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  • UK Litigation Academy
  • Tooks Chambers Debate – 30 May 2007 6.30pm -Are lesbian and gay rights incompatible with freedom of religious expression?
  • Exeter Christian Union Case.
  • NUS Scotland fail in bid to ban Pure Course in Scottish Universities
  • Human Tissue and Embryo (Draft) Bill
  • Abortion
  • Sexual Orientation Regulations
  • Conference on understanding homosexuality – June 22nd – 23rd
  • Shari'ah law and the mega-mosque


UK Christian Litigation Academy


The highlight of this month for the public policy team who are involved with writing articles for CCFON, was the ground breaking UK Litigation Academy which took place on 17th and 18th May. Over 70 delegates attended over two days, from the UK, Europe, and even Uganda, gathered to learn how to use our unique gifts and abilities to be a voice for truth in our nation. Our guest speakers from the US gave inspirational accounts of how the work of the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian Litigation organisation, has developed over the last few years. Speakers from the UK also gave great insight into the issues that face Britain today and how the courts are currently being used as a battle ground for defending Christian truth and freedom. Please do not hesitate to contact Andrea Williams on any issues of Christian freedom.


Tooks Chambers Debate


The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship has been invited to participate in this event. It would be good to have support.


Are lesbian and gay rights incompatible with freedom of religious expression?


The debate will be chaired by Catherine Rayner. Speakers are: Mark Mullins from the Lawyers Christian Fellowship and Rabbi Mark Solomon of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue. Each speaker will speak for 10-15 minutes, then the debate will be widened to include attendees.


The debate will take place at Tooks Chambers, 8 Warner Yard, Warner Street, London EC1R 5BY on 30 May at 7.00 p.m. see http://www.tooks.co.uk/chambers/location.htm for location. 1.5 hours CPD points will be awarded.


If you would like to attend the debate, please email natasha.coburn@tooks.co.uk


Exeter Christian Union Freedom Case


One of the special guests at the Litigation Academy was Ben Martin, president of the Christian Union in Exeter. The Exeter case reached its internal appeals hearing stage on Thursday 24th May, which took place at the University. This was a hearing with no lawyers, except Mark Shaw QC of Blackstone Chambers who acted as adjudicator at the hearing. The parties are continuing to seek an internal resolution to the issue.


NUS Scotland fail in bid to ban Pure Course in Scottish Universities

http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/University/25may7.php


Human Tissue and Embryo (Draft) Bill


Another important development this month was the publication of the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill on 17th May. The purpose of this Bill is to reform the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. The Bill touches on issues such as the sanctity of life, our view of what humanity is and our definition of family. For many years the special protection and value afforded to human embryos has been eroded bit by bit. This Bill will erode that value and protection further in a number of ways.


One of the most worrying proposals from the Government is that the creation of hybrid human-animal embryos will be authorised for research purposes. Not only is such a move not necessary (it is unlikely that such research will assist in developing therapeutic treatments for patients, in the same way that research on fully human embryonic stem cells has not produced any treatments), but it is highly undesirable. The ethical issues that are raised by the creation of part animal/part human embryos have been all but ignored by the Government, and there has been no attempt to establish what status these embryos will enjoy (or otherwise). This is an exercise in redefining what is meant by 'human' and the special status given to human beings.


Another worrying aspect of the new Bill is that the Government has removed the need for doctors providing IVF treatment to consider the child's need for a father when looking at the welfare of a child. This is presumably to make it easier for single women and women in homosexual relationships to undergo IVF treatment. In this way the Government is attempting to redefine society’s view of what a family is or should be.


The Joint Committee considering the Bill has invited written submissions for their consideration, the deadline for which is 15th June. Please write to the committee outlining you concerns about the Bill.


The Bill can be downloaded at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/ PublicationsLegislation/DH_074718


The invitation for submissions and scope of their inquiry can be found at:

http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/jchumantissue/ jcdhte___pn1_.cfm#scope



Abortion


The new Bill, together with the 40 year anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act this October has caused abortion to be an increasingly important issue in the media. The public policy unit is continuously involved in attempting to increase the protection of the unborn child, and also to raise awareness about the dangers of abortion to women. There is increasing pressure for women to be informed about the increased dangers of mental health issues after having an abortion, as well as more evidence about the likelihood of preterm births for women who have had one or more abortions in the past.


There was a recent news story on a possible illegal abortion that took place in the UK, with the woman being 28 weeks pregnant when she went to her GP requesting an abortion. As the legal limit for abortion on healthy babies is 24 weeks her GP refused to refer her. However, a few weeks later she returned to her GP for an unrelated matter and was no longer pregnant. She told him she had 'had it sorted privately'. You can see the Times article on this at:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1813838.ece


In addition, Ann Winterton MP is introducing a Bill to Parliament on 5th June that would seek to give women who apply for abortion balanced counselling which will ensure that they are properly informed about the possible ill effects of the abortion on their physical and mental health, and also of the alternatives they may follow if they decide to continue with the pregnancy. The Bill will also require women to be given one week after counselling before having the abortion to give them the opportunity to change their minds. Please write to or email your MP asking them to support this Bill.


Sexual Orientation Regulations


In addition, the public policy team has continued to provide information and guidance on the SORs, which came into effect at the end of April. Our document on FAQs can be found at:

http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/articles/sorfaq.pdf


Our guidance for churches, charities, organisations and individuals can be found at:

http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/articles/SORGuidance.pdf


The Times published an article by David Pannick QC who attacked the opposition of Christians to the SORs. We responded to that article and our letter was published in the Times. It can be viewed at:

http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/articles/sortimes.php



Conference on understanding homosexuality:

Date: Friday 22nd June 2007 - Saturday 23rd June 2007 Time: 9:45am till 5:15pm both days Venue: To be confirmed by e-mail prior to event. Speaker: Dr Joseph Nicolosi, President of National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. Dr Nicolosi is the world’s leading expert in Reparative Therapy for Ego-dystonic Homosexuality.  http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/articles/understandinghomosexuality.php


Shari'ah law and the mega-mosque


We also responded to a report in the Financial Times that the Government was planning on issuing shari'ah compliant bonds. Our letter was published and can be viewed at:

http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/articles/ShariahBanking.php


Our most recent update on the proposed mega-mosque in London can also be found on the website at:

http://www.christianconcernforournation.co.uk/mosque/apr7.php



Charities Act

We are also currently preparing a response to the Charities Act, which will become available on the website shortly.


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