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All articles in category News

September 2018
News > Education

Education – Sex education opt-out

Parents are set to lose the right to withdraw their children from sex education when their child reaches the age of 15, and primary aged children should not be withdrawn from new ‘relationships’ classes. The alarming new proposals were announced by Education Secretary Damian Hinds. He said parents should lose their right to withdraw their child in the three terms leading up to the child’s 16th birthday. Sex education will not be made compulsory in primary schools, but parents will have no opt-out from new ‘relationships education’, he said. The Department for Education said the subjects will come into force from September 2020, but for...

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September 2018
News > Society

Religious liberty – Bercow: LGBT rights ‘more important’

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has said LGBT rights are more important than religious freedoms. Mr Bercow was speaking at an event hosted at Speakers House in support of the gay website, PinkNews. Mr Bercow said, ‘I respect people’s rights to adhere to and profess their faith, but for me, where there is a clash between somebody’s adherence to faith on the one hand and the acknowledgement of and demonstration of respect for human rights, the latter has to trump the former.’ However, Mr Bercow, who as Speaker of the Commons is supposed to maintain political neutrality, failed to acknowledge that...

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September 2018
News > Society

Society – Disastrous prostitution zone

A legalised prostitution zone in Leeds has been a ‘disaster from day one’, a senior police officer has said. The zone was set up in an attempt to reduce crime related to the sex industry, but it seems the very opposite has happened. One senior police officer said, ‘Other criminals came into the area quick as a flash. Drug dealers, pimps, even traffickers that brought the women from Romania. Loads of illegal immigrants, and complaint after complaint from people that worked and lived nearby.’ He added, ‘It was obvious we couldn’t contain it in the zone. The women were given carte blanche and it was like...

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September 2018
News > Ethics

Ethics – ‘Brain damage’ safeguard removed

The UK Supreme Court has removed an important safeguard from ‘brain damaged’ patients, making it easier to end their lives early. Until now, doctors and families had to go to court to take the ultimate step of withdrawing food and fluids from such patients. But the Supreme Court has decided that doctors can go ahead without going to court, as long as doctors and families both agree. The decision has been met with criticism. Campaign Director of Care Not Killing, Dr Peter Saunders, commented: ‘This is concerning and disappointing news, because it removes an important safeguard from those without a voice. ‘Once we accept that...

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September 2018
News > Ethics

Ethics – Pro-life group evicted

A pro-life group was thrown out of a Lambeth Council outdoor event because it went against the local authority’s ‘values’. The Life charity, which helps vulnerable women and the unborn, said the council’s actions were a breach of freedom of speech and did a disservice to ‘women in crisis who may need our help’. Life had applied in January to be part of the event, explaining what it did and including pictures of previous exhibits. It also provided a link to its website and said it was a pro-life charity. The application was approved in April but a volunteer arrived on the second day of...

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September 2018
News > Ethics

Ethics – Gov’t cannot silence faith schools

The UK government’s attempt to silence church schools on gay marriage is ‘legally flawed’, a human rights expert has warned. According to Professor Christopher McCrudden, a barrister at Blackstone Chambers, moves by the Department for Education (DfE) to penalise schools that refuse to recognise same-sex marriages would be ‘not consistent’ with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In a detailed legal opinion, commissioned by The Christian Institute, Mr McCrudden said, ‘The proposed DfE’s guidance is not consistent in several respects with the Department’s legal obligations under either the ECHR or the public sector equality duty. The application of common law and statutory constraints leads...

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September 2018
News > Family

Family – Welsh smacking ban ‘a priority’

The Welsh First Minister says banning smacking in Wales will be one of his top priorities during his final months in office. Carwyn Jones will step down as First Minister in December, but in his annual statement he outlined plans for new laws he wants the Welsh Assembly to pass in the next year. The campaign group Be Reasonable is opposing the plans. Spokeswoman Lowri Turner called the Welsh Government’s latest push ‘tragic’. She said, ‘The tragedy is that in the name of protecting children the Welsh Government is actually going to put children in more danger.  Social workers who should be looking for at...

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September 2018
News > Family

Family – Overriding parental consent

Local authorities in Scotland have been caught out telling teachers to override parental consent by default. An instructional video — which was swiftly been removed after it came to light — told teachers to act this way because ‘otherwise you’ll have to show you obtained parent and child consent’. Alison Preuss, of the Scottish Home Education Forum, said she was left ‘utterly dumbfounded’ by the video. She said: ‘I could not believe what I was seeing. You cannot do that and be compliant with data protection and human rights laws.’ The Scottish government has been trying to introduce a ‘named person’ scheme, where every child...

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September 2018
News > Family

Family – Boost for anti-Named Person campaign

The President of the UK Supreme Court has said The Christian Institute’s landmark victory against the Scottish Government’s Named Person scheme is a ‘most important’ case. Speaking earlier this year about devolution, Baroness Hale considered the potential for devolved assemblies to pass laws outside their powers. In addressing that issue she highlighted the 2017 Scotch Whisky Association case, where legislation providing for minimum unit pricing of off-sales of alcohol was said to be inconsistent with EU law. Scottish ministers brought in the minimum pricing; the Scottish Whisky Association brought the case against this. However, last November, the Supreme Court decided that the 2012 Act does...

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September 2018
News > International

International: Greece – Fire victims receive help

Greek people left homeless and injured after wildfires ravaged suburbs around Athens have received help and counselling from UK-based rapid response Team chaplains, from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. In July, the volunteers were deployed to the resort town of Mati to share hope in crisis alongside the local church community. The wildfires, the worst to hit the region since 2007, have devastated entire villages close to Athens. The death toll is now more than 80, with some families found to have been burned alive, as the 70mph+ winds drove the fire rapidly through communities, blocking any escape route. Greek authorities are reporting that at...

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September 2018
News > International

International: Argentina – Abortion on demand rejected

The Argentinian senate has rejected a move to allow abortion on demand. At present, abortion is only allowed in the South American country if the mother’s life or health is at risk, or in the case of rape. The senate called for various national and international agencies to give evidence. ADF International, a Christian legal advocacy group, was one such group. Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International, welcomed the Senate’s vote. He said, ‘There is no “right to abortion” under international law. We applaud Argentina’s Senate for upholding the fundamental rights to life and conscience. The people of Argentina may now continue to live...

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September 2018
News > International

International: Egypt – Coptic Christians under threat

A Muslim mob attacked Christian homes after an Egyptian Christian was accused of insulting Islam on social media. According to reports from Barnabas Fund, the mob attacked the homes of Christians in the Egyptian village of Menbal in the Minya governorate in July, after a member of the Christian community was accused of insulting Islam on social media. Police subsequently arrested 90 Muslims and charged them with mob violence, inciting sedition and attacking police. Abdu Adel Ayad, a 40-year-old Christian from the village, was detained by police on 6 July. He was accused of ‘disdaining Islam’ by posting a link on Facebook comparing Islam to...

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