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Hospital will no longer force nurses to perform abortions

By Admin on 7th December 2011. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

A hospital in New Jersey will no longer force nurses to perform abortion against their will after it backed down in a legal battle with nurses who were suing for forcing them to violate their consciences. Instead the hospital will hire additional staff to help perform abortions. In a statement, Jeffrey Tolvin, a spokesman for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) said that no nurse would be compelled to have direct involvement in a procedure to which she or he objects based on his/her cultural values, ethics and/or religious beliefs.

Church of Ireland issues warning over school ethos protection clause

By Admin on 6th December 2011. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The Church of Ireland has expressed concern at proposals to alter a rule which allows denominational schools to permeate the school day with their ethos. In its response to proposals last month by the Advisory Group of the National Forum on Primary School Patronage, the Church of Ireland's Board of Education said that its “major issue of concern” was the proposal to abolish Rule 68 of the Rules for National Schools.

Parents believe it is mainly their task to teach children sex ed

By Admin on 6th December 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Schools and Education

Clear majorities of Americans, Britons and Canadians believe that parents not schools should be mainly responsible for teaching their children about sex, according to a new survey. The poll, conducted by American polling company Angus Reid, found that Americans were the most likely to believe that parents should be primarily responsible for sex education. It found that four-in-five Americans (81pc), two thirds of Canadians (69pc) and Britons (67pc) agree the parents or guardians should be primarily responsible for teaching sex education to children and teens.

Divorcing couples use children as ammunition says leading judge

By Admin on 3 Dec 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Parents must not use children as ammunition in divorce cases, the leading family law judge in the UK has said. Sir Nicholas Wall, the president of the Family Division, is a persistent critic of the way in which divorcing couples often conduct themselves.

Less than a third of 3 year olds are in day-care

By Admin on 2 December 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Less than a third of three year olds and just one in ten nine month olds are placed in day-care by their parents according to the latest report from the Growing Up in Ireland study, which is tracking the lives of 11,000 Irish children over time.

Cameron attacks Dawkins over faith-schools

By Admin on 1st December 2011. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Religion and Religious Practice

Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) has said atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins “just doesn’t really get it” on the issue of faith schools. Mr Cameron made the comments as he answered questions from well-known figures for a Guardian newspaper article. Mr Cameron said he thinks faith schools are “very often good schools” and he noted that the Church had provided “good schools long before the state got involved”.

Single parent families four times as likely to be poor: report

By Admin on 30th November 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Single-parent families are about four times as likely as married-couple families to be in poverty, according to new US figures. A study produced by think tank Child Trends showed that 37.2pc of single parent families were in poverty, while only 8.8pc of married families were in poverty. This difference has important implications, given that the proportion of families headed by single mothers has followed an upward trend across the past decade.

Marriage continues its decline in Britain

By Admin on 30th November 2011 . ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

There are now a record number of unmarried adults in the UK, with one in six people cohabiting, figures have disclosed, with 53 the most common age for divorce. According to new figures from the the Office of National Statistics (ONS), married couples now make up less than half the population with the trend for marriage is steadily declining. In Ireland, one couple in eight cohabits. Couples also appear to be choosing to separate increasingly later in life, with 17.6 per cent of all 53-year-olds now divorced, the Daily Telegraph reports.

No anti-Catholic bias in media, Archbishop Martin says

By Admin on 29th November 2011. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

There is no anti-Catholic bias in the media “in general”, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin (pictured) has said. Speaking on yesterday's Morning Ireland programme on RTE, he criticised the station over the time it took to admit it had wrongly accused Fr Kevin Reynolds, parish priest of Ahascragh, Co Galway, of raping a minor and fathering a child with her in Africa 30 years ago.

Christian worker to take case over harassment

By Admin on 29th November 2011. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

A Christian worker in the UK who was fired when she accused a group of fundamentalist Muslims of conducting a campaign of "race hate" is set to take her case to court. Nohad Halawi, who worked at Heathrow Airport, is claiming that she was unfairly dismissed and that she and other Christian staff at the airport were victims of systematic harassment because of their religion, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Baker could be sued over stance on civil partnerships

By Admin on 28th November 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

In a case which could be replicated in Ireland, a baker in the US state of Iowa may face legal action and has been sent hate mail after she told a lesbian couple that she could not make them a wedding cake on the basis of her religious beliefs. Victoria Childress, who runs a cake baking business from home, said that she didn’t do the cake because of her convictions.

Far more children than we think are being abused says Minister

By Admin on 26th November 2011. ~ Categories: Other

Children are being sexually abused “in far greater numbers than was ever imagined” according to the UK's children’s minister Tim Loughton. In a speech to launch the government’s plan to tackle grooming, Mr Loughton warned: "Too many local areas have failed to uncover the true extent of child sexual exploitation in their communities and failed to properly support victims and their families," the Daily Telegraph reports.

Average family €400 per month worse off than in 2008

By Admin on 25th November 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Average family take-home pay has been hit by almost €400 a month by the austerity Budgets that began in 2008 new figures show. The figures, compiled by The Irish Tax Institute, show that average family with two children and one income of €55,000 has been hit hard by income tax changes, cuts in child benefit, higher medical charges, reductions in pensions tax reliefs and government spending cuts, according to the Irish Independent.

Women’s pay could pass out men’s by 2020

By Admin on 25th November 2011. ~ Categories: Other

Women’s pay is growing at more than twice the rate of men and will overtake men’s within a decade if current trends in the labour market continue, according to new UK Government figures. The “gender pay gap” – the difference between average salaries of men and women – has fallen to under 10 per cent for the first time ever, figures from Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown.

Shatter to publish surrogacy guidelines next month

By Admin on 24th November 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Official guidelines on surrogacy are to be published next month by the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter (pictured). However, he was unable to say when long-promised legislation for the wider area of assisted human reproduction would be published, according to the Irish Times. The aim is to help parents planning to have children via surrogate mothers abroad to ensure they are recognised as legal parents here. This is despite concerns that surrogacy exploits women from poorer backgrounds and creates identity issue for children as it ‘splits’ motherhood.

British Columbia upholds ban on polygamy

By Admin on 24th November 2011 . ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Polygamy is bad for children and bad for women and the law upholding it ban is therefore constitutional, the Chief Justice of British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled. In a decision yesterday, Chief Justice Robert Bauman found that the law banning polygamy is constitutionally sound. Pro-marriage groups, have welcomed the ruling saying it recognises that marriage not just a private matter and has a social dimension.

New Spanish Government may overturn gay marriage law

By Admin on 23rd November 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Spanish legislation permitting gay marriage may be revoked by the newly-elected Partido Popular (People's Party) government, following the weekend's elections. In 2005, the same year that same-sex marriage was legalised, the party took a case in the Constitutional Court challenging the law. As yet, the Court has not ruled on the case. It was also heavily involved in organising well-attended street protests against the law, along with the Catholic Church in Spain.

Donor-conceived children have right to know biological parents: Shannon

By Admin on 22nd November 2011. ~ Categories: Other

One of the country's leading children's rights advocates has said that children conceived through donor sperm or eggs should have the right to access information about their biological parents. Speaking to the Irish Times about the need for regulating the fertility industry, Geoffrey Shannon (pictured), the Government’s special rapporteur on child protection said that use of anonymous donor sperm or eggs in IVF clinics meant that hundreds of children may never be able to trace their genetic parents or have access to important genetic information.

Republic which snubs religion "no republic at all", Cardinal Brady says

By Admin on 22nd November 2011. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

"A republic that cannot accommodate the religious convictions of large numbers of its citizens is no republic at all" and is "a contradiction in terms", the primate of all Ireland, Cardinal Seán Brady (pictured) has said. Speaking at the weekend in St Patrick’s College Maynooth at a graduation ceremony for 134 theology students, Cardinal Brady said that it should be "a matter of deep concern to all people of faith that an easy disregard for the religious faith of so many citizens holds increasing sway on this island”.

US Bishops’ meeting highlights religious freedom threat

By Admin on 19th November 2011 . ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Religious freedom in the US is under “dramatic and immediate threat” a leading Catholic bishop has said. In a speech to the General Assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop William Lori referred to a range of challenges to the conscience rights in the public square. Archbishop Lori, who is chairman of the USCCB's Ad-Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, said that the bishops had been viewing “with growing alarm the ongoing erosion of religious liberty in our country".

Forum proposals could “badly undermine” identity of denominational schools

By Admin on 18th November 2011. ~ Categories: Schools and Education,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

The Forum on the future patronage of Catholic schools has recommended the abolition of the rule which allows denominational schools to permeate the school day with their ethos. The last public meeting of the Forum took place yesterday. The recommendations of the Advisory Group to the Forum were presented Professor John Coolahan. One of the key recommendations is that schools in 47 selected areas be looked at with a view to transferring some of them from Catholic patronage to other patrons bodies.

Same-sex marriage ‘the civil rights issue of our time’ says Labour TD

By Admin on 18th November 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Same-sex marriage is “ without doubt, the most important civil rights issue of our time”, according to newly elected Labour TD, Aodhan O Riordan. In a statement released today, Mr Ó Ríordán, Labour TD for Dublin North East, said that last year's Civil Partnership Act “must be greatly welcomed”. The legislation gave same-sex couples almost all of the same rights as married couples. But he said that the legislation did not go far enough.

Older women account for one in five IVF procedures

By Admin on 17th November 2011. ~ Categories: Other

Women over 40 now account for almost one in five IVF procedures in the UK, according to new figures. The figures, published by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates the fertility industry in Britain, show that proportion has almost doubled in the last 13 years. In 1998 the over 40s only accounted for 10 per cent of IVF cycles, according to the HFEA, but last year they accounted for nineteen per cent of IVF cycles.

Only a small minority of scientists think science and religion are mutually exclusive

By Admin on 17th November 2011. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Only 15pc of scientists at major research universities believe religion and science are always in conflict, according to a new study. And it found that 68 percent of scientists surveyed consider themselves spiritual to some degree. The research, carried out by Rice University, found that a majority of scientists viewed both religion and science as "valid avenues of knowledge" that can bring broader understanding to important questions.

Pressure on Government to recognise overseas surrogacy arrangements

By Admin on 16th November 2011. ~ Categories: Other

Increasing pressure is being brought on the Government to recognise surrogacy arrangements contracted overseas. In a recent court case, the parents of a child conceived by surrogacy were not recognised as the legal parents of the child by the Circuit Court. Both the Leader of the Opposition, Michéal Martin and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore have weighed in on the issue.

Women three times as likely as men to be in part-time work

By Admin on 15th November 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Women are more than three times as likely to work part time than men, according to a new report. International research shows that this is in line with the preference of most women. According to the new ESRI study, almost 40 per cent of women work part-time compared with 12 per cent of men. The study, published today and reported in The Irish Times also showed that women who work part-time earn 6 per cent less per hour than women working full-time with similar qualifications and education.

Burton to make sweeping changes to One Parent Payment

By Admin on 15th November 2011 . ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

Social Protection Minister, Joan Burton, is to propose a major change to the qualifying criteria for the lone parents' allowance, according to a report in the Sunday Times. At present a lone parent receives the payment until his or her child reaches the age of 18. The Sunday Times reports that officials at the Department of Social Protection are examining the possibility of reducing this to seven as a means of cutting the €1.1 billion One Family Payment (OFP) bill.

European court finds against forced sterilisation

By Admin on 14th November 2011. ~ Categories: Other

Forced sterilisation is in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found. In a ruling last week, the ECHR found that forced sterilisation constituted “a major interference with a person’s reproductive health status” and as such was in violation of article 3 and 8 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment and right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention.

Scottish Church steps up campaign against same-sex marriage

By Admin on 12th November 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The Catholic Church in Scotland is stepping up its campaign against Government proposals to legalise same-sex marriage. The hierarchy has sent out a second wave of 100,000 postcards to help parishioners make their views known to the Scottish Assembly. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on whether to legalise gay marriage. The consultation document says the Scottish Government’s initial view is that it supports such legislation.

President Higgins calls on people to take part in Constitutional Convention

By Admin on 11th November 2011. ~ Categories: Other

President Michael D Higgins called on people to participate in the upcoming Convention on the Constitution during his inaugural address at Dublin Castle today. The convention was party of the Labour party manifesto and became part of the Programme for Government. One of the areas the convention will examine is the section of the Constitution dealing with the family with a view to possibly paving the way towards same-sex marriage.

Nurses claim NY hospital is forcing staff to perform abortions

By Admin on 11th November 2011. ~ Categories: Freedom of Conscience and Religion

Twelve nurses employed at a hospital run by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) are suing the facility, claiming that the hospital is forcing nurses to assist in abortions. This is despite the fact that US Federal law prohibits hospitals that receive certain federal funds from forcing employees to participate in abortions. In addition, New Jersey law states, “No person shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion or sterilisation.”

Court blurs distinction between marriage and cohabitation

By Admin on 10th November 2011. ~ Categories: Marriage and the Family

The highest court in the UK has “blurred” the distinction between cohabitation and marriage in its latest ruling, a family law expert has said. The British Supreme Court ruled yesterday that a man who left his partner 20 years ago is entitled to a 10pc share of the value of their home, while his former girlfriend should receive a “fair” proportion of 90pc, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Number of alcohol treatment cases soars

By Admin on 10th November 2011. ~ Categories: Other

The number of cases of treatment for alcohol abuse has risen by more than 40pc in the past six years, according to a new report by the Health Research Board. And the number of instances of those aged 18 and under being treated rose by an alarming 145pc, the figures showed. According to the report, 42,333 cases with alcohol as a main problem substance presented to drug treatment services from 2005 to 2010, the Irish Times says.

Majority of US Democrats rarely or never attend church says new poll

By Admin on 9th November 2011. ~ Categories: Religion and Religious Practice,Freedom of Conscience and Religion

A majority (52pc) of Democrat voters in the US say they seldom or never go to church, according to new data published by Gallup yesterday. However, 27pc say they go weekly and another 20pc say they go once a month or more. The Gallup poll also shows that 40 percent of Republicans say they go to church weekly, 21 percent say they go to church monthly or more, and 38 percent of Republicans say they seldom or never go to church.

Inauguration of Higgins to include humanist reflection for first time

By Admin on 8th November 2011. ~ Categories: Other

In a major break with tradition, the inauguration of Michael D Higgins (pictured) is set to have a “humanist element”, according to a report in the Irish Times. A source told the paper that there would be a “humanist reflection” in addition to the usual prayers. This will be the first time such a thing has happened. Mr Higgins is understood to have requested the reflection as part of the ceremony in addition to traditional prayers.

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