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Irish internet providers have said that a move by their counterparts in the UK to make it harder for children to access internet porn is akin to “censorship”. Their stance has been condemned by politicians and campaigners as “scandalous” and “hypocritical”. The UK scheme, introduced last year after recommendations by a Government-backed report, means that when a parent sets up on the internet they have to indicate that they want to be able to access porn sites. In Ireland, you do the opposite, that is you have to indicate that you do not want to be able to access porn sites.
The saying of prayers as a ‘formal’ part of local council meetings in the UK has been ruled unlawful by the High Court. However, the court rejected claims that saying the prayers discriminates against, or breaches the human rights of, atheists. The judge in the case, Mr Justice Ouseley, said there is no law that gives councils the power to formally begins their meetings with a prayer.
A leading Church of England bishop has received racist and threatening messages just days after he voiced his support for traditional marriage, sparking a police hate crime investigation. The office of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu (pictured), confirmed that North Yorkshire Police had been called in following a number of “abusive and threatening emails of a racist nature”. Last week Dr Sentamu told The Daily Telegraph that marriage must remain between a man and a woman, but his comments provoked outrage amongst gay rights campaigners and led to a protest at York Minster.
A Labour TD who backed a motion at his party's conference which called for Catholic civil servants to be vetted to make sure they don't show “inappropriate deference” to the Church has backed away from the plan, The Irish Catholic has reported. Deputy Aodhan O Riordain also admitted that his initial support for the motion had “caused embarassment and discomfort to my Labour Party colleagues”. The proposal to vet Catholics, he acknowledged, had “caused understandable offence”.
A US court decision quashing the result of a Californian referendum upholding the traditional definition of marriage has been condemned by pro-family groups. The referendum, called Proposition 8, took place in 2008 and was struck down by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco on Tuesday. The decision will almost certainly be appealed.
There is no such thing as a good divorce when children are involved, according to a new US study. The research, an analysis of almost 1,000 families, found that children suffer when their parents’ marriage ends – no matter how amicable the split, the Daily Mail reports. It backs up the finding of a UK opinion poll conducted in 2008 which showed that the top wish children had was to make divorce illegal. It found that children under 10 rated divorce as the worst thing in the world.
An attempt to prosecute Bishop Philip Boyce (pictured) of Raphoe for incitement to hatred has been condemned by a leading British secularist as an attack on free speech. Gardai confirmed last week that they have prepared and forwarded a file to the DPP after former Fine Gael candidate, John Colgan, made allegations Dr Boyce was in breach of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989. In a homily in Knock in August Bishop Boyce said the Church was being attacked by the arrows of a “godless culture”.
A two-year-old boy in the UK is at the centre of a dispute between his mother, her female partner and the child’s sperm donor father over access and custody. The case bears a striking resemblence to an Irish case, McD v L, in which a lesbian couple unsuccessfully attempted to deny a gay sperm donor father increased access rights to his child.
The overwhelming majority of parents are concerned about possibility of children seeing inappropriate content on the internet, according to a new survey. The survey, conducted by the National Parents Council Primary and the National Centre for Technology in Education, found that 83 per cent of parents were concerned about inappropriate content, making it the most common worry for parents.
British people are more likely to say that dishonesty and other forms of wrong-doing is acceptable than ten years ago, and it risks harming civic mindedness, according to new research. Adultery, lying and underage sex have all become more acceptable, according to the findings published by Professor Paul Whiteley. Those who took part in the survey were asked to what extent a series of 10 activities were justified.
Societies where monogamy is the norm are safer than polygamous ones, according to a new Canadian study. Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that polygamous cultures have higher levels of robbery, rape, kidnapping, fraud and murder even when taking into account poverty levels. The higher levels, says the researchers, is accounted for partly by the bigger pools of unmarried men found in polygamous societies.
A US student who was expelled from her social studies course in the state of Michigan for refusing to offer relationship counselling to couples who have sex outside marriage on religious grounds is to have her case heard in court. Julea Ward, who was expelled by the Eastern Michigan University in 2009, took her case to a Detroit federal court, but her case was dismissed by the court. However, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling, finding that her claim that she was expelled because of her faith may be valid.
Children in the UK are set to be given the legal right to have a proper relationship with both their parents after a divorce. Ministers are set to draft new legislation in an attempt to ensure that fathers get improved access to their children after a marriage breaks down, according to The Daily Telegraph. Presently, British family courts, in the overwhelming majority of divorce cases, decide to leave children with their mothers.
American Catholics have become “remarkably passive even in the face of relentless hostility from the media, the entertainment industry, and now from some politicians” according to a leading US bishop. In a new pastoral, Bishop Daniel Jenky (pictured) of Peoria in Illinois said that “[e]ven when our institutions are attacked and our most sacred beliefs held up for scorn, many Catholics sadly remain silent”. And he called on Catholics to be more assertive action in defending “our religion and those public ministries which we hold to be the work of Christ”.
A turf war between the HSE and the Gardaí is compromising the proper investigation of child sex abuse, according a new report by the Garda Inspectorate. The report, Responding to Child Sexual Abuse, said that conflict between the Gardaí and the HSE meant allegations of abuse were not being investigated quickly enough, which was compromising child safety, according to the Irish Times.
Civil servants dealing with the Catholic Church should be "screened" to ensure they do not show "inappropriate deference" to the Church, according to a motion to be debated at the Labour Party Conference in April, according to The Irish Independent. The motion says that civil servants “who feel they are 'Catholic first and Irish second' should seek promotion in other organs of the State”.
Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe (pictured) has been accused of incitement to hatred and is being investigated by the Director of Public Prosecutions after he said the Church was being "attacked from outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture". The Sunday Independent reported that the gardai have confirmed that they have prepared and forwarded a file to the DPP after he made allegations that the address by Dr Boyce was in breach of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, 1989, the Sunday Independent reports.
Allowing the children of sperm or egg donors to find the identity of their donor parents will mean fewer donors and greater expense, according to an IVF practioner with a leading Dublin clinic. Speaking to a conference on Assisted Human Reproduction at the Royal College of Surgeons at the weekend, Graham Coull, a laboratory director with the Sims clinic in Dublin, said banning anonymous donors would lead to higher costs, according to an Irish Times report.
Americans believe overwhelmingly in the importance of marriage, and believe that it is important for children to grow up with two parents, according to a new poll. And a sizable number also continue to believe that it is too easy to get a divorce in the US. Overwhelmingly, American feel that children raised by two parents have an advantage over those who grow up in a single-parent home.
Religious freedom is being trumped by an overemphasis on equality in British courts, according to a leading philosopher. Professor Roger Trigg (pictured) of Kellogg College, Oxford, said that judges increasingly “curtail” the religious views of people in favour of other “social priorities”. Professor Trigg spoke at a conference on religious freedom organised by The Iona Institute in 2010.
The Catholic Church “is committed to providing Catholic Schools to cater for the needs of parents who wish to exercise their constitutional right to the provision of faith education,” Archbishop Sean Cardinal Brady (pictured), the Catholic primate of All Ireland, has said. Speaking yesterday at Saint Mary’s College, Dundalk at the launch of Catholic Schools Week, Cardinal Brady said that the Church “holds the view that the children of Catholic parents have first claim on admission to Catholic schools”.
Legislation currently before the Oireachtas poses a serious threat to the right of faith schools to protect their ethos if passed without amendment. According to a report in this week's Irish Catholic, the Education (Amendment) Bill 2012, introduced in the Seanad earlier this month, removes the right for school patrons to agree before a teacher is redeployed from another school. This would mean that denominational schools would not be able to block the appointment of a teacher who is deemed hostile towards the ethos of the school.
An amendment to give some measure of protection to religious freedom is being put in same-sex marriage legislation in the US state of Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley said this week. Governor O’Malley, a Democrat who is making same-sex marriage a priority of his legislative agenda this year, said bill drafters were especially sensitive to protecting religious freedom in hopes of persuading lawmakers — as well as the state’s voters — to support the legislation.
Catholic leaders have blasted President Barack Obama's (pictured) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for deciding to press ahead regardless of religious objections with its plan to force church-affiliated organisations to give their workers coverage of contraception, including abortifacients, as part of their health insurance plans. The policy has also been criticised by The Washington Post.
The Government has received a C+ grade from the Children’s Rights Alliance in its annual “report card” on the State’s commitments to children. The organisation said the grade showed the Government's record was improving but it still had more to do, The Irish Times reports. The group praised the establishment by the Government of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism, which was set up to examine the process of divesting primary schools from Catholic patronage.
The French Government is to introduce longer civil ceremonies and a “marriage preparation kit” that will remind soon-to-be husbands and wives what they are signing up for in a bid to reduce the country's high divorce levels. Currently, the French divorce rate is 50 percent. Announcing the new plans, minister of state for family affairs Claude Greff said civil ceremonies currently were too impersonal, too short (some take as little as five minutes) and failed to give couples a sense of their rights and responsibilities, the Irish Times reports.
Six children in Britain are to be given hormone injections to delay the onset of puberty because they and their parents believe they suffer from gender-identity-disorder. The monthly injections will postpone the physical changes of adolescence, giving the children more time to make decisions about their identity. It will also make any sex-change operation easier if they do decide to permanently change to their preferred gender.
A New Jersey judge has ruled that a Christian retreat house that refused to allow a same-sex civil union ceremony to be conducted on its premises broke the law, because the US Constitution allows “some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals.” On Thursday, administrative judge Solomon A. Metzger ruled that religious liberty did not exempt the seaside retreat, which is associated with the United Methodist Church, from renting its facilities out for purposes that violate its moral beliefs.
A new gender identity law which would allow those born as boys and girls to play and compete on their preferred gender’s sports teams, has been proposed in the California State legislature. Under the proposed bill, a girl who claims a male “gender identity” would essentially have the right to try out for a boy’s sports team or vice versa. The bill also requires that the girl be given access to the facilities of an all-male team, such as a locker room if her preferred ‘gender identity’ is male.
There are now 2 million single-parent families in Britain, the first time this figure has been reached, according to new statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In addition, almost 40pc of British children now live with either a single parent (24 percent) or a cohabiting couple (14 percent). Some 8,000 same-sex couples now have children, the ONS figures say, while almost 8 million people are living alone.
The health benefits of marriage are exaggerated and tend to fade over time according to a new study published in the current issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family. The study examined the differences between married, single and cohabiting people in terms of social ties and well-being, including mental health. The study’s authors say they “found the similarities between marriage and cohabitation to be more striking than the differences.”
'Religious ethos' has no place in Irish schools according to a prominent Labour TD. Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, vice-chair of the Oireachtas education committee, told The Irish Catholic that “religious ethos has no place in the educational system of a modern republic''. His comments came as senior Church sources accused the Labour Party of ''bullying'' Catholic schools by falsely accusing them of breaking the law over enrolment policies that admit Catholic children ahead of other children if the school is over-subscribed.
Two Catholic midwives in the UK are suing a health board for refusing to recognise their conscientious objection to supervising staff involved in abortions. Mary Doogan, 57, and Concepta Wood, 51, told NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde that delegating, supervising or supporting staff who were participating in abortions would go against their conscience. However officials rejected their position and the two women hope to have that ruling set aside in a judicial review.
Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) is facing the threat of a backbench Tory revolt as up to 100 MPs may line up to oppose government plans to legalise same-sex marriage. According to The Guardian, Tory MPs who have raised concerns about the move with ministers at meetings of the 1922 committee behind the threat. Mr Cameron announced his support for same-sex marriage at the Conservative Party Conference last year, but the move was heavily criticised by a range of prominent Tory figures.
New legislation which would make it compulsory for fathers' names to be registered on their children's birth certs, whether or not he is married to the child's mother is being planned by the Government. The Department of Social Protection is planning to include the provision in legislation to be published this year, and it is currently taking legal advice on the practicalities of such a move, according to a report in the Sunday Times. Families, Fathers and Children, a charity representing fathers' rights, has welcomed the move.
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