As mentioned by Hemant back in November, New Humanist runs a poll every year known as the “Bad Faith Awards.” Readers vote for the person (or group) who has done the best to show the very worst of his/her faith over the past year.
A group of Parliament members (MPs) led by Tory backbencher Peter Bone have voted 166 to 7 in favor of altering the law to ensure that all religions and churches are treated as charities in the UK. It comes in response to two recent Charity Commission cases in which the commission award charitable status to a Pagan group including druids, but denied it to a church hall in Devon which is run by a Brethren assembly. Bone told the House of Commons that it is “necessary to toughen up the law to protect other Christian groups, such as the Salvation Army and even the Church of England”:
The repercussions of such a ruling could have a disastrous effect on religious institutions and the excellent work they do in the charity sector. Is Judaism, the Catholic Church or even the Church of England itself going to come under pressure to prove their public benefit?
The British Humanist Association has announced that physicist and author Jim Al-Khalili will become the association’s new President in January. He succeeds social justice campaigner Polly Toynbee after her three-year term comes to an end and will become the Association’s eleventh president. [Read more…]
While the Non-Religious Demographic Grows in England and Wales, Ireland Remains a Very Catholic Country
After the release of the UK’s 2011 Census data and the promising growth of the self-identified non-religious, I thought I’d see how our friends over the Irish Sea were getting on. Their census was published way back in March and isn’t quite as promising as the UK results. Christianity and Catholicism in particular is still the dominant religion in Ireland: A whopping 90.47% identify as Christian with 84.16% of the total population being Catholic. The second largest Christian group is the Church of Ireland, representing just 2.81% of the population. In spite of the countless instances of child abuse that have rocked Ireland more than any other European country, people still feel either obligated or proud to call themselves Catholic. [Read more…]
Yesterday, the British Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, unveiled plans to introduce a law allowing consenting churches to hold gay marriage ceremonies. This has been a long time coming and enjoyed a ground swell of popular support over the last couple of years. [Read more…]