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Uk News

News in Brief

  • Pro-life sentencing

    Christian Concern

    Bernadette Smyth, who leads the pro-life group Precious Life, was convicted in December of harassing Ms Dawn Purvis, the manager of a Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast.

    She has been ordered to complete 100 hours community service, play £2000 of compensation to Purvis and not to go nearer than 20 yards of the abortion clinic for the next five years.

  • Polygamy problem

    The Christian Institute

    Large numbers of Muslim women are in polygamous relationships that deny them basic legal rights, according to a report of 12 December.

    The study of 50 women, by a Muslim women’s rights group, showed that many are being trapped in religiously sanctioned ‘marriages’ and are often unaware that these unions are not recognised by British law. Only one in ten of the marriages described were legal under UK law.

  • News from 1984

    The Christian Institute

    In mid-December, the Greater Manchester police chief constable warned that the UK is in danger of becoming a ‘police state’.

    Sir Peter Fahy’s warning came after the Home Secretary announced proposals for Extremist Disruption Orders, which both Christians and secularists have warned could damage free speech. He said that defining the line between free speech and extremism should be the job of wider society and the state should not risk turning the police into the ‘thought police’.

  • Living and dying

    The Right to Life Charitable Trust

    The Assembly of Wales in Cardiff debated and rejected a motion in mid-December calling for the assembly to support the principles of Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, which is being debated in the House of Lords.

    Twelve assembly members voted to support the motion and 21 voted against with 20 abstentions. The Bill would affect the law in both England and Wales.

  • CofE and suicide

    Bible Society

    In February, the Church of England’s General Synod will meet to hear calls for canon law to be changed, so that clergy who use the Church’s rites to bury those who have committed suicide are no longer in breach of the law.

    Under current Church law, clergy are supposed to use a modified funeral service. The vast majority of the Synod is expected to support the proposed reforms.

  • Climbdown on schools?

    Ruth Woodcraft

    It was reported in late December that the government has made a ‘climbdown’ in response to concerns around the independent school standards of September 2014 which resulted in Ofsted downgrading faith schools, or threatening them with potential closure.

    However, no amendments have been made to the regulations, but non-statutory guidance was produced that clarifies that it is ‘not necessary for schools or individuals to “promote” teachings, beliefs or opinions that conflict with their own, but nor is it acceptable for schools to promote discrimination against people or groups on the basis of their belief, opinion or background’.

  • Refusal to renew

    Core Issues Trust

    The Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC) has refused to renew the organisational membership of Core Issues Trust (CIT) as of 31 December 2014.

    In a letter to CIT the ACC Executive said ‘your response to our request for compliance is not acceptable as it adds too many caveats’. CIT director, Mike Davidson, said: ‘The Trust is unable to comply with the ACC's demand that no attempt should be made to reduce, transform or change homosexual feelings using counselling. We have therefore been expelled – ACC no longer subscribes to orthodoxy in this regard.’