Making the case for the separation of religion and the state in The Economist (1/11/07):
A RELIGIOUS fanatic feels persecuted, goes overseas to fight for his God and then returns home to attempt a bloody act of terrorism. Next week as Britons celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes, a Catholic jihadist, under the Houses of Parliament in 1605, they might reflect how dismally modern the Gunpowder Plot and Europe’s wars of religion now seem.
Dr Jacqueline Watson of the School of Education at the University of East Anglia researched the situation regarding Humanism in RE, including in Suffolk. You can read the results here (PDF). This is from the report on the BHA website:
New research published today (11/11/07) has suggested that Government policy on including ‘secular worldviews such as Humanism’ in school RE is not being effectively implemented. The British Humanist Association, which commissioned the research, has expressed its disappointment with the findings, and called for Government action and legislative change to address this failure.
In case you thought we were fixated on religion, this post was going to be about ethical issues unrelated to religion, but there’s one story about bishops that I couldn’t resist, from New Humanist magazine. Stephen Bates used to be the Guardian’s religious affairs correspondent, but now he’s had enough.
Now I am moving on. It was time to go. What faith I had, I’ve lost, I am afraid – I’ve seen too much, too close. A young Methodist press officer once asked me earnestly whether I saw it as my job to spread the Good News of Jesus. No, I said, that’s the last thing I am here to do.
Once upon a time there was a very wise Old Man with a huge white Beard who lived in the clouds and was quite bored, so he decided to create a magical kingdom with all sorts of funny creatures and plants and place them in his new kingdom and let all the funny things learn good and bad things and he did all this in six days… give or take.
Is religion bad for women? That’s the question being asked by a conference held in Newcastle this week [8 November]. The main speaker is Professor Daphne Hampson, author of ‘Theology and Feminism’ who argues that ‘religions have proved the ultimate weapon in keeping woman in her “place”’. Professor Hampson joins Jenni along with Dr Tina Beattie, Reader in Christian Studies at Roehampton University and Farah Khan, journalist and practicing Muslim, to ask if women can find a place for religion in their lives.
Prayer is a vital part of life for nearly half of UK adults, with 20 million saying they pray and one in three adults believing that God is watching over them, according to a report published today (November 11th) by Christian relief and development agency Tearfund.
Available now from the NSS shop, “Did Christians steal Christmas?”. A stocking filler for only £2.99. Give it to a skeptical friend or relative.
Where did Christmas come from? Is it rooted in prophecy or paganism? And why did it take centuries for most Christians to agree on a date for Jesus’s birth?
Further to the story about Dr Evan Harris MP’s stance on abortion, a letter in today’s Observer signed by Harris and others challenges Archbishop Williams’ position: