by David Pocklington, Law & Religion in the UK
[...] Future Developments
December 5th, 2013 Posted in Pilling Report |
by David Pocklington, Law & Religion in the UK
[...] Future Developments
December 5th, 2013 Posted in Religious Liberty |
From Christian Concern
The Court of Appeal has today (5th December) upheld protection of Sundays as a day of worship and rest for Christians. In a landmark judgment, the Court of Appeal dismissed earlier findings that Sunday observance was ‘not a core component of the Christian faith’. The ruling comes in the case of children’s worker, Celestina Mba.
The Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal had ruled that since not all Christians observe Sunday, it could not be a ‘core component’ of the Christian faith and was therefore not safeguarded.
Had such logic prevailed, Christians could not have expected the Courts to protect them from pressure to work on Sundays.
However, the Court of Appeal today rejected this reasoning saying that the faith of the individual believer should be recognised and in principle protected. Employment Tribunals must balance the religious beliefs of their employees in relation to business need. Crucially, the Court recognised that Sunday observance is a valid and genuine expression of faith for many Christians and cannot be simply jettisoned. This principle stands in sharp contrast to other cases in recent years.
Ms Mba resigned from her job at a Children’s home operated by Merton Council after being put under pressure to work on Sundays.
An Employment Tribunal had found that the committed Christian ‘genuinely believed’ that she had made it clear at her job interview that she was unable to work on Sundays owing to her faith. An initial agreement respected her Christian faith and she didn’t work on Sundays. But after two years her employer sought to change the arrangement.
Read also: Christian care worker who did not want to work on Sundays loses legal fight by Owen Bowcott, Guardian
December 5th, 2013 Posted in Pilling Report |
Bishop Keith Sinclair’s Dissenting Statement – Some FAQs
A Briefing Paper circulated by the EGGS Committee
This Briefing Paper seeks to offer a short summary of the key points made in the Bishop of Birkenhead’s Dissenting Statement within the Pilling Report. It does so by answering a number of questions that are likely to be raised by his statement and offering the statement’s response to them.
Why was a dissenting statement necessary? Is it not possible for traditionalists to agree with the main Report?
The dissenting statement, issued with “much regret” (para 415), believes the Report does not do justice to the clear witness of Scripture and Christian tradition, will undermine the discipleship and pastoral care of those faithful to that witness and, as Synod warned in 2007, increase division within the Church of England and the Communion. Issuing a dissenting statement also makes clear that the differences in the church are deep and real and encourages the bishops not to ignore these but to “bear the pain of the Church in our own life together, and continue to seek and trust God for his better way” (paras 415-417).
But doesn’t the Report uphold traditional teaching?
Read here (pdf)
Does religion matter in marriage?
The U.S. is a significantly religious country in terms of how many people believe in God and give a religious affiliation – which should mean that marriage is an important part of life to most people, whether they marry once, many times or never. Unfortunately, some marriages do not last happily ever after, as witnessed by increased divorce rates in the past 40-plus years.
Divorce has been around since before the founding of the United States of America. However, divorce laws are dictated by each state, so some states have historically limited the conditions for divorce. It wasn’t until 1970 that the divorce process in the USA arguably got easier, when California started allowing no-fault divorces and other states eventually did the same.
Religion, Marriage, Divorce: The Numbers
While Americans as a wholly mostly consider themselves religious, divorce rates have increased regardless. Here are some stats on marriage, divorce, and religion.
Note: Because of federal laws, the US Census Bureau does not have mandatory questions on religious affiliations. As such, there is no 100% comprehensive report of religious affiliation for US citizens and residents and thus no complete study of the populace on the inter-significance of religion and marriage. However, there have been other surveys with varying sample sizes conducted specifically to determine religious affiliation and any connection to marriage and divorce. The stats listed below are from these various surveys.
by Andrew Goddard, The Living Church
Somewhere around Maaloula, Syria, 12 nuns are cowering in fear of their Islamist kidnappers. They may be being beaten, raped or beheaded one by one. But who cares? We've got Nigella Lawson's coke habit to tickle our itching ears.
Mother Superior Pelagia Sayyaf and 11 of her sisters were abducted at gunpoint from St Tecla Orthodox monastery and taken hostage by an army of "rebels", along with the orphans who were being fostered and cared for. But who cares? We've got the identity of Tom Daley's handsome new boyfriend to fantasise about.
The international community and world governments are indifferent to the plight of the nuns of the St Tecla convent.
And so are most people in Britain.
Churches, monasteries and convents throughout Syria are being razed, desecrated and pillaged. Maaloula is being cleansed of Christians. But who cares?
We've got celebrity drugs and gay sex to gossip about.
Of course, if these were gays and lesbians being kidnapped, beaten and tortured by Islamists, we'd soon have celebrity declamations and government condemnation. There'd be Twitter campaigns and Facebook pages dedicated to their freedom, and the media would full of Stephen Fry demanding justice.
December 5th, 2013 Posted in sex |
by Ian Sample, Guardian
Scientists have drawn on nearly 1,000 brain scans to confirm what many had surely concluded long ago: that stark differences exist in the wiring of male and female brains.
Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women's brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men's brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions.
Ragini Verma, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said the greatest surprise was how much the findings supported old stereotypes, with men's brains apparently wired more for perception and co-ordinated actions, and women's for social skills and memory, making them better equipped for multitasking.
"If you look at functional studies, the left of the brain is more for logical thinking, the right of the brain is for more intuitive thinking. So if there's a task that involves doing both of those things, it would seem that women are hardwired to do those better," Verma said. "Women are better at intuitive thinking. Women are better at remembering things. When you talk, women are more emotionally involved – they will listen more."
She added: "I was surprised that it matched a lot of the stereotypes that we think we have in our heads. If I wanted to go to a chef or a hairstylist, they are mainly men."
December 5th, 2013 Posted in Children/Family |
by Ben Spencer, Mailonline
Growing up without a father could permanently alter the structure of the brain and produce children who are more aggressive and angry, scientists have warned.
Children brought up only by a single mother have a higher risk of developing ‘deviant behaviour’, including drug abuse, new research suggests.
It is also feared that growing up in a fatherless household could have a greater impact on daughters than on sons.
More than 1million children in the UK currently have no contact with their father while they are growing up, a figure that is growing by 20,000 a year.
Dr Gabriella Gobbi, who carried out the research with colleagues at the medical faculty at McGill University in Canada, said: ‘This is the first time research findings have shown that paternal deprivation during development affects the neurobiology of the offspring.’
By Dustin Siggins, LifeSite News
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows approximately 62 percent of gay men who know they have HIV/AIDS continue to engage in sexual relations without using a prophylactic, a behavior that can spread AIDS.
By Kelly Bartlett, MercatorNet
From London Evening Standard
Let the bells ring out! The Londoner is dusting off the old top hat, for wedding bells are set to ring out across Downing Street. Michael Salter, David Cameron’s close adviser and head of broadcasting, is to marry his long-term partner Rob Church, deputy director of Civil Service Reform at the Cabinet Office.
The wedding will be Downing Street’s first same-sex marriage. Salter, who met Church five years ago at the Stonewall Awards, has worked with Cameron for eight years and is a key adviser on LGBT issues, including the same-sex marriage bill that was legalised this summer.
The Prime Minister risked splitting his own party by daring to push through the legislation for gay marriage and has denied recent claims that he privately regretted the move because of the furore it has created.
“I don’t regret it,” Cameron told reporters. “Britain is a more equal and fairer country for having done it.”
December 5th, 2013 Posted in Advent |
am: Ps 18:1-20
2 Peter 3:11-18
Saint Colman, Monk and Bishop, 675 - Colman was a native of the West of Ireland; born in the
December 4th, 2013 Posted in Pilling Report |
Fulcrum is grateful for the research and the listening to God, each other and the wider church undertaken by all members of the Pilling Group. We offer these initial reflections on their report which we recognise is going to take us all some time to weigh and test so that we can hold on to what is good.
A. Welcoming agreements shared by the main Report and the Dissenting Statement
It is important to recognise that the Dissenting Statement agrees with many of the Report’s recommendations which contain much that all should be able to welcome.
In particular, Fulcrum agrees with all members of the Group that:
1. We must warmly welcome and affirm the presence and ministry within the Church of gay and lesbian people, both lay and ordained (Recommendation 1)
2. Urgent facilitated conversations (Recommendation 3) about our differences on this subject are needed in the church as a whole and these must “involve profound reflection on the interpretation and application of Scripture” (Recommendation 2) at their heart.
3. The Church of England “should address the issue of same sex relationships in close dialogue with the wider Anglican Communion and other Churches” (Recommendation 4)
4. Hostility to homosexual people is a serious sin requiring repentance and resistance (Recommendation 5). With the Report, we also commend the “Don’t Throw Stones” initiative (paras 189-191).
5. “No one should be accused of homophobia solely for articulating traditional Christian teaching on same sex relationships” (Recommendation 6)
6. We need to consider seriously scientific work on same sex attraction (Recommendation 7) and recognise that sexuality is not reducible to “gay or straight” (paras 181 and 419-423)
7. We must recognise that attitudes to same sex attraction have changed markedly in recent years, particularly among younger people, but “that should not of itself determine the Church’s teaching” (Recommendation 8).
8. The Church, nationally and locally, “needs to find ways of honouring and affirming those Christians who experience same sex attraction who, conscious of the church’s teaching, have embraced a chaste and single lifestyle” (Recommendation 13). Here we note the new website Living Out which tells the stories of such Christians and offers guidance for pastoral care and support.
9. “All candidates for ministry should be treated in the same way regarding their sexual conduct: that is, they should be reminded that they are called to chastity and fidelity in their relationships and to order their lives according to the will of the Church on matters of sexual conduct, and they should be asked to give an assurance that they will seek to live by that standard” (para 411).
By The Revd Ted Lewis
The second Gafcon (Global Anglican Future Conference), held in Nairobi from October 21 to 26 and following from Gafcon 1 in Jerusalem in 2008, marked a milestone in the evolution of the Anglican Communion. At it the tradition-oriented Global South churches and their allies in the West decisively defined their position vis-à-vis the liberal churches of West. In particular, they undertook to act independently of Canterbury and the other instruments of Communion, if need be. Gafcon 2 is likely to affect the Church of England more immediately than the American church. But its actions have major implications for the Anglican Communion as a whole. Specifically, it allowed for a supersession by Gafcon of the present instruments of Communion—the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Consultative Council, and the Primates Meeting in addition to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Further, it pointed to a confessional Communion, one based on common belief rather than recognition by Canterbury. In these ways it significantly furthered the shift in the Communion’s centre of gravity from the West to the Global South. (Note: I was not present at Gafcon 2 but subsequent to it, in Nairobi and also in Britain, I spoke with persons closely involved with it.)
First, a word about Gafcon 1. It likewise was comprised of churches of the Global South, mainly Africa but also Asia and Latin America, and their western allies. Taking place only weeks before the Lambeth Conference of 2008, it was intended to set out a doctrinal position distinct from the liberalism ascendant in the West and culminating in the 2003 consecration of an active homosexual as Bishop of New Hampshire—a liberalism seen as failing to acknowledge Jesus as the one way, truth, and life. This it did in the form of its Jerusalem Declaration (http://gafcon.org/the-jerusalem-declaration), an affirmation of biblical authority couched, significantly, in terms of the traditional Anglican formularies of the Thirty-nine Articles, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the classic Anglican Ordinal. As for its actions, it formed a Gafcon Primates Council, which in turn invited the formation of the Anglican Church of North America. Further, it instituted the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (“Confessing” harks back to the Barmen Declaration of 1934, authored by Karl Barth, in which the German confessing churches stood against Nazi encroachments.) But otherwise, perhaps to some extent because of a rudimentary infrastructure, it remained largely quiescent. Gafcon 2 evidently was in part a response to a felt need to regain momentum.
December 4th, 2013 Posted in Pilling Report |
By Andrew Symes
The last time I wrote about the Pilling Report I speculated that it was in a locked vault waiting for the Bishops to discuss it before it was released. But suddenly, we were told that its publication was “imminent”, and then there it was, out in the open for us all to discuss. We can speculate about the timing of the release, but its best to look at the document in front of us and ask: what does it say? What does it mean? And what should we do, especially those of us who disagree profoundly with the report’s conclusions?
Read the rest of this entry »
From The Christian Institute
A free speech reform backed by The Christian Institute is to become law on 1 February next year.
From that date police will no longer be able to use Section 5 of the Public Order Act to arrest people just because others might find their words or behaviour “insulting”.
The Government agreed to the free speech reform in January, but it has taken until now for them to decide when it will come into force.
Simon Calvert – Campaign Director of the Reform Section 5 group – welcomed the news, but warned about a new anti-social behaviour law which could again threaten free speech.
Under Section 5 one protestor was arrested for calling Scientology a “cult”, someone else arrested for saying “woof” to a dog and another for calling a police horse “gay”.
Several Christians were arrested for peaceful and lawful street preaching, and one Christian couple were put on trial for criticising Islam.
From Living Out
Mark's first experience of same-sex attraction came fairly early on in his life, while playing kiss chase.
So what made him want to give up a twelve-year relationship, his openly gay lifestyle, and his whole identity as a gay man?
December 4th, 2013 Posted in Children/Family |
By Julian Mann, Conservative Home
Child care professionals in nurseries, schools, churches and various charitable and voluntary organisations could face a grave but so far not sufficiently recognised moral difficulty if the law is changed to make it mandatory for them to report any allegation of child abuse.
I cannot speak for other professionals, but we as parochial clergy are often responsible for both paid staff and volunteers who work with children. The official impression is unfortunately being given already that we as clergy are now legally required to report any allegation of child abuse against a staff member or a volunteer, and immediately to suspend the person against whom an allegation has been made.
Clearly, that mistaken impression about the current legal position is indicative of the power of the lobby that is pushing to make such reporting mandatory on professionals.
Child abuse is an appalling evil of which people calling themselves Christians have been guilty in our generation. We as clergy have a professional responsibility to work hard to make sure that our parish safeguarding policies are properly implemented. This is no easy task in the Church of England. Many Anglican churches, particularly in the north of England, have an active volunteer base of fewer than 70 adults.
December 4th, 2013 Posted in Pilling Report |
By David Baker, Christian Today
The Church of England's new Pilling Report on human sexuality has attempted to resolve a problem which at its heart is fundamentally irresolvable.
For the truth is that underneath the tensions in the Church on this issue there are two completely incompatible worldviews. While the debate that has played out over the airwaves in the last few days has so far been courteous, underlying it are differences which are irreconcilable.
On one side, in broad terms, we have those who believe that Christians should wholeheartedly endorse faithful, permanent same-sex and sexually-active relationships.
They point out that the Biblical references to homosexual activity are relatively few, and they suggest that the relevant texts in the New Testament do not refer to modern, stable gay couples. They believe that this is a battle akin to the ending of slavery, the emancipation of women, and the struggle against apartheid – and some would regard their opponents as homophobic bigots, even if they might not say so publicly.
On the other side, there are those who argue that while the gospel is inclusive it is always transformative – and that repentance and holiness involves forsaking any sexual relationship outside heterosexual marriage. They argue that the Biblical texts about homosexuality are clear, that they have been understood as such by the vast majority of Christians for 2,000 years, and that it cannot be an issue on which they simply "agree to differ" with others because according to Scripture it affects people's eternal salvation.
They also say that those who would change the Church's historic position not only have to explain away the negative texts but also the absence of positive Biblical teaching on the subject: given some of the sexually unrestrained cultures into which the New Testament came, it is argued, why did the Holy Spirit apparently not inspire the writers of Scripture to speak of faithful same-sex relationships in that time and place, given its similarity in terms of sexual licence to our own?
December 4th, 2013 Posted in News |
From Voice of the Voiceless
Gay activists are champions of tolerance and anti-bullying, that is, until someone disagrees with their opinion. In that case, it’s hate speech and should not be tolerated!
That’s exactly what is happening in Bronx, New York at Cardinal Spellman High School, where on Monday night the Catholic school announced that an address by retired priest Fr. Donald G. Timone from the New York Archdiocese on the issue of same-sex attraction, set for Tuesday, had been postponed.
Fr. Donald G. Timone has been involved with Courage − a 33 year-old Catholic support group that encourages men and women with same-sex attractions to live chaste lives − for many years. But gay activists don’t like the Catholic church’s position on homosexuality, so they began doing what they do best . . . bullying the school’s principal and administration for daring to host a priest that has stayed true to the church’s position on sexuality!
The school’s principal, Fr. Trevor Nicholls, said that the talk would not be for students, but parents only, and urged against any premature judgments. In a statement on the school’s website, Nicholls said: