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Catholic hospitals could close because of Obama proposals warns Cardinal

By Admin on 3rd March 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Catholic hospitals and universities may be forced to close in two years because of President Obama's controversial health mandate, a leading US Cardinal has warned. The mandate in question will force religious institutions to put their employees in insurance schemes that cover abortion-causing drugs, contraception and sterilisation. Writing in his diocesan newsletter, Cardinal Francis George (pictured), Archbishop of Chicago said “the Catholic Church in the United States is being told she must “give up” her health care institutions, her universities and many of her social service organisations”.


Two-thirds of convention members will be ordinary voters

By Admin on 2nd March 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The Government has proposed that two thirds of the membership of its proposed constitutional convention be chosen from the electoral register in a meeting with Opposition parties. The Convention is set to look at proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, removing the clause which refers to women in the home and removing the offence of blasphemy, among others. Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the technical group were issued with a three-page document by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at a meeting in Government Buildings on the proposed convention this week, according to an Irish Times report.


Archbishop of Canterbury speaks out against redefining marriage

By Admin on 2nd March 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Marriage should not be redefined in law, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned yesterday in a speech about human rights. Dr Rowan Williams said that some religious communities “feel that alien cultural standards are somehow being imposed – particularly in regard to inherited views of marriage and family.” He added: “If it is said, for example, that a failure to legalise assisted suicide – or indeed same-sex marriage – perpetuates stigma or marginalisation for some people, the reply must be, I believe, that issues like stigma and marginalisation have to be addressed at the level of culture rather than law.”


President Higgins gives backing to children’s rights

By Admin on 1st March 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Religion and Religious Practice

Children's rights must “obviously now be a guarantee”, President Michael D Higgins said at a conference sponsored by children's charity Barnardo's. He added that if Ireland were to build children's rights into a version of a real republic, there needed to be a change”not only in the Constitution, not only in the legislation, not only in administration, but also in public consciousness in our priorities.”


Pro-life midwives lose conscience battle

By Admin on 1st March 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Two Catholic midwives in Scotland have lost a legal battle for their entitlement to conscientious objection over supervising staff in abortions. Mary Doogan and Concepta Wood claimed their right should extend to refuse to delegate, supervise or support staff looking after women having their unborn children aborted. They maintained the stance of Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board – by refusing to recognise their entitlement – violated their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.


Majority of childless couples under 45 are not married

By Admin on 29th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Couples under 45 without children are more likely to be cohabiting than married according to a new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) The report also reveals that cohabiting couples are very likely to marry once their first child is born, confirming the link in the public mind between marriage and children. In addition, 25pc of cohabiting couples contain at least one partner who is separated or divorced following a previous marriage.


Christianity get rougher media treatment says BBC boss

By Admin on 29th February 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Christianity gets tougher treatment than other religions, BBC director general Mark Thompson has admitted. He claimed that the reason for the difference in treatment was that Christianity had “pretty broad shoulders”. In an interview about faith and broadcasting for the Free Speech Debate, a research project at Oxford University, Mr Thompson said that producers were faced with the possibilities of “violent threats” instead of normal complaints if they broadcast certain types of satire.


Ireland’s first civil partnership involving transgendered person takes place

By Admin on 28th February 2012. ~ Categories: Other

A man from another EU country who claims to have a female gender identity has entered a civil partnership with a woman in Ireland. The civil partnership is Ireland's first involving a transgendered person, according to a report in The Irish Times. The man was fully recognised as a woman in his country of origin, which meant that the Irish authorities were obliged under EU law to recognise him as a woman when he came to Ireland to work.


Ruling upholds conscience rights of pharmacists

By Admin on 28th February 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

A federal judge in the US state of Washington has upheld the conscience rights of pharmacists who do not wish to sell abortifacient drugs. Judge Ronald Leighton ruled last week that the requirement for pharmacists to stock and dispense pills that can cause abortions, a requirement imposed by Washington state's Board of Pharmacy, violated the religious freedom of pro-life pharmacists.


MP receives death threat after supporting traditional marriage

By Admin on 27th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

A British politician has revealed he received a death threat and hate mail after speaking out in support of traditional marriage. David Burrowes (pictured), Conservative MP for Enfield Southgate, made the revelation at the launch of Coalition for Marriage (C4M) in London. A number of politicians, lawyers and religious leaders have signed C4M’s petition, supporting the current definition of marriage and opposing any plans to redefine it.


Parents have right to Catholic education for their children says Dr Martin

By Admin on 25th February 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Catholic parents must have their right to give their children a Catholic education vindicated by the State, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said last night. Such an education can only be guaranteed “by fostering Catholic schools that are truly Catholic and there is an obligation on the State to foster that possibility also,” Dr Martin added. The Archbishop was speaking as part of the Mater Dei Institute's Spring Lecture Series 2012 on the subject ‘Reform in the Catholic Church in Ireland: Facing the Future with Hope’.


Canadian ruling overrides wishes of parents

By Admin on 24th February 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Canadian parents are to be forced to send their children to classes in ‘multi-culturalism’ after the Canadian Supreme Court found that the course did not violate the religious freedom of two Catholic parents. According to Lifesitenews, among the other things taught by the Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) course is that homosexuality is a normal lifestyle choice. The course has also been criticised for effectively teaching moral relativism. The parents, known as L and J, fought for the right to withdraw their children from the Quebec ethics course on religious freedom grounds.


More than half of births to under 30s outside marriage

By Admin on 24th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

More than half of births to Irish women under 30 occur outside marriage, new figures show. There were just over 6,300 children born to women under 30 in the second quarter of last year, according to the latest Vital Statistics report from the CSO. Of these, just over 3,700, or 57 per cent, were born outside marriage. This is higher than the percentage of non-marital births to US women under 30. In the US, 53 per cent of births to women under 30 occur outside marriage.


New document on surrogacy published

By Admin on 23rd February 2012. ~ Categories: Other

The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, has published new guidelines for people who have used surrogate mothers abroad to advise them on their legal rights and how to obtain a passport for the child they bring home. The guidelines do not consider such ethical issues as whether surrogacy is inherently exploitative or whether motherhood should be ‘split’ between a birth mother and a biological mother (the egg donor). Surrogacy involves gestating the baby in another woman's womb. A number of Irish couples have used foreign surrogacy mothers, usually from India, Ukraine and America.


Constitutional convention guidelines to be issued

By Admin on 23rd February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The Government is set to issue draft guidelines for its proposed “Constitutional Convention” over the next week, The Irish Times has reported. According to the Programme for Government, the Convention is set to look at proposals to legalise same-sex marriage, removing the clause which refers to women in the home and removing the offence of blasphemy. It will also examine proposals regarding the Dáil electoral system; reducing the presidential term from seven to five years; reducing the voting age to 17 and letting emigrants vote in presidential elections.


Children’s amendment must not give State excessive powers says academic

By Admin on 21st February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

A leading academic has warned that the wording on children's rights proposed by the Oireachtas committee chaired by Mary O’Rourke cannot “provide any meaningful guidance to State agencies” as to when the State should intervene in families to protect vulnerable children and has produced an alternative wording. Writing in today's Irish Times, Dr Oran Doyle, a law lecturer in Trinity College, said that the idea that the inclusion of a “best interests” test would solve the problem was mistaken.


Protestant leaders join battle against Obama insurance proposal

By Admin on 21st February 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

More than 2,500 Protestant leaders have signed a letter opposing the Obama Administration’s controversial mandate forcing religious institutions to cover abortifacients, sterilisations and contraception in their insurance plans. The letter, published by the Family Research Council (FRC), a pro-family, pro-religion think tank calls the mandate “a severe blow to our religious liberty” and accuses the Administration of ignoring “the conscience rights of many Catholic and Protestant Americans”.


Equality watchdog condemned after attacking Christians

By Admin on 20th February 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Britian's equality watchdog, Trevor Philips (pictured) has been condemned by religious leaders and legal experts after he compared Christians who oppose aspects of equality legislation with Muslims trying to impose sharia law on Britain. Mr Philips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), said that religious rules should end “at the door of the temple” and religious organisations should give way to the “public law” laid down by Parliament, according to the Daily Telegraph.


Chancellor rules out tax breaks for married couple

By Admin on 18th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne has angered Conservative backbenchers by ruling out the introduction of tax breaks for married couples in next month’s Budget, according to The Daily Telegraph. The tax breaks, which were a cornerstone of the Conservative Party's election manifesto, have yet to feature in any Coalition budget. The news comes after a leading think-tank with links to the Government, the Centre for Social Justice, gave the Government an "F" grade last year on the family because of its failure to live up to its commitment to support marriage.


New children’s rights group given €1.5 million

By Admin on 17th February 2012. ~ Categories: Other

Two groups have provided €1.5 million to a new organisation called Campaign for Children which is set to be a leading voice in campaigning for a Yes vote in the Government's “children’s rights” referendum. Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald yesterday promised that the Coalition would hold a stand-alone referendum on the issue later this year. She told the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children that it would be stand-alone “to ensure people clearly understand what it is about”, The Irish Times reports.


Virginia protects religious adoption agencies

By Admin on 17th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The Virginia state Senate has passed legislation allowing private adoption agencies to deny placements that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs. The House of Delegates has an identical version of the bill and Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell says he will sign it. Virginia would become just the second US state with such a law, after North Dakota, US website Metro Daily reports.


Unrestrained sexual freedom costing UK £100bn pa says report

By Admin on 16th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Roughly £100 billion is spent each year in the UK dealing with problems relating to sexual promiscuity and relationship breakdown, according to research by the Jubilee Centre. Author Guy Brandon attacked society’s uncritical endorsement of sexual freedom which he argues has resulted in massive public costs. The costs include dealing with family breakdown, sexually transmitted infections (STI), absenteeism, domestic violence and educational underachievement.


No plans for gay adoption legislation says Government

By Admin on 16th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The Government has no plans to introduce legislation to allow for the adoption of children by same-sex couples, the two relevant Fine Gael ministers have said. Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald (pictured) said she had no legislative proposals in the area, while Minister for Justice Alan Shatter referred a query from a Labour backbencher to Ms Fitzgerald and repeated her response on the issue, according to an Irish Times report.


Minister vows to fight ban on council prayers

By Admin on 15 Feb 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

UK Government minister, Eric Pickles, has vowed to overturn a judge’s ban on formal council prayers – within a week if possible. The backlash follows a High Court ruling last Friday in a case brought by the National Secular Society against a small Devonshire town council.


Bishops reject Obama change to contraception proposal

By Admin on 14th February 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Catholic bishops in the US have rejected President Obama’s proposed change to his plan to force all employers — including most religious institutions to provide free contraception, abortifacients and sterilisation to women in their health insurance coverage. The White House claimed on Friday that it would accommodate religious institutions with objections to the health mandate by relieving them of the requirement to pay for coverage of contraception, the Morning After Pill, which is an abortifacient, and sterilisation.


Closure of embassy not part of “secular agenda” says Gilmore

By Admin on 14th February 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The closure of Ireland's embassy to the Vatican was not part of a “secular agenda” on the part of the Labour Party, according to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore (pictured). Mr Gilmore last night insisted the embassy was always on a list of closures, the Irish Independent reports. Mr Gilmore also denied the Labour Party had an anti-Church motivation, saying: "There isn't a secular agenda."


Militant secularism threatening British society says government minister

By Admin on 14th February 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

British society is under threat from the rising tide of “militant secularisation” reminiscent of “totalitarian regimes”, a member of the British Government has warned. Ahead of an historic visit to the Vatican beginning today, Baroness Warsi (pictured), Cabinet Minister without Portfolio, expressed “fear” about the marginalisation of religion throughout Britain and Europe, saying that faith needs “a seat at the table in public life”. In an article for The Daily Telegraph, Baroness Warsi, a Muslim, says that to create a “more just society” Britons must “feel stronger in their religious identities”.


Church of England bishops move to protect hospital chaplains

By Admin on 13th February 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Church of England bishops are leading calls to protect NHS chaplains from proposals to have them removed from hospitals. Secularist campaigners are arguing that the taxpayer should no longer fund chaplains at a time when the NHS is making cuts, the Daily Telegraph reports. In an impassioned debate at the Church of England General Synod in London, bishops called for “every effort” to be made to preserve their position.


Irish internet providers say UK scheme to protect children is ‘censorship’

By Admin on 11th February 2012. ~ Categories:

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.


Court finds against Council saying prayers

By Admin on 10th February 2012. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

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.


Bishop receives abusive calls over same-sex marriage opposition

By Admin on 10th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

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.


TD apologises for embarrassing Labour over anti-Catholic motion

By Admin on 9th February 2012. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

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”.


Pro-family groups denounce same-sex marriage ruling

By Admin on 9th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

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.


No such thing as good divorce says new study

By Admin on 8th February 2012. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

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.


UK secularist attacks hate complaint against Bishop Boyce

By Admin on 8th February 2012. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

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”.


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