May 21, 2010

Pakistan puts blanket ban on YouTube

by David Masters

The Pakistani government has blocked access to YouTube because of the website’s “growing sacrilegious content”. Pakistani officials said the number of videos on YouTube that are offensive to Muslims has increased in recent months. The decision comes a day after the government blocked access to Facebook because a page on the social networking website invited […]




May 19, 2010

Police chaplaincy appoints humanists

by David Masters

Hertfordshire Police has become the first UK police force to appoint humanists to its chaplaincy team. The Hertfordshire Constabulary appointed two humanist lay advisers to join its 20-strong team of chaplaincy volunteers from a range of belief groups, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Pagan. “As we have sought to expand and provide a more diverse […]




May 18, 2010

Methodist Church launches iPhone app

by Benjamin Graham

The Methodist Church has become the first UK denomination to launch its own iPhone app. The app, named Chapel Studios, is free to download from Apple’s App Store and features daily prayers and Bible study sessions. Users can also access the latest news, podcasts and tweets from the Methodist Church with the app. The Church […]




Methodist Church snubs festival boycott

by David Masters

The Methodist Church has ignored calls from conservative Christians to boycott the Greenbelt Christian festival by announcing a three-year partnership with Greenbelt. Conservative Christian groups, including Anglican Mainstream, have urged a boycott of this year’s Greenbelt festival because gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will be speaking at the event. Commenting on Tatchell’s invitation to be […]




May 17, 2010

Abolish capitalism to end poverty

by David Masters

Christians at Germany’s biggest interchurch event this week discussed how Christians in rich countries should respond to the poor in their midst. Over 120,000 Christians from all denominations attended last week’s Kirchentag festival, which included a panel discussion on the relationship between poverty and capitalism. Dr Nikolaus Schneider, chair of the Council of the Evangelical […]




Italy to ordain first female priest

by Sara Levy

Italy’s first female priest will be ordained later this month in an Anglican church close to the Vatican. Maria Longhitano, 35, is a married teacher from Milan. She will be ordained as Italy’s first woman priest at All Saints Anglican Church in Rome. Longhitano, a member of the breakaway Old Catholic Church, hopes her ordination […]




May 13, 2010

Muhammad cartoonist attacked during university lecture

by Sara Levy

The Swedish cartoonist whose depictions of the Prophet Mohammad caused global controversy was attacked this week during a lecture at Uppsala University. Lars Vilks was head-butted by an audience member as he gave a lecture on artistic freedom. “A man ran up and threw himself over me,” Vilks said. “I was head-butted and my glasses […]




French parliament opposes burka

by Benjamin Graham

The French parliament has adopted a resolution condemning the full Islamic face veil. The non-binding resolution said the burka is “an affront to the nation’s values of dignity and equality”. French lawmakers voted unanimously to adopt the motion, although 30 communist deputies walked out of the vote in protest. The resolution paves the way for […]




May 12, 2010

“Sin within the Church” threatens Catholicism

by Sara Levy

Widespread child abuse by Catholic priests shows that the greatest threat to Catholicism is from “sin within the Church”, Pope Benedict XVI said this week. The Church has a “very deep need” to do penitence for its sins and “accept purification”, he added. In his most comprehensive statement since fresh Catholic child abuse scandals broke […]




May 11, 2010

Iraq inquiry urged to investigate financial costs of war

by David Masters

Peace groups in the UK have written to Sir John Chilcot urging him to investigate the financial cost of the Iraq war as part of the Iraq inquiry. The financial cost of the war “clearly bears on ‘the best interests of the UK’”, which is the central focus of the inquiry, the peace groups said. […]




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