If the UN were to order us to ‘respect all political beliefs’, conservatives would say they weren’t prepared to respect communists, leftists would say they weren’t prepared to respect fascists and everyone else would burst out laughing. Yet the UN Human Rights Council is proposing in all seriousness to protect religion by doctoring its universal defence of freedom of expression.
Damning new evidence that faith schools are siphoning off middle-class pupils can be revealed today, as research shows they are failing to take children from the poorest backgrounds nationwide.
Even when they are situated in deprived inner-city areas, religious schools have fewer poor children than local authority secondary schools.
The abolition of the blasphemy laws took a decisive step forward this week with the tabling of a government amendment to do so in the House of Lords.
The Bill is scheduled to be debated on Wednesday (5 March 2008).
Faith charities encouraging or promoting violence or hatred risk losing their charitable status as part of a radical overhaul proposed by the Charity Commission.
The following was posted on Facebook by Laurence Boyce of Cambridge (a member of the NSS and the Liberal Democrats), in response to the accusation from pro-religion people that he’s “a bigot” elsewhere on the Internet. Laurence wrote that one of his accusers had asked him …
… to justify my sweeping assertion that the claims of religion have largely been debunked by science and philosophy … determined to answer everyone’s points (though nobody much was answering mine), I put together a little series of notes which I now collect here for future reference. Not to be taken too seriously – a bit like religion itself, I suppose!
With his permission, I’m sharing Laurence’s notes. Religious people of an easily-offended disposition are asked to read carefully, and learn.
Note: All the books mentioned here can be bought from Amazon, via the search box on the right, so we get commission (Note: the Amazon box will be reinstated shortly). MN
It seems that the archbishop was wrong to compare sharia with the Jewish beit din.
Earlier this month Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams stunned much of his own church and the rest of the world by saying that it seems unavoidable that elements of Sharia will be adopted into the British legal system…
The Government has responded to the following e-petition on faith schools, signed by many secularists and humanists:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish all faith schools and prohibit the teaching of creationism and other religious mythology in all UK schools.”
Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource is having a debate at the Unitarian Meeting house on Thursday 14 February, starting at 6pm. See our events calendar for details.
Speakers from the Christian and Muslim Faiths will debate Rowan William’s thoughts on the accommodation of some aspects of Sharia Law by the English legal system and the misunderstandings and misrepresentations of his proposals by the media and politicians.
UK scouts must be prepared to make the Scout Promise:
On My Honour, I promise that I will do my best
To do my duty to God and to the Queen,
To help other people
And to keep the Scout Law.
The Scout Association’s website claims that,
Scouting is open to all young people aged 6 to 25 of every faith and background. There are also plenty of opportunities for adults to become involved as Leaders, Assistants or Administrators.
However, what it doesn’t say is that scouting is not open to those who don’t have a faith. Since 65% of 12–19 year-olds aren’t religious, this policy effectively excludes a majority of young people.
On 24 January, Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society and Hanne Stinson of the British Humanist Association met the Scouts’ Chief Executive, Derek Twine, together with Scout Company Executive David Shelmerdine and the Chairman of Trustees Mike Goodison. Keith and Hanne sought to persuade the Scouts to change its discriminatory policy and make the religious part of its promise optional. So far, the Scouts have refused to consider this.
An extraordinary — one might almost say unbelievable — industrial tribunal case in Manchester in March gave a rare insight into how attempts to accommodate “multicultural” religious needs at work actually appear only to apply to Muslims. It developed around a spat between Muslim employees at the Royal Mail and a member of the Odinist Fellowship (a group that apparently worships the old Nordic gods).