Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Sharia Law Guidelines Withdrawn

The Law Society has withdrawn controversial guidelines for solicitors on how to compile “Sharia compliant” wills. This has followed serious complaints that such guidelines penalise widows and non believers.

See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/11250643/Sharia-law-guidelines-abandoned-as-Law-Society-apologises.html

'Sleepwalking to losing religious freedoms'?

The chief executive of CARE has warned that Britain is in danger of "sleepwalking into losing religious freedoms". In her recent speech she said:

"A philosophy of human rights is emerging without the need for a religious, let alone Christian foundation", adding: "What is clear is that a hierarchy of rights is emerging where religious freedom is trumped again and again."

See http://www.christiantoday.com/article/britain.sleepwalking.into.losing.religious.freedoms.says.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Baroness Hale: Reasonable Accomodation

The Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Lady Brenda Marjorie Hale, Baroness of Richmond, has called on UK courts to show respect and provide more legal accommodation for the beliefs of Christians.

Supreme Court judge calls for 'reasonable accommodation' of Christian beliefs


Also article by John Bingham in the Telegraph:

Christian beliefs should be 'accommodated' under law – top judge


Christians in Laos

Interesting piece from "Christian Today" on religious persecution:

Christian converts in Laos told to leave faith or face expulsion

See http://www.christiantoday.com/article/christian.converts.in.laos.told.to.leave.faith.or.face.expulsion/36323.htm

The Economist on Freedom


Monday, 24 February 2014

Scientology Wedding

The question of whether Scientology is a 'religion like any other' is being discussed in the news as a result of the first Scientology wedding in the UK.

See http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/debate/debate-as-its-first-official-wedding-takes-place-is-scientology-a-religion-like-any-other-9147703.html

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Atheism as a basis for asylum

An Afghan has today been granted asylum in the UK on the basis of his atheist convictions. It is actually a little more complicated than this - he has been granted asylum because- as an apostate - his life would be in danger should he return to Afghanistan.

For the story see:


Monday, 18 November 2013

New Proposal: Charter of Quebec Values

"Overt and Conspicuous: Religion and the Charter of Québec Values"

Parti Québécois presented a new bill, Bill 60, which seeks to enact the “Charter of Québec Values”. The proposed charter aims to prohibit the wearing of “overt and conspicuous” religious symbols by government officials and public servants.

See full story at: http://criticalreligion.org/2013/11/18/overt-and-conspicuous-religion-and-the-charter-of-quebec-values/

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Happy UN Day Everyone!


Celebrated on 24 October each year, UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Religious v Secular Oaths in Court

Under the proposals all holy books of all religions would have been removed and people would instead take an affirmation promising “sincerely” to tell the truth.

On the National Secular Society website, it was reported earlier this month that 'Judges call for one secular oath for all'. See http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2013/10/judges-call-for-one-secular-oath-for-all#.UlmnVTpNrnQ.twitter

The article noted the following:

Magistrates (more acurately, the Magistrates' Assocation) are considering proposals (at the October AGM) to replace religious oaths and affirmations with a single oath for all defendants and witnesses. The motion was put forward by Iam Abrahams, a Magistrate from the Associations' Bristial and North Avon bench.

All those giving evidence in court would make a secular pledge which it is thought would make it fairer and more relevant for people to help them understand the importance of what they are saying.
Religious leaders, and supporters of the religious oath, have criticised the plans as an example of further destroying the history of Christianity in Britain, pointing out that people already have a chance to choose to take a non religious oath, the affirmation. (see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10358696/Bible-oath-could-be-scrapped-from-courts.html)

However, NSS welcomed the move: 

"Stephen Evans, NSS campaigns manager, said: "Multiple religious and non-religious oaths unnecessarily make an issue out of a witness's religiosity in the courtroom. A single oath for all would protect witness of all religions and beliefs, including non-believers, from the potential religious prejudices of jurors. All witnesses should be on an equal footing, with cases decided on the evidence heard rather than the prejudices of those hearing it.

"Britain is not the Christian country it perhaps once was, so it is right that our institutions change to reflect this. Justice being done is the most important consideration, and this is a case where I'm sure most people of faith would be happy to swear the same oath as others, rather than insist that the legal system accommodate their religious preferences."

Nevetheless, according to the Telegraph today the proposals have been rejected; 'Magistrates throw out plan to ditch Bible oath'. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10390829/Magistrates-throw-out-plan-to-ditch-Bible-oath.html

So, swearing on the Bible will continue to be a central part of giving evidence in court. The oath will not be 'modernised' as had been proposed.

Will this be the end of the matter? I'm no so sure...