Posted by paulabowles

NEWS: Faith and Education

A recent article by Andrew Penman in The Independent highlights some of the issues faced by parents when choosing a school for their children. Since writing his book School Daze: Searching for Decent State Education Penman claims he has suffered abuse and vilification. The primary focus for this opprobrium appears to be focused upon the … Continue reading

NEWS: Recognition for Britain’s “Oldest” Religion

This week it has been announced that ‘[d]ruidry is to become the first pagan practice to be given official recognition as a religion’ in Britain. Recognition by the Charity Commission relates in the main to financial regulations, and indeed this rationale lay behind the Druid Network’s application. However, an additional benefit of this acknowledgement means … Continue reading

NEWS: Preparations for the Pope’s Visit to the UK

Ahead of this week’s long awaited visit by Pope Benedict XVI the BBC has published his proposed itinerary. The first papal visit to the UK in 28 years includes a combination of private and public events focused around London, Birmingham and Edinburgh. Despite the ongoing controversy over child abuse allegations against members of the Roman … Continue reading

NEWS: Pakistan to Monitor Websites for ‘Blasphemy’

The BBC has recently reported Pakistan’s plans to monitor ‘seven major websites’ for material deemed offensive to Muslims. These include perennial favourites: Amazon, Hotmail, YouTube and Google, along with seventeen other less well known websites. Given the two week ban imposed by Pakistan in May, it is perhaps surprising that the popular social networking site … Continue reading

NEWS: Religious and Racial Hatred on the Web

Two defendants are currently standing trial at Liverpool Crown Court charged with ‘urging people to kill Jewish people’ via posting on a website. Both Michael Heaton and Trevor Hannington are alleged to be members of the Aryan Strike Force [ASF], and furthermore, having posted racist and anti-Semitic comments designed to incite others to murder. The … Continue reading

NEWS: Faith and Football

The Right Reverend Nick Baines and the Reverend Peter Moger have joined forces to create three prayers in advance of the World Cup, due to take place in South Africa this June. Working from Church House, Westminster, as part of the “rapid response prayer unit”, three prayers have been created to cater for all. Entitled … Continue reading

NEWS: The Texas Education Massacre?

Chris McGreat of The Guardian has recently reported some worrying news that the Texas school board is believed to changing their state education curriculum to one based on religious indoctrination and revisionist versions of American history. At the centre of this story is Cynthia Dunbar, a ‘conservative Texas lawyer’ who has’ likened sending children to … Continue reading

NEWS: The Burqa and the Economy

Given the polemical nature of much discourse which often surrounds the burqa, Matthew Campbell of the Sunday Times identifies another layer to the debate.  There has been a great deal of discussion across Europe as to whether or not women choose to wear the burqa or alternatively if it is something forced upon them. With … Continue reading

NEWS: ASBO for “Militant Atheist”

At Liverpool Crown Court this week, 59 year old, Harry Taylor has been found guilty of ‘causing religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress.’ In 2008/09 Taylor had gone to the prayer room of Liverpool John Lennon Airport and had left sexually explicit images and cartoons of Christian and Islamic religious leaders. He maintained in … Continue reading

NEWS: A Brief History of Heaven

A recent article by Johann Hari for Slade, looks at the evolution of understanding and thinking about heaven. Despite what may appear to be an increasing onslaught of secularism within Britain, Hari points out that this is not reflected in the United States of America. Instead, he states that:‘ 81 percent [of Americans] say they believe … Continue reading

NEWS: The Cross: “just an item of jewellery”?

A letter to The Sunday Telegraph from six leading bishops and a former Archbishop of Canterbury expresses concern that the ‘religious rights of the Christian community are being treated with disrespect’. This letter makes reference to the case of Shirley Chaplin who is due to take her employer, the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust … Continue reading

NEWS: Religious Freedom = Discrimination?

Helen Carter of The Guardian has reported on a recent case of alleged discrimination against a same-sex couple. Michael Black (aged 62) and John Morgan (aged 56) had booked a double room in a guest house in Berkshire, only to be turned away by the owners on the grounds that they could not be allowed … Continue reading

NEWS: Burqa Comes Under Attack Again

France with its tradition of ensuring the separation of state and religion, has long acknowledged concerns with outward displays of religious symbols, in particular certain items of clothing worn by Muslim women. Given the proximity of French regional elections (21 March 2010) it appears likely that this issue will come to the forefront once again, … Continue reading