November 11, 2007

LABOUR’s chief whip in the Scottish Parliament seems afraid about something – something that might just stir up a religious hornets’ nest (are there religious hornets?). Michael McMahon doesn’t want an inquiry into Catholic Schools and possible discrimination therein. But, then, he’s a Catholic, as can be seen from his profile on the Parliament’s website. Even so, you might think he’d want it all out in the open so as to prove that his beloved church is whiter than white…. Read more

November 11, 2007

THE UK’s Charity Commission – the body that regulates the voluntary sector – has found it necessary to launch a “dedicated unit” to “oversee faith-based charities”. Of course, it’s all dressed up in officialese by spokespeople, with talk of the “strength and vibrancy” of the “faith” sector. However, the ever-helpful Ekklesia religious think tank has a story on its website in which it says, quite unequivocally, “The move comes as questions are increasingly asked about whether the more political activities of… Read more

November 10, 2007

WE at the Freethinker are more Cole Porter than Cradle of Filth, the Ipswich heavy metal band. So we have have no idea what sort of sound the group makes – but, if their merchandise is anything to go by, it must be pretty damn nasty. But, hey, nastiness is hardly a crime. If it were, the Pope, for one, would be doing a long stretch in the slammer. The boys in blue in Edinburgh, however, certainly thought a Cradle… Read more

November 10, 2007

MUSLIMS in Slough have high hopes if they expect a quarter of the pupils in their new taxpayer-funded school to be not of the “faith”. But that’s the optimistic claim of the Slough Islamic School Project, whose new, 630-pupil primary school – the town’s first state Muslim school – is due to begin construction in January (though it actually got approval in February 2006). Slough will not be the only town whose “century of change” – as depicted on the book… Read more

November 8, 2007

WHEN the distinctly non-funky Bushra Noah, 19, applied for a job in a trendy London hairdressing salon, did she consider that she might be required to fit in with the image of salon? Obviously not, for when she turned up at the salon, having being offered a trial day’s work, she insisted on wearing a headscarf – and took unbrage when the owner of the “alternative” Wedge salon, Sarah Desrosiers, said this was unacceptable. Ms Desrosiers, according to the London… Read more

November 7, 2007

THE London Oratory School will always want to make sure its charitable fundraising and its work … are done with organisations whose philosophy, aims and practices support Christian values… the nominated charity does not meet this criterion, it would be inappropriate for the school to financially support this charity from the proceeds of the concert. Those are the words of the school’s headmaster David McFadden, when he broke the news that British Aids Charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust, would receive… Read more

November 6, 2007

THE appointment by the Government of an anti-gay Christian fundamentalist to the new Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is a slap in the face for Britain’s gay community, says the National Secular Society. The Government has appointed Joel Edwards, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, as one of its commissioners. Mr Edwards has been prominent in campaigns to undermine recent equality legislation for gay people in the areas of employment and the provision of goods and services. The appointment… Read more

November 6, 2007

HAS Flew flown? News abounds this week that the man described on the cover of his new book as “the world’s most notorious atheist” – that renowned British philosopher Antony Flew (pictured) – has returned to the fold of the believers. Some accounts have him stopping short of the personal God we read about in the Bible and the works of religious apologists, yet one does describe his new book as depicting his “move from being one of the world’s… Read more

November 6, 2007

You’d think, after all this time and with the massive body of evidence to back up this claim, the blinkered crazies who run the world’s biggest organised religion would have woken up to the fact that they could save an awful lot more lives by sanctioning the use of condoms rather than by refusing to allow abortion. So writes Jaq Bayles in the latest issue of the Brighton-based gay magazine, GScene, in an article detailing the warped thinking of the… Read more

November 4, 2007

Britain could soon have a holiday all year round – well, almost – if a left-leaning think tank gets its way. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) came up with the barmy idea of pandering to more superstition, saying it would be even-handed to allow minority religions a holiday because we in the UK traditionally get one for Christmas and Easter. What the IPPR conveniently forgets in its rush to lick the backsides of religious fruitcakes is that Easter… Read more

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