June 30, 2011

Vatican website launched with Pope’s first tweet

by Jan Harris

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI spread the word about the launch of the Vatican’s website with the first ever papal tweet. The new online news service, News.va, brings together information from various Vatican channels of communication, including print, TV, radio and Internet. Pope Benedict announced the service with the following tweet: ‘Dear friends, I just […]




June 29, 2011

Netherlands bans ritual animal slaughter and drug tourism

by Jan Harris

The Netherlands has deeply offended Muslim and Jewish communities by approving a bill banning the slaughter of animals without stunning them first. Both Muslims and Jews require animals’ throats to be cut while they are still conscious, causing them to bleed to death quickly, in order to meet religious dietary rules. If the ban is […]




June 28, 2011

UK Muslims work hard at social integration

by Jan Harris

While it is Islamist extremism that usually makes the news, the chairman of the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission has redressed the balance a little with the news that Muslims are doing their best to integrate. In an interview for the Sunday Telegraph prior to the publication of a report on religious discrimination in […]




June 27, 2011

Church in Wales appoints first female Dean

by Jan Harris

The Church in Wales is appointing the Rev Canon Dr Sue Jones as Dean of Bangor, following the retirement of the Very Rev Alun Hawkins. Dr Jones will be the first female to be appointed by the Church in Wales as a Dean, a role which will make her the chief resident cleric of Bangor […]




June 24, 2011

Equality Commission’s remarks anger Humanists

by Jan Harris

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has criticised the Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Trevor Phillips for forgetting the non-religious in a recent comment over the role of EHRC’s role. The BHA wants Mr Phillips to apologise for remarks made in a recent interview which it considers to be ‘sectarian and divisive’. […]




June 23, 2011

Bishop warns reforms threaten church schools

by Jan Harris

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, has spoken out against the government’s education reforms, claiming that they put the existence of church schools in danger. The Bishop also criticised the omission of Religious Education from the new English Baccalaureate standard. The Bishop’s concerns are expressed in a report on the state of […]




June 22, 2011

Christian nuclear weapons protestors convicted

by Jan Harris

Three anti-nuclear weapons protestors were convicted under the Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) yesterday, for their parts in a protest at the Aldermaston atomic weapons site in September last year. The Christian peace protesters were arrested at a protest organised by the Catholic Worker movement after they broke into the outer fence of AWE […]




June 21, 2011

Islam to remain state religion of Bangladesh

by Jan Harris

Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has failed to fulfil her promise to reinstate the secular status of the state under new amendments to the country’s constitution. Bangladesh was declared a secular republic in 1972 but Islam became the state religion in 1988 following amendments to its constitution by two military dictators. Hasina, who has been […]




June 20, 2011

C of E approves appointment of celibate gay bishops

by Jan Harris

In new legal guidance on the appointment of gay bishops, the Church of England is expected to approve the appointment of homosexual bishops as long as they are celibate. The guidance, called Choosing Bishops, is designed to ensure that the Church is operating policies which conform to 2010 equality legislation which protects against discrimination on […]




June 17, 2011

Support wanes for Irish reunification

by Jan Harris

The number of Catholics who want Northern Ireland to be reunited with the Republic is slipping, according to the latest figures. Four years ago nearly of quarter of people in Northern Ireland favoured reunification, but this figure has fallen to just 16 per cent, according to the 2010 Northern Ireland Life and Times survey. The […]




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