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In the Press

  • ...Last night the internet was abuzz with a YouGov poll, commissioned by the revisionist campaigner Jayne Ozanne, that was purported to show that a majority of Anglicans now supported same-sex marriage. It did no such thing.
     
    The survey questioned 6276 British adults on their religion and attitude to same-sex marriage. The first question of interest to us was their “religious affiliation”. We don’t have the actual question asked given us (very poor practice) so the best assumption is that the internet questionnaire asked “What is your religious affiliation?” 1652 of the 6276 respondents answered “Church of England”, “Anglican” or “Episcopal” (Episcopal probably refers here to the Episcopal Church of Scotland). Reweighted (the poll adjusts the numbers to reflect the actual British population) that is 1786 Anglicans out of 6276.
     
    At this point we get out our calculators and start stroking our beards. 1786 out of 6276 is 28.5%. Out of a Great Britain population of around 62 million, that equates to almost 18 million people who are “Anglicans” under this definition of the word. Given that in the last fortnight the Church of England published 2014 attendance figures that told us that the number of people at church service every week was just under 1 million, this means that a staggering 95% of the “Anglicans” in Jayne Ozanne’s survey do not attend church as part of their regular weekly pattern.
  • A teacher appointed one of Scotland’s first “state guardians” faces a lifetime ban from working with children.
     
    Dayna Dickson-Boath was yesterday struck off the teaching register for sharing fantasies about abusing youngsters.

    Scotland’s teaching watchdog also recommended that Dickson-Boath be placed on a list of persons deemed unfit to work with children in any capacity.
     
    The guidance teacher was appointed 14 months ago to be Named Person for 200 secondary pupils under the Scottish Government’s controversial scheme to provide every child under 18 with a “state guardian”.
     
    Dickson-Boath, who taught most recently in Elgin, consented yesterday to being struck off by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.
  • Children as young as 13 have been invited to describe their gender as any one of 25 different options in a Government-backed survey.
     
    The choices put before teenagers in research for the Children’s Commissioner for England include ‘gender fluid’, ‘demi-girl’ and ‘tri-gender’.
     
    The list of alternatives is being offered to children as part of a campaign to ‘find out how gender matters to young people’.
     
    Youngsters are also asked whether they feel safe using single-sex toilets, and if their school should have unisex ones instead.
     
    Other questions include whether their school should have just one unisex uniform.
  • he five children of a Pentecostal couple in Norway were taken from their family because their parents spanked them, not because of their religious faith, according to a lawyer close to the case.
     
    Ruth and Marius Bodnariu lost their children to Norway's Barnevernet or children's services last November in a case that has attracted world-wide attention. It was reported that the couple's religious faith had raised concerns at the children's school and their case was taken up by religious liberty campaigners. The case also fitted others where the children of immigrant or mixed-ethnicity families had been removed; Marius Bodnariu is from Romania.
     
    US-based Peter Costea, president of the Alliance for Romania's Families, told the Christian Post that court documents showed that the children were removed because they told investigators their parents spanked them as a disciplinary measure, not for religious reasons. Corporal punishment of children is illegal in Norway and schools are obliged to report it.
  • France’s lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that would allow doctors to keep terminally ill patients sedated until death comes, but stop short of legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide.

    After years of tense debate over the issue and a long journey through Parliament, the bill is facing a final vote Wednesday in both houses of Parliament. If adopted, it would allow patients to request “deep, continuous sedation altering consciousness until death,” but only when their condition is likely to lead to a quick death.

     
    Doctors would be allowed to stop life-sustaining treatments, including artificial hydration and nutrition.
  • Head teachers are allowed to ban the veil and will be backed up by Ofsted inspectors newly empowered to mark down schools where it interferes with education.
     
    Sir Michael Wilshaw today wrote to all inspectors telling them to consider rating schools 'inadequate' if use of the veil in the classroom damages learning.
     
    But the decision was swiftly condemned by teaching unions while the Muslim Council of Britain said it was an attack on a 'tiny, tiny' minority of teachers. 
     
    Sir Michael insisted the move was aimed at ensuring no discrimination took place in British schools.
     
    Today's letter comes a week after Prime Minister David Cameron endorsed the right of schools - and other public bodies - to ask people to show their face where necessary. 
  • Muslim communities are unlike others in Britain and the country should accept that they will not integrate in the same way, the former head of the equalities watchdog has said.
     
    Trevor Phillips said that it was disrespectful to suppose that Muslim communities would change, claiming that we should accept that they “see the world differently from the rest of us”.
  • Faith groups should have no barriers to open more free schools, an influential charity has said.
     
    The New Schools Network (NSN), a charity which helps establish new free schools, says the rules for free schools limiting the number of places allocated on grounds of religion should be scrapped.
     
    Catholic free schools have not been able to open based on this rules.
     
    Nick Timothy, NSN director, argued the limits are preventing "high-calibre school providers" from opening up.
     
    According to current rules, if a faith group wanted to set up a free school it could only give priority to applicants on the grounds of religion for 50 per cent of its places.
  • A Christian charity has added its voice to fresh calls for better regulation of gambling machines in bookmakers across England and Wales.
     
    The organisation CARE said restrictions on the amount of money you can play each time was a "no brainer" and a "much safer option".
     
    Currently you can bet up to £100 every time you play a game on the machines, which can be as often as every 20 seconds.
     
    Some local councils have cut that maximum to £50 unless a person registers with the store.
     
    Two peers have written open letters urging the government to take action to regulate the machines.
  • Justice secretary Michael Gove today said his Christian faith informs his prison policies, telling a critical Tory MP: "I believe in redemption".

    Gove rejected criticism from Philip Davies, a Conservative MP who sits on the justice committee, who said that Gove had "gone native" at his department.

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