UK court accused of interfering in Jewish identity

December 16, 2009

britishsupremecourt

UK Supreme Court in London, 14 Sept 2009/Andrew Winning

Britain’s top court was accused of interfering in religious matters after it ruled on Wednesday that a Jewish school was guilty of discrimination by refusing entry to a boy whose mother was a Jew by conversion, not birth.

The Swiss minaret ban and other trends for Islam in Europe

November 30, 2009

minarets-trainSwitzerland’s vote to ban minarets on mosques there raises the question of whether anything similar might happen elsewhere in Europe. Researching this for an analysis of the vote today, I found experts distinguished between actually banning an Islamic symbol such as the minaret and using the minaret example to fan voters’ fears and boost a (usually far-right) party’s chances at the polls. It seems Switzerland’s trademark direct democracy system makes it possibly the only country in Europe where both seem possible right now.

Did Jesus headline Glastonbury before Springsteen?

November 27, 2009

glastonburyJesus Christ may have visited an English town now renowned for a raucous modern-day music festival to meet ancient druids, a new film argues.  “And Did Those Feet” explores the theory that Jesus accompanied Joseph of Arimathea on a visit to the area around the southern English town of Glastonbury.

UK’s man at Vatican stresses ties that bind

November 6, 2009

campbellSpeaking against the background noise of exploding fireworks as Britons marked the failure of the Catholic Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot of 1605, Britain’s man at the Vatican, Francis Campbell, stressed the ties that bind his country and the Vatican on international relations.

Climate change debate spurs warm feelings in London

October 29, 2009

china-climateIt is rare that religion and science find agreement, but that is what happened when Britain’s Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spoke at a meeting on saving the earth from climate change.

Will Queen Elizabeth give the pope a warm welcome next year?

October 27, 2009

queenOne can guess what Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will say to Pope Benedict when the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion travels to the Vatican later this year. The more interesting question might be what  Queen Elizabeth is likely to say when she hosts the pope next year.

Global South Anglican bishops politely decline pope’s offer

October 25, 2009

bibleConservative bishops who say they represent almost half the world’s Anglicans urged fellow believers on Sunday to reform the Anglican Communion rather than take up Pope Benedict’s invitation to join the Roman Catholic Church.

Ruth Gledhill’s reflections on reporting about religion

October 23, 2009

gledhillCovering religion is unlike other assignments in journalism, as any reporter on the “Godbeat” can tell you. Ruth Gledhill (photo at right), veteran religion correspondent of The Times in London and fellow blogger (hers is called Articles of Faith), recently gave a short, witty and insightful talk on reporting about faith.

Britain muddles through with assisted suicide guidelines

September 24, 2009

purdyPressure is growing in Europe for some form of legalised euthanasia but few governments have gone as far as the Benelux countries in allowing assisted suicide in clearly defined cases. The mix of growing public support for ending lives of the terminally ill or brain dead but continued prohibitions on it in the law has led to some long and hard-fought legal battles in Italy (Eluana Englaro) and in France (Vincent Humbert).

Graying Britain looks to assisted suicide reform

By Farah Master
September 22, 2009

nitschkeIt used to be an issue just for the terminally ill. Now as populations around the world age, governments are increasingly being confronted with the taboo idea of dying as something people can volunteer to do.