September 30, 2011

Rector bans Goths from posing for photos in graveyard

by Jan Harris

Twice a year Goths flock to the seaside town of Whitby in North Yorkshire, but the rector of St Mary’s Church has banned photography around the graves. It is believed that the rector found dozens of Goths sitting or lying on the graves and was concerned that this was disrespectful to the families of the […]

September 29, 2011

William Hague asks Iran to spare pastor’s life

by Jan Harris

Foreign secretary William Hague has added his voice to calls for Iran to spare the life of Youcef Nadarkhani, who has been sentenced to death for apostasy. Mr Nadarkhani, a member of the Protestant evangelical Church of Iran, was arrested in October 2009 after he defied rules requiring non-Muslim students to read the Quran in […]

September 28, 2011

Court of Protection rejects right-to-die case

by Jan Harris

The Court of Protection has ruled that life-support treatment cannot be withdrawn from a woman in a ‘minimally-conscious’. The 52 year-old woman suffered profound brain damage in early 2003 after contracting viral encephalitis. Her family pleaded for nutrition to be withdrawn because of their conviction that their relative would not want to live a life […]

September 27, 2011

BBC in AD/BC controversy

by Jan Harris

A report in the Mail on Sunday that the BBC has stopped using the terms BC and AD in case they offend non-Christians, has caused an almighty kerfuffle, with Boris Johnson the latest to wade into the fray. The Mail on Sunday reported that the BBC has replaced ‘Anno Domini’ (the year of Our Lord) […]

September 26, 2011

Dead Sea Scrolls now online

by Jan Harris

Parts of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest known biblical texts, have been digitised and made available online, so that anyone in the world can view them. The 1,200 megapixel images show the 2,000-year-old scrolls in minute detail and scrolling over the image of the Great Isaiah Scroll generates an instant translation into English. […]

September 23, 2011

Majority opposed to gay marriage

by Jan Harris

Following last week’s revelation that the government plans to make the marriage of same-sex couples legal by 2015, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than half of Britons believe this should not be allowed. The figures also show that two thirds of Britons are opposed to the adoption of children […]

September 22, 2011

Pope Benedict visits his homeland

by Jan Harris

Pope Benedict XVI today, who was born in Bavaria, today began a four day visit to his home country, with the aim of strengthening good relations between Germany and the Holy See. At the welcoming ceremony, which was held at Bellevue Castle in Berlin, the Pope said: “I have not come here primarily to pursue […]

September 21, 2011

Jewish news network launches today

by Jan Harris

A brand new 24-hour news network, Jewish News 1, is being launched in Israel today by Mediaset. The satellite channel will broadcast round-the-clock news from a Jewish perspective to Europe, North America and the Middle East, from studios in Tel Aviv, Brussels and Kyiv. Initially broadcasts will be in English but there are plans to […]

September 20, 2011

Australian play offends Hindus

by Jan Harris

A play featuring the Hindu god Ganesh has already caused offence to followers of Hinduism, even though it has not yet been staged. ‘Ganesh Versus the Third Reich’ will premiere at the Melbourne Festival on 29 September. Ganesh, who is revered as the remover of obstacles, is traditionally represented with the head of an elephant […]

September 19, 2011

Atheism’s ‘cool’ image hampering message of Christianity

by Jan Harris

Speaking “In Conversation” to comedian Frank Skinner at Canterbury Cathedral on Friday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said that a perception of atheism as ‘cool’ was hindering the church’s efforts to convey the message of Christianity. Dr Rowan Williams laid some of the blame for this on the popularity of books by atheist […]

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