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Uk News

News in Brief

  • Christians unacceptable

    The Christian Institute

    ‘It is easier for a politician to admit to smoking weed or watching porn than it is to admit that they might take prayer seriously in their daily life’, said a cabinet minister in mid-December at the Conservative Christian Fellowship lecture.

    Stephen Crabb, the Secretary of State for Wales, said that in our current culture: ‘Faith gets squeezed further into the margins of public life and religion becomes de-legitimised through suspicion, fear or ridicule.’ He criticised the watering down of religious belief which aims to satisfy everyone and pleases no-one.

  • NI: pastor not guilty

    Christian Concern

    On 5 January Pastor James McConnell was found not guilty of making ‘grossly offensive’ remarks about Islam.

    He was charged following a sermon in May 2014 at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in Belfast which was also streamed online. Prompted by the case of Meriam Ibrahim who faced the death penalty for apostasy from Islam he described Islam as heathen, satanic and a doctrine spawned in hell. After the initial hearing in 2015, Pastor McConnell said: ‘Either they try me and put me in prison or I am free to preach the gospel.’ In delivering his verdict, the judge said: ‘The courts need to be very careful not to criticise speech which, however contemptible is no more than offensive.’

  • Ramadan and exams


    It was reported on 7 January that some key GCSE public exams in the summer of 2016 will be moved due to the timing of Ramadan, the Muslim time of fasting.

    The start for 2016 is 6 June, and for 2017 it falls across the entire exam season, as it begins in the middle of May.

  • Enforced equality?

    Christian Concern

    A mother spoke out on Facebook about the imposition of LGBT week at her daughter’s school in early December when pupils were coerced into wearing a rainbow badge.

    Although the school denied it gave detentions to pupils at the Jewish comprehensive school in Redbridge, other equality events took place including the wearing of rainbow clothing.

  • Unlikely alliance

    The Christian Institute

    The ‘writing could be on the wall’ for free speech if Extremism Disruption Orders (EDOs) are introduced, warned The Christian Institute (CI) and the National Secular Society (NSS) in a rare joint statement issued in late December.

    The Director of CI and the Executive Director of NSS highlighted the dangers of introducing overly broad legislation using vague definitions. They warned that the plans could inadvertently turn millions of ordinary citizens into potential ‘extremists’ virtually overnight.

  • More than 100 MPs

    Open Doors

    102 Members of Parliament attended Open Door’s launch of their World Watch List in Parliament on 13 January.

    The launch was hosted by Theresa Villiers MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. She said she had become involved in the issue of the persecution of Christians ‘because my constituents asked me to be’, demonstrating the value of Christians in the UK engaging with their MPs. Last year 74 MPs attended the launch. The World Watch List highlights the 50 countries where Christians face the greatest persecution around the world.

  • Barnabas appointments

    Barnabas Fund

    New appointments at Barnabas Fund, the charity which supports persecuted Christians around the world, were announced in late December.

    Canon Andrew White and Caroline Cox were both appointed as Patrons. The Marquess of Reading was appointed as Chair of Barnabas Fund UK. Hendrik Storm was appointed as Chief Executive Officer and Allan Lee Jr appointed as Chief Operating Officer.