francois-Cerrah (left) and Symon Hill approach the debate from different perspectives

As part of the Perspectives series, BBC Religion and Ethics asked two contributors to BBC One's The Big Questions to develop some of the issues.

Myriam Francois-Cerrah is a writer, academic and a Muslim. She believes that the UK today is largely a secular society and that this is already reflected at the level of the state.

She says that separating church and the state runs the risk of marginalising religious people and in some cases forwarding an anti-religious agenda.

Symon Hill is a left-wing Christian writer, blogger and associate-director of the not-for-profit Christian think tank Ekklesia which "examines the role of beliefs, values and faith in public life".

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Brian Souter hands Christians for Independence of Scotland

BUS tycoon Sir Brian Souter has given a £100,000 donation to help a Christian group campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum.

The SNP-supporting owner of Stagecoach gifted Alex Salmond’s party a £500,000 sum at the 2011 Holyrood election, but has yet to give any cash to the official cross-party Yes campaign.

However, the head of the Christians for Independence group confirmed Sir Brian had donated £100,000 to cover the bulk of its campaign costs in the run-up to the referendum.

Group convenor Dave Thompson, a senior SNP MSP, said the group had approached Sir Brian, who spent an estimated £1 million on a privately funded referendum aimed at retaining legislation that banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

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Former Archbishop of Canterbury declares Britain to be a ‘post-Christian nation’ as levels of religiosity continue to fall

In an interview in The Telegraph this weekend Lord Rowan Williams of Oystermouth, former Archbishop of Canterbury and current master of Magdalene College Cambridge, claimed that Britain is a ‘post-Christian country.’

In his comments Lord Williams conceded that ‘habitual practice for most of the population is not taken for granted,’ and that the country could not be called a Christian country as it is not ‘a nation of believers.’ However, the former Archbishop did say that Britain is a Christian country ‘in the sense of still being very much saturated by this vision of the world and shaped by it.’ The British Humanist Association (BHA) has today published a new infographic exploring the identities, beliefs, values and practices of the British, and concluded that Britain is a diverse nation made up of those of many religions and none.

In the same article in which these comments appeared The Telegraph released polling data on whether or not people believed that Britain is a Christian country. The poll, conducted by ICM, found that 56% of respondents said that ‘Britain is a Christian country’, with 30% saying it ‘is a non-religious society’.

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Rev, the brilliant TV comedy that undermines the church

The hit comedy about an Anglican vicar is a secular take on the sacred, and fails to say anything about belief

 You love Rev. I love Rev. Everyone loves Rev. That's why the hit BBC comedy is so pernicious. Unbelievers who hate the church love the fantastic satire of an institution not long for this world. Unbelievers who like the church adore how it captures all those quaint little foibles. Believers who hate the church love how it lampoons everything they want to change. Believers who love the church also love it because it's important to laugh about yourself. And vicars? Well, with a million viewers tuning in to every episode, they no doubt think that there's so such thing as bad publicity.

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John Paul II: Patron Saint of Pedophile Priests

How can you be a saint if you fail to protect innocent children?

Pope John Paul II was no saint. His legacy will always be tainted by his lenient attitude towards sexually abusive priests, and his failure to protect innocent children sexually brutalized by Catholic clergy.

As the Telegraph reports, the late Polish pontiff could have prevented “thousands” of children from being raped by pedophile priests but instead chose to ignore the scandal in the interests of protecting the image of the Catholic Church

Pope John Paul II died at age 84 in April 2005 from complications from Parkinson’s disease. Since his death, John Paul has been put on a fast track for sainthood. Usually the road to becoming a saint is measured in decades or even centuries. However, Pope Benedict XVI waived church rules that normally impose a five-year waiting period after a candidate’s death before the procedure that leads to sainthood can start.

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UKIP’s Mid Ulster council candidate has hit out at same-sex marriage.

Alan Day who will contest the May 22 election, voiced opposition to the Sinn Fein backed proposal, which will be debated on the floor of the Stormont Assembly on Tuesday.

“No government has the right to redefine marriage,” said Mr Day.

“Personally, I believe that marriage is constituted for the lifelong union of man and woman, for the procreation of children.

“I believe traditional marriage remains the most stable way for children to be raised, and should be supported and protected by government.”

UKIP’s Regional Leader David McNarry MLA has confirmed that he will be voting against the proposal in the Assembly, stating: “Despite what some might pretend, this is not a matter of equality. Civil partnerships already provide homosexual and lesbian couples with the same rights as married heterosexual couples in Northern Ireland.

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Shria Law in UK

High street lawyers are being offered formal training in Islamic Sharia Law by the professional body which represents solicitors, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

A new training course being run by the Law Society this summer is described as an “introduction to Islamic Sharia law for small firms”.

Critics said the fact that the Law Society was offering training in Sharia law created the “perception” that it was now “a legal discipline”.

It comes after the Society controversially published guidance last month to allow high street solicitors to draw up Sharia-compliant wills.

On Monday around 100 anti-Sharia law campaigners are expected to protest outside the Society’s head office in the heart of London’s legal establisment.

Sharia law is Islam’s legal system. It derives from the Koran and the Hadiths, the sayings and customs attributed to the Prophet Mohammed, as well as fatwas - the rulings of Islamic scholars.

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Holy Turf war: Muslims and Christians clash on Britain's streets as religious ‘vigilantes’

Holy Turf war: Muslims and Christians clash on Britain's streets as religious ‘vigilantes’ from both sides threaten late-night drinkers and women in short skirts to ‘cleanse’ country  

 

  • Muslims and Christians 'tribes' patrol capital determined to push views
  • Muslim patrol supported by hate preacher Anjem Choudary
  • Christian patrol an offshoot of far-right group the English Defence League
  • Three members of Muslim patrol jailed in December last year

This is the moment Britain First, a Christian group determined to see off Islamic fundamentalism,. harasses an innocent Muslim family attending the Old Bailey for a case of their murdered son.

City of London police intervene to protect the family who cower in a doorway near the Central Criminal Court.

One man shouts that he knows which mosque the family attend and another accuses the police of protecting Islam.

The scenes are taken from London's Holy Turf War, a new documentary that shows on one side the Muslim patrol berating people who drink or dress provocatively in the streets while on the other is the Christian patrol, members of a new group Britain First, a political party and 'street defence organisation' that says it 'opposes and fights the many injustices that are routinely inflicted on the British people'.

The Muslim patrol is supported by the controversial Anjem Choudary who wants to see the introduction of sharia into Britain.

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Lloyds Bank has been accused of religious discrimination after offering free overdraft accounts to Muslims.

The bank sent customers a booklet this month explaining new charges.

While many will have to pay up to £80 a month if they go into the red, Muslims were told they would escape the charges. The document said: “We are removing the monthly overdraft management fee of £6 from our Islamic Account, Islamic Student Account and Islamic Graduate Account. So, if you use an unplanned overdraft on these accounts, there won’t be any charges.”

One customer, Anita Milton, a nurse of New Eltham, south London, said: “I can’t believe that they’re thinking of offering one account for Muslims and making everyone else pay for the same service. Do I have to change my religion to get the best deal?"

Barclays, Co-op Bank and RBS said they do not offer alternative bank accounts to Muslim customers

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German court upholds school ban on facial veil

BERLIN — A German court has rejected a Muslim student’s lawsuit against a vocational school’s ban on wearing face-covering veils in class.

The Bavarian Administrative Court said Friday the school’s ban didn’t infringe illegally on the right of the student to exercise her religious rights freely.

The student, whom the court didn’t identify in keeping with German privacy rules, saw her admission to the state-run school revoked last year when she refused to attend classes without a face-covering niqab.

The court found that teaching requires “open communication” that includes facial expressions and body language. It said that, if a student wears a face-covering veil, “nonverbal communication is essentially prevented.”

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 Source: Washington Post