January 7, 2008

We reprint here an urgent letter from the National Secular Society: —- We have been working closely with our Honorary Associate Dr Evan Harris MP, who has identified an opportunity to challenge the blasphemy law in the House of Commons. On Wednesday, 9 January, Dr Harris will table as an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. Below is a letter we have been working on with him which will appear in the Daily Telegraph signed by a large… Read more

January 6, 2008

The president of English PEN (the UK arm of the worldwide writers’ organisation)  says the law of blasphemous libel is not only obsolete but contravenes our rights to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights. Lisa Appignanesi (pictured below), writing in the Guardian, quotes the Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie, who said, “If there is a God, he certainly doesn’t need the protection of the British legal system. If there isn’t, he doesn’t need it either. There… Read more

January 5, 2008

If you’re doing New Year resolutions, put human rights before losing weight or reducing your credit-card bill. That’s the message of the executive director of the National Secular Society, Keith Porteous Wood. “[W]e would urge you all to make one about something much more important to future generations,” he says. “To vow to support Human Rights. For it is they which underpin our way of life – for many they represent one of the greatest achievements of Western civilisation.” Wood’s… Read more

January 4, 2008

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. It is America, after all. Republican Mike Hucakabee is entrusting his fate in the presidential race “to a higher power”, according to the UK’s Telegraph, among others. Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, has had a lot of support, as you might expect, from conservative Christians. And, according to the Guardian, in his campaign rally in Iowa, Huckabee called on his supporters to “get on their knees to ask for God’s wisdom”. If God has any wisdom,… Read more

December 31, 2007

WE end another crazy year with a bizarre tale from Malaysia, where an unholy row has broken out over the word “Allah”. “Allah”, according to one Che Din Yusoff, a senior official at the Internal Security Ministry’s publications control unit, refers to the Muslim God, and no other. According to World Wide Religious News, Che Din said: Christians cannot use the word ‘Allah’. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim god. This is a design… Read more

December 30, 2007

TV’s outspoken presenter of motoring programmes, Jeremy Clarkson, has a set-to with the Archwizard of Cant today in the Sunday Times. Love him or hate him, you’ll enjoy the way he gets stuck into Rowan Dumbledore Williams and his super-rich outfit. In a piece headed “Unhand my patio heater, archbishop”, Clarkson lays into Williams for telling us all to stop being greedy while he belongs to “one of the western world’s richest institutions”. This very un-PC presenter goes on (no… Read more

December 29, 2007

First, a reality check. We are in the twenty-first century, aren’t we? This isn’t some kind of dream, is it? An alternative universe? Just checking. Because, you see, there’s this chap in Italy – well, some “state” called the Vatican or Holy See or something where strange people live, but it’s in Rome, which is in Italy – called the Pope (otherwise known as Joseph Ratzinger, formerly of the Hitler Youth) who has ordered his bishops to set up flying squads…. Read more

December 28, 2007

Stephen Green has become the answer to the lazy journalist’s prayer. Once again, he’s wheeled out to comment on a story that has no connection with religion at all. But, well, it’s about young people’s sexuality, ennit? So we call on a religious figure, don’t we? Duh! This national director of Christian Voice – and, as far as we know, perhaps its only member apart from his gerbil – has been called on by at least two UK papers, the Mail… Read more

December 27, 2007

IN the very unlikely event of us ever feeling the need to worship a god, we could do a lot worse than choosing the Nordic deity, Thor. Unlike the bad-tempered, psychotic old God of the Jews, Christians and Muslims, Thor – for all his antics with his mighty, magic hammer, Mjolnir – seems to have been an amiable sort of fella, who would never dream of visiting floods or pestilence upon innocent folk. What’s more, he is so often portrayed… Read more

December 23, 2007

Full of Christmas spirit and Christian love, a headmaster in Scotland told a wee laddie he couldn’t go to his school’s Christmas party and enjoy jelly and blancmange and presents from Santa Claus with his friends, because the boy’s parents had pulled him from RE lessons. Fortunately, his local council has told the headmaster he’s a prat. Well, to be fair, we don’t know that, exactly, but let’s hope he and fellow teachers who supported him are feeling like prats -… Read more

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