Displaying items by tag: Law
A Christian children’s home has filed a federal lawsuit against the Biden administration, challenging its rule requiring the agency to place children in the homes of unmarried, cohabitating couples, same-sex couples and non-Christian couples. Holston United Methodist Home for Children has operated in Tennessee and Virginia since 1895 and helped over 8,000 children reunite with family or find a new adoptive family through to transition into adulthood. Their core mission is facilitating relationships so children can be ‘raised by families which prepare them to live the fulfilling adult lives that God intended for them.’ The lawsuit argues that by forcing the home to place children with couples that do not share in its Christian statement of faith, the department of health is violating the right to free exercise of religion under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
For the second time in less than a year, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has blocked an attempt to make it legal for Portuguese doctors to kill their patients. The latest version of the Bill, approved by members of the National Assembly was judged to be too radical by the Roman Catholic president and returned to them unsigned. De Sousa said, If ‘fatal disease’ was no longer a prerequisite for ‘medically assisted death’, he considered the bill to be out of step with ‘the values of life and self-determination, in the context of Portuguese society’.
The head of the Metropolitan Police has said ‘no one is above the law’ when asked about sexual assault allegations made against Prince Andrew. Dame Cressida Dick said, ‘I am aware that currently there is a lot of comment in the media. We will of course again review our position - but at the moment there is no investigation.’ Dame Cressida added, ‘It’s been reviewed twice before; we’ve worked closely with the CPS, and we are of course open to working with authorities from overseas. We will give them every assistance if they ask us for anything within the law. As a result of what’s going on, I’ve asked my team to have another look at the material.’
MP Maria Miller wants a parliamentary debate on banning digitally generated nude images. The nudifying service allows users to undress women in photos, using Artificial intelligence. They had over five million visits in June. ‘Parliament needs an opportunity to debate whether nude and sexually explicit images generated digitally without consent should be outlawed. I believe if this happened the law would change. It should be an offence to distribute sexual images online without consent. It severely impacts on people's lives. Software providers developing this technology are complicit in a very serious crime and should be required to design their products to stop this happening.’ At present making, taking, or distributing without consent intimate images online or through digital technology falls outside the law. Nudifier tools are not new. DeepNude was launched in 2019, but the creators quickly withdrew the service and offered refunds following a backlash.
Kristie Higgs, a Christian pastoral administrator, was sacked for two of her Facebook posts that raised concerns about transgenderism and sex education at her son’s CofE primary school. On 14 July she won the right to appeal her case and will challenge her dismissal at an employment appeal tribunal. She will argue that her dismissal breached her freedom of speech. We can pray that this appeal will successfully raise important issues on the approach currently adopted by tribunals regarding demonstrations and expressions of beliefs. The judge directed that the appeal be listed in ‘Category A’, which means the case will be heard by a full three-member panel because it is complex and raises points of law of public importance.
Thirteen homelessness charities and housing groups made an unprecedented plea to ministers to reconsider the police and crime bill that passed through the Commons this week. It will now go to the House of Lords. They said the bill needs urgent changes to avoid people being arrested and imprisoned for sleeping rough. Traditional Gypsy events like the annual Appleby horse fair face being criminalised, threatening the Gypsy way of life and culture. People will risk fines, imprisonment or confiscation of vehicles, which for Travellers are also their homes. The charities and housing groups said the bill should be scrapped, or amended if it goes ahead. Many people experiencing homelessness sleep in cars; they would be arrested and jailed. An 1824 Vagrancy Act that targeted rough sleeping and begging was abolished, but this new legislation 200 years later would again criminalise them.
Theresa Villiers MP asked Sajid Javid, ‘Now that thousands of people are allowed to gather together at a football match to shout and cheer as much as they want, is it not time that we allowed congregations in church to sing hymns together?’ The new health secretary replied, ‘I can tell you that that is certainly what I would like to see; it is my intention to allow that to happen as soon as possible. When it does, I hope we can sing a hymn together.’ During the debate, one exasperated comment was, ‘As a member of the parliament choir, I want to meet with other members in a socially respectable way to sing the music that inspires us and to lead our lives as close to normality as we can. What we want is a road map and a timescale.’
Government proposals to ban all forms of conversion therapy for LGBT people could ‘restrict individual freedom’ and ‘criminalise Christians and common church activities’, said Peter Lynas, director of the Evangelical Alliance. A public petition to make the practice illegal in the UK, which gained more than 250,000 signatures, was debated in the House of Commons last week. The equalities minister said that the Government was committed to outlawing the ‘abhorrent’ practice, and would shortly be bringing forward plans to do so. Mr Lynas argues that, while electro-shock treatment and corrective rape should be ended, the lack of a clear definition of conversion therapy by the Government was challenging: ‘Many lobbying for change are seeking an expansive definition that we could not support.’ Current proposals could restrict individual freedom and impinge on essential religious liberty, potentially criminalising Christians and common church activities.
In recent years, Algeria, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, among others, have distributed hundreds of millions of euros to finance the spread of Islam in Europe. On March 9, the Danish Parliament voted 79 to 7 to approve a new law banning foreign governments from financing mosques in Denmark. The measure is aimed at preventing Muslim countries from promoting Islamic extremism in Danish mosques and prayer facilities. Denmark joins a growing list of European countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland - which have taken varying degrees of action to prevent foreign governments from financing the construction and upkeep of mosques on their territories. Denmark's legislation, sponsored by the ministry of foreign affairs, came into force on 15 March.
Mary, a former resident of Marianvale Home for mothers and babies in Newry, said, ‘My baby was taken from me. We have been asking the Executive to set up an inquiry for years. Ministers have brushed us aside.’ Her statement echoes the cry of women and babies in near-identical institutions who suffered arbitrary detention, forced labour, ill-treatment, and the removal and forced adoption of their babies. These criminal acts were carried out by both Catholic and Protestant churches and organisations. They enforced a regime of praying, knitting and scrubbing floors. Women were treated as prisoners, not expectant mothers. There were over a dozen of these institutions, where 7,500 women and girls gave birth. The last one closed in the 1990s. Two UN committees have recommended that the government should establish an inquiry into these abuses.