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In the Press

  • The Church of England's position as the established church with the Queen as Supreme Governor is "no longer tenable" and needs a rethink, according to a report today.

    As churchgoing and belief in God continues to decline, the public role of religion in Britain needs "significant reform" says the new report from the National Secular Society.

    Its main demand is that the Church of England should no longer enjoy the patronage of the state.

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  • The three-parent baby technique for creating children without birth defects may be unproven and controversial but it is not stopping an IVF clinic in Mexico from announcing plans to create at least 20 babies for clients in 2017.

    New Scientist reports that New Hope Fertility, a New York clinic with a subsidiary in Guadalajara, will perform the controversial procedure, called mitochondrial replacement, for 20 clients in the first half the new year. None of the 20 expected clients are likely to be Mexican. 

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  • A gay man who legally became his partner’s father after adopting him has been allowed to dissolve his guardianship, so the couple can get married.

    In the absence of same sex marriage laws in the US, Roland Bosee Jr, 79, legally adopted his 69-year-old partner Nino Esposito in 2012 so they could be legally protected for a number of issues including inheritance.

    It was fairly common for homosexual couples to do this before marriage was legalised in 2014 and ratified across 50 states by the US Supreme Court, the following year.

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  • The Queen has said Jesus Christ's example helps us to see the value of doing small things with great love.

    In her annual Christmas address broadcast at 15.00GMT, the Monarch spoke of her own faith and how she takes inspiration from his life and teaching.

    Her Majesty used Christ's example to encourage people into "small acts of goodness" which she said can make a difference even when the world's problems seem so vast.

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  • Teachers who have affairs should be protected by law and must not be sacked, the equalities watchdog has said.

    Rules that allow divorced, gay and lesbian teachers to be banned from working in faith schools should also be re-considered, a report published by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) found.

    The report, published this month, said that certain sections of the School Standards Framework Act (SSFA) do not comply with requirements under the EU Employment Equality Directive.

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  • Why is the West paying so little attention to the persecution of Christians?

    Speaking as a former editor, I guess one reason might be that we in the media crave novelty. The persecution of Christians is scarcely a new story. It began nearly 2,000 years ago, as soon as Jesus was born. 

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  • A few years ago the Planned Parenthood Federation of America got my attention by pioneering a Christmas card. The group sent a holiday greeting - complete with sentimental snowflakes and stars — with the caption "Choice on Earth." 

    Evangelicals and Roman Catholics rightly noted the incongruity of the nation’s largest abortion provider using an ancient Christian holiday to promote abortion rights. The give-and-take over this card was a quick controversy, forgotten once all the wrapping paper and tinsel were put away for the season.

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  • Family court hearings are to be held in public for the first time, in a radical trial being pursued by the leading family judge for England and Wales, the Guardian understands.

    Sir James Munby, the president of the family division of the high court, is to continue far-reaching reforms to bring more transparency to the system in 2017 by launching a trial in which some types of hearings would be held in public.

    It is expected appropriate orders will remain in place to protect the identities of the participants. A separate plan is being considered to allow the media access to documents from hearings that have previously been kept secret.

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  • Ashers Baking Company has confirmed that it will launch an appeal to the UK Supreme Court, following the Belfast Court of Appeal's ruling against them earlier in the year.

    Lawyers representing the McArthur family, who own and run Ashers, and the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, John Larkin QC, had separately asked judges whether they had leave to appeal.

    Mr Larkin was refused the right to refer the case based on devolution issues, but Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan left the way open for Ashers to take the matter further saying "the matter should be properly left to the Supreme Court".

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  • Election surprises, conflict, a refugee crisis and terrorism: the past 18 months seem to have had it all — and this appears significantly to have dented the public’s faith in a god.

    A YouGov poll for The Times has found a four-point decline in the proportion of people who say that they believe in God, from 32 per cent in February last year to 28 per cent today.

    Those saying that they actively do not believe in any god or higher spiritual power has gone up five points, from 33 to 38 per cent.

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