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A Christian Prime Minister and a Christian country? A roundup – further updated (newest at top)

April 22nd, 2014 Posted in Christianity |

Archbishop: Britain not a ‘Christian country’ – if judging by numbers in the pews by John Bingham, Telegraph

Atheists should show 'liberal tolerance' to Britain's status as a Christian country by John Bingham and Steven Swinford, Telegraph

A Christian Country? by Justin Welby

It is wrong for David Cameron to single out Christians for special praise by Peter Tatchell, Pink News

The Christian humanism of the Established Church attracts support from many outside it – Letter to Telegraph

Prime Minister’s simplistic Christian view – Letter to Belfast Telegraph

UK non-Christian claims 'absurd', senior Tories say

Andrew Marsh responds to David Cameron's "Christian nation" comments – ITV News

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The Ministry Continues: A Position Statement from the Trustees of Anglican Mainstream

April 14th, 2014 Posted in News |

1. The coming into effect of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 may have changed English law but it has not changed Anglican Mainstream’s commitment to promote, teach and maintain the commonly agreed Scriptural truths of the Christian faith. For Anglicans these truths are expressed by the historic Creeds, the 39 Articles, and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. They provide the source of true unity and fellowship, and the basis of our mission and service to a needy world. Those truths remain and, as the Church of England’s house of bishops’ statement has explicitly confirmed, the church’s doctrine of marriage remains unchanged.

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RCOG faculty bars prolife doctors from receiving its degrees and diplomas

April 24th, 2014 Posted in Medical Ethics, pro-life/abortion |

By Peter Saunders, CMF

Doctors and nurses who have a moral objection to prescribing ‘contraceptives’ which act by killing human embryos are to be barred from receiving diplomas in sexual and reproductive health even if they undertake the necessary training according to new guidelines.
Under new rules issued by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH) earlier this year these doctors and nurses are also to be barred from membership of the faculty and from specialty training.
The FSRH is a faculty of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists established on the 26th March 1993 as the Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. In 2007 it changed its name to the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare.
Whilst many contraceptives act by preventing the union of sperm and egg, some, including most IUCDs (intrauterine contraceptive devices) and the morning-after pill EllaOne (ulipristal acetate), also act by preventing the implantation of an early embryo. In other words they are embryocidal or abortifacient, rather than truly contra-ceptive.
Many doctors, of all faiths and none, have a moral objection to destroying human life and wish therefore to avoid using drugs or methods which act after fertilisation.
In fact this position was once held by the British Medical Association (BMA) when it adopted the Declaration of Geneva in 1948. This states, ‘I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception even against threat’.
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Mohammed Blair and the promulgation of orthodox Islam

April 24th, 2014 Posted in Islam, Roman Catholicism |

From Cranmer

Tony Blair runs a faith foundation, and he has a problem. As an abortion-supporting, embryo-destroying, contraception-using, gay-marriage-propagating, war-mongering, communion-abusing, Magisterium-defying convert to Roman Catholicism, he can't even persuade many of his co-religionists that he knows much at all about his own faith, let alone apprehend the theology of Islam. Yet in a keynote speech yesterday at Bloomberg HQ – Why the Middle East Matters – while he explained 'Islamism' via a tour of the 'Islamic world', through Pakistan and Afghanistan, wading through Iraq to Libya to Egypt to Yemen to Lebanon and to Syria, he decreed: [...]

[...]  So, it is not Islam which has given rise to the malignant Sunni-Salafi-Wahhabi strain of theology, but a "perversion" of the religion which "distorts and warps" and which "many Muslims abhor". In this, he agrees with the Prince of Wales, though Faith Minister Baroness Warsi maintains that these extremists are not Muslims at all; not even of the perverted, distorted or warped kind.

What is curious about Tony Blair's promulgation of Islamic theology is his understanding of religious orthodoxy and "proper teaching". The religion that is acceptable is that which coheres with the modern world – politically, socially and economically. The religion that is unacceptable is that which is "of a fixed polity, governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable but which are, of their essence, unchangeable".

This might explain his particular approach to Roman Catholicism: it is not, for him, Semper Eadem – a constant, catechised Catholic faith composed of infallible doctrines, immutable truths founded upon an unchanging gospel: it is a religion of "creativity" moulded through human "connectivity" and subject to the whims of democracy. For him, an "exclusivist" religion which is "governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable" is a perverted ideology. Ergo, traditionalist Roman Catholicism is a "perversion" of the faith; the orthodox Christianity which preaches "exclusivity" is one which "distorts and warps".

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National Vigil For Life in Dublin on 3rd May

April 24th, 2014 Posted in pro-life/abortion |

The National Vigil For Life 2014 will take place in Merrion Square, Dublin 2 on 3rd May 2014 from 3-4pm

The Fine Gael Party promised voters they would not legalise abortion. They broke that promise.

The pro-life movement gave a commitment that it would not sit back and accept this new law. The National Vigil for Life on 3rd May is a clear sign that we will not be breaking our promise.

On 3rd May, we will have an opportunity to show that, far from losing heart, we are more committed than ever. This is, truly, a moment in which we have to persevere for what is right. In introducing abortion the Government knew exactly what it was doing and that there was no medical or legal necessity for it.

To volunteer your time and help or for more information, email [email protected]

To organise a bus or to find buses in your area, phone: Maria 086 406 9660, Denise 087 266 8702 or Katie 085 871 1100

To order leaflets to share among your family and friends click here

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7 common careers Christians may no longer hold in America

April 24th, 2014 Posted in Gay Activism, Religious Liberty |

From AFA

Many Christians choose self-employed careers because they want to be able to run their business according to the dictates of their faith and conscience.

That list is quickly shrinking as homosexuals pro-actively seek opportunities to wreck the personal business and career of any Christian who declines to support the gay lifestyle.
Don't be fooled. This is a focused effort to ostracize and humiliate faith-based businesses and their owners. Here are a few recent examples:
  • Photography – A Christian photographer in New Mexico was fined $6700 for politely declining to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony. The Supreme Court allowed this fine to stand.
  • Baker – A Christian baker in Oregon is facing both civil and criminal penalties, including jail time, for politely declining to bake a cake for a gay wedding ceremony. Her business has closed.
  • Florist – Baronelle Stutzman, a Christian florist in Washington, is being sued by the state attorney general for politely declining to prepare an arrangement for a gay wedding ceremony.
  • Broadcasting – Craig James was fired by Fox Sports Southwest after only one day on the job for expressing his support for natural marriage while he was a candidate for the United States Senate.
  • Counseling – Jennifer Keeton was dismissed from the counseling program at Augusta State University for her religious reservations about the homosexual lifestyle.
  • Innkeeping – The Wildflower Inn in Vermont was fined $30,000 and forced to shut down its wedding reception business after politely declining to host a lesbian ceremony.
  • Teaching – Ms. Gillian John-Charles was kicked out of a doctoral program in education at Roosevelt University for expressing in class her belief that homosexuals aren't born gay.

What you can do about it…

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We might have to change the English flag, but Alban is a better choice for patron saint than George

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in News |

By Peter Saunders, CMF

St George's Day, 23 April, may go almost unnoticed in England, but the dragon slayer is also the patron saint of many other countries, cities and regions – where traditions range from street parties and carnivals to the simple act of handing out red roses.

An interesting article on the BBC website today reminds us that Palestinians have particular reason to display the symbol and revere the early Christian martyr. For them he is a local hero who opposed the persecution of his fellow Christians in the Holy Land.

St George was a Roman soldier during the Third Century AD, when the Emperor Diocletian was in power.

It is said that he once lived in al-Khadr near Bethlehem, on land owned by his mother's family.

The saint is remembered for giving away his possessions and remaining true to his religion when he was imprisoned and tortured before he was finally executed.
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Report on Christian nursery nurse sacked for saying marriage is between a man and a woman

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Religious Liberty |

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Church risks being seen as ‘homophobic’ if it doesn’t evolve, says Archbishop

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Church In Wales, Gay Marriage |

By Sion Morgan, Walesonline

The church needs to “evolve and change as it responds to the world around it” or risk being seen as “homophobic”, the Archbishop of Wales has warned.

Dr Barry Morgan also said the Bible should not be used to reinforce viewpoints on gay marriage.

Delivering his presidential address to members of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales at a two-day conference in Llandudno, Dr Morgan said gay marriage should be accepted in the same way that divorce and re-marriage has been and added that quoting the Bible is not the way to settle debate on such emotive issues.

Dr Morgan said: “We often see what we want to see.

“We often use scripture to reinforce viewpoints that we have already arrived at in other ways and for other reasons.

“Some people have changed their minds for example on women’s ministry and same-sex relationships when they have experienced the ministry of a woman priest in the one case, or discovered their own son or daughter to be gay in the other.

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Older Christians benefit from listening to religious music

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Church life |

From Medical News Today

A new article published online in The Gerontologist reports that among older Christians, listening to religious music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and increases in life satisfaction, self-esteem, and sense of control over their lives. In particular, listening to gospel music is associated with a decrease in anxiety about death and an increase in sense of control.
These associations are similar for blacks and whites, women and men, and individuals of both low- and high-socioeconomic status.
The article, titled "Listening to Religious Music and Mental Health in Later Life," was authored by Matt Bradshaw, PhD, of Baylor University; Christopher G. Ellison, PhD, of the University of Texas-San Antonio; Qijan Fang, MA, of Bowling Green State University; and Collin Mueller, MA, of Duke University.
"Religion is an important socioemotional resource that has been linked with desirable mental health outcomes among older U.S. adults," the authors stated. "This study shows that listening to religious music may promote psychological well-being in later life."
The data for the study come from two waves (taken in 2001 and 2004) of the nationwide Religion, Aging, and Health Survey of older black and white U.S. adults. The population consisted of household residents who were either black or white, non-institutionalized, English speaking, and at least 65 years of age. Responses were only collected from currently practicing Christians, those who identified as Christians in the past but no longer practice any religion, and those not affiliated with any faith at any point in their lifetime. The present analysis is based upon 1,024 individuals who participated in both waves of the survey.
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God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Homosexuality |

A response to Matthew Vines, by Albert Mohler

vangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.

The question is whether evangelicals will remain true to the teachings of Scripture and the unbroken teaching of the Christian church for over two thousand years on the morality of same-sex acts and the institution of marriage.
The world is pressing this question upon us, but so are a number of voices from within the larger evangelical circle — voices that are calling for a radical revision of the church’s understanding of the Bible, sexual morality, and the meaning of marriage. We are living in the midst of a massive revolution in morality, and sexual morality is at the center of this revolution. But the question of same-sex relationships and sexuality is at the very center of the debate over sexual morality, and our answer to this question will both determine or reveal what we understand about everything the Bible reveals and everything the church teaches — even the gospel itself.
Others are watching, and they see the moment of decision at hand. Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann of Stanford University has remarked that “it is clear to an observer like me that evangelical Christianity is at a crossroad.” What is that crossroad? “The question of whether gay Christians should be married within the church.” Journalist Terry Mattingly sees the same issue looming on the evangelical horizon — “There is no way to avoid the showdown that is coming.”
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Secular Group Files Lawsuit in New Jersey Against ‘Under God’ in Pledge

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Atheism |

By Michael Gryboski, Christian Post

A Washington, D.C.-based secular organization has filed a lawsuit against the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The American Humanist Association announced Monday that a New Jersey school district will be the latest entity sued over the two words.
David Niose, attorney for the American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in a statement that he believes the pledge's words are religiously coercive.
"Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God," said Niose.
"Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices."
The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of an anonymous Monmouth County family that claims the words under God are discriminatory against non-theists.
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Pew poll shows most nations around the world find abortion, homosexuality immoral

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Homosexuality, Morality, pro-life/abortion |

By Ben Johnson, LifeSiteNews

Not a single nation in the 40 countries surveyed by Pew Research Center said abortion is morally acceptable.

The majority of the people in dozens of nations across every continent but Antarctica deemed abortion and homosexuality morally unacceptable, according to results from the Pew Research Center’s 2013 Global Attitudes.
An outright majority of citizens in 26 countries found abortion morally objectionable – 13 of them by a three-to-one margin. The nations with the lowest tolerance of abortion were the Philippines, followed by Ghana, Indonesia, Uganda, and El Salvador.
Similarly, majorities in 22 nations opposed homosexuality on moral grounds.
Majorities in only three countries say homosexuality is morally acceptable: the Czech Republic, Spain, and Germany.
“The results of the Pew poll aren’t that surprising,” Adam Cassandra, communications manager of Human Life International, told “HLI’s pro-life missionaries around the world have observed this trend for some time. Developing nations still hold to traditional moral values, while morality in more Westernized nations is declining.”
In the United States 49 percent say abortion is morally unacceptable, while 17 percent say they could see it as an ethical choice. Another 23 percent do not regard abortion as a moral issue at all.
The U.S. ranked 27th globally in its rejection of abortion, behind Brazil, South Africa, and the Palestinian territories, but more likely to disapprove of the procedure than residents of such nations as China, Japan, Australia, Israel, or Great Britain.
In China, where abortion is often compulsory and enforced by the state population police, more Chinese believe abortion is immoral (37 percent) than moral (29 percent) or indifferent (20 percent).
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The GOP’s Marry-Go-Round

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Marriage |

By Tony Perkins, FRC

Whoever declared an end to the marriage debate must not have consulted Republicans. While the media is busy eulogizing one of the hottest issues of the last 15 years, those who vote for GOP candidates are saying, "not so fast!" Turns out, pronouncing marriage dead is convenient — but not credible.
Earlier this spring, FRC and American Values set out to gauge how the Republican base really feels about an issue that, until recently, was non-negotiable in the GOP. With help from Wilson Research Strategies, we asked a couple straightforward questions about the party's core values — and what pollsters found might surprise you. Public opinion on marriage isn't the runaway train that liberals want you to believe it is. A whopping 82% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believe marriage "should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman."
And respondents didn't just agree with that statement — 74% strongly agreed. What's more, they're tired of their elected leaders ignoring the issue — or worse, pushing the party in the opposite direction. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents rejected the idea that "politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples" (with 67% strongly agreeing). That should be a wakeup call to the GOP Establishment, which, for the last few years, has thrown its weight behind some highly controversial candidates under the guise of "building a bigger tent." As far as the base is concerned, that's an incredibly short-sighted strategy that does more to divide the party than unite it. Clearly, the vast majority of the GOP continues to see marriage a non-negotiable plank of the national platform and want to see their elected officials uphold it as the standard to stand for, encourage, and promote in law.
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Attorney General: Rise of fundamentalism is ‘damaging’ Christianity

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Religious Liberty |

By Steven Swinford and John Bingham, Telegraph

The rise of religious fundamentalists with a 'deep intolerance' to other people's views has made Christians reluctant to express their beliefs, Dominic Grieve warns

Christians are increasingly reluctant to express their religious views because they are being “turned off” by the “disturbing” and “very damaging” rise of religious fundamentalism, the Attorney General has said.

Dominic Grieve said that atheists who claim that Britain is no longer a Christian nation are “deluding themselves” and must accept that faith has shaped this country’s laws and ethics.

He said that 1,500 years of Christian values are “not going to disappear overnight” and said that many people remain believers even if they choose not to go to Church.

However, he warned people are being discouraged from openly declaring their beliefs because of the “deep intolerance” of religious extremists of all faiths, including Islam and Christianity.

He told The Telegraph: “I do think that there has been a rise of an assertiveness of religious groups across the spectrum. That is why those with softer religious views find it disturbing and say they don’t want anything to do with it.”

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Faith, not just frescoes, drawing millions to cathedrals, says heritage chief

April 23rd, 2014 Posted in Church of England, Faith |

by John Bingham, Telegraph

Chief executive of English Heritage says attraction of worship as much as historical treasures helping cathedrals draw 12 million visitors a year

The lure of Christian worship as much as the attraction of history and architecture is driving a boom in visits to cathedrals, according to the guardian of England’s national heritage.

Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said it was clear that cathedrals are bucking a national trend towards declining church attendance.
Official figures from the Church of England show that the 42 Anglican cathedrals in England alone attracted around 12 million visitors last year.
One recent study by the think-tank Theos estimated that across the UK at least 11 million Britons – not counting foreign tourists or school parties – visit cathedral at least once a year, more than a quarter of the entire adult population.
While medieval art and architecture are a major draw for visitors, attendance at services in cathedrals has also leapt by more than a third in a decade.
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Interview with Dr Mike Davidson

April 22nd, 2014 Posted in Healing, Homosexuality |

with Peter Levy, BBC Radio Humberside

Listen here   (8.40 minutes in)

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Prayer Alert: Critical meeting over banning of Christian counsellors

April 22nd, 2014 Posted in Healing, Homosexuality |

From Christian Concern

Please pray for Dr Mike Davidson, Director of Core Issues Trust (CIT), who is attending a critical meeting of the professional body for Christian counsellors, to appeal against its decision to ban CIT and individual therapists from offering help to men and women with unwanted same-sex attraction.

At 2pm tomorrow in Grantham (Wednesday 23 April) Dr Davidson will address a special meeting of the Executive of the Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC) which has banned its members from offering therapeutic support to people who want to reduce or possibly eliminate same-sex feelings.

The ACC has refused to renew CIT’s membership after Dr Davidson raised concerns about a statement it issued in January, forbidding its members from offering help to people who want to change their sexual orientation and condemning what it calls ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy.

Dr Davidson will tell the Chairman of the ACC, Rev. Tony Ruddle, and his Executive body, that: “There are no known registered and practising Reparative Therapists in the UK, and ‘conversion’ therapy is a pejorative term which tends to discredit serious and scientifically supported Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE). Core Issues Trust practices neither of these therapies, but offers support to individuals voluntarily seeking to alter unwanted same-sex feelings.”

Dr Davidson will tell tomorrow’s Executive body that under the Equalities Act (2010) discrimination against a person because of their past actual or perceived sexual orientation, or because their sexual orientation has changed, is unlawful. He will say the ACC appears to misunderstand the provisions of the act as only protecting Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transexual people (LGBT). He will ask the Executive to call a special members’ meeting at which he can put his case.

“The ACC should be supporting professional Christian therapists who want to help individuals who have voluntarily sought to change their sexual identity, practices or feelings. It should not be banning professional counsellors or discriminating against a vulnerable minority who seek change therapy,” says Dr Davidson.

Andrea Williams of Christian Concern says:

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A Christian country – but what kind of Christianity? A response to David Cameron and Justin Welby

April 22nd, 2014 Posted in Archbishop Of Canterbury, Christianity, Politics |

By Andrew Symes

Senior Conservative politicians have been declaring their support for the Christian faith during the Easter season. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and then more recently David Cameron himself have stated that Britain is “a Christian country”. This has been greeted with predictable fury by secularists who think that this is somehow privileging Christians over those of other faiths and none, and will fuel “sectarianism”. A Jewish commentator in a radio interview dismissed this, pointed out the irony of the secularists’ complaint coming during the official public holiday celebrating Easter, and said he was very comfortable about being in a Christian country. Secularism, far from being neutral about religion as they claim, is much more hostile to all faith than Christianity is to other belief systems.

The majority of ordinary people identify with the Christian religion even if only a small minority are regular churchgoers. Campaigning secularists come disproportionately from well educated and affluent sectors of society; they are not representative but highly influential. Because of their success in this life and their dismissal of the idea of the afterlife, they will usually tend towards Darwinian and even Nietzschian views about weakness and suffering, and are often strong proponents of liberalisation of abortion, euthanasia, sexual ethics, and new genetic and reproductive technologies. They believe they are not accountable to any God, and history has shown how this can lead to dangerous and tragic arrogance when applied to government policy. While Mr Cameron did not take on the secularists about these issues, it must be seen as a good thing that he has maintained the validity of the Judaeo-Christian worldview as the basis for many of the good things in our culture. Hopefully the Bishops will take the opportunity to follow up, and explain the folly and sinister consequences of secularism, as well as the meaning of God and the relevance of proper Christian faith.

However, there were problems with Mr Cameron’s message. Firstly, its timing, just after fierce criticisms from church leaders about the effects of reformed welfare policies, and just weeks before elections where Conservatives are tipped to lose many European seats because of defections to UKIP over gay marriage, smacked of political opportunism. Secondly, his urging of Christians to be more up-front about their faith rings hollow for those who have to silence their views for fear of dismissal, as another recent case reminds us.

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David Cameron is right to refer to Britain as a Christian country

April 22nd, 2014 Posted in Christianity |

By Michael Nazir Ali, letter to The Telegraph

SIR – It is understandable that the architects of secularism should be concerned about the Prime Minister’s claim that Britain is a Christian country. The reappearance of Christianity in public life would be very inconvenient for them.

They admit that Britain is constitutionally Christian. This is not, however, in a narrow sense, as they claim. The Coronation service and the Coronation oath are shot through with Christian beliefs and values, without which they would make no sense. So is that other great pillar of our liberties: the Magna Carta.
Parliament convenes with prayer, and bishops of the Church of England sit in the House of Lords. National and civic occasions are marked by Christian ceremonies, and the calendar remains unabashedly Christian.
The Prime Minister is right to say that we need a moral and spiritual framework for our national life. He is also right to say that Christianity provides a surer basis for accommodating people of other faiths than secularism. This is why people of other faiths prefer Britain being a Christian rather than a secular country.
None of this is to suggest any kind of theocracy. Any contribution that Christianity makes to public life must be on the basis of the quality of its arguments, and must always seek to persuade, rather than to coerce.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
London W1
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Disparate bedfellows: same-sex marriage and human rights

April 22nd, 2014 Posted in Gay Marriage, Human Rights |

Barend Vlaardingerbroek, MercatorNet

The claim that same-sex marriage is a basic human right finds no support in international human rights declarations.

The acceptance that SSM is a basic human right has spread like wildfire across the western world. – Irish Examiner, 6 February 2014
So it would appear. The argument with which we are all familiar is that marriage is a universal human right, and it is accordingly arbitrary and discriminatory to disallow two people of the same sex to claim the right to marry. But does a right to same-sex marriage (SSM) stem from international human rights (HR) declarations?
The right to marry as a fundamental human right is enshrined in three of the ‘big four’ HR declarations: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (UDHR), the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights 1950 – ECHR), and the American Convention on Human Rights 1969 (ACHR). (The African Charter on Human and People’s Rights 1981 does not mention the right to marry per se, but does talk about the family unit as we shall see a bit later.) The UDHR is now customary international law while the ECHR has legal teeth as a treaty and has the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) behind it. Let’s take a look at the exact words used:
UDHR: “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and found a family.”
ECHR: “Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.”
ACHR: “The rights of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to raise a family shall be recognized, if they meet the conditions required by domestic laws, insofar as such conditions do not affect the principle of nondiscrimination established in this Convention.” (The Convention lists as grounds for discrimination “race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic status, birth, or any other social condition.” )
Two important observations emerge from these statements.
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