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In the news this week ...

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William Crawley | 10:06 UK time, Wednesday, 16 February 2011

These are some of the week's big religion and ethics news stories. You can talk about the stories on this thread and suggest others.

Religion stories
Sentamu: don't force churches to conduct gay weddings
Orthodox church sues over temple destroyed on 9/11
Muslims mark Muhammad's birthday on Tuesday and Sunday

Ethics in the news
The Moral Maze: "Who should be allowed to marry?"
Sex offenders to get right of appeal against lifetime registration
Oxford ethicist argues for designer babies with high IQs
Is South Dakota set to legalise the murder of abortion providers?
Sacked Christian doctor says he may sue Home Office
Peter Tatchell: Full pardon urged for gay offenders
Scott Mills documentary: The World's Worst Place to Be Gay?
Ian McEwan calls for voluntary euthanasia law.
The infidelity economy
Government advisor calls for war on pseudo-science
Silvio Berlusconi faces Ruby sex charge trial in April
Japan halts whale hunt after chase by protesters
Whales and dolphins - 'resource' or 'right'?

Thinking allowed
Why Tunis, Why Cairo?
Libya: Protests 'rock city of Benghazi'
Congo: the world's most under-reported crisis
Mind vs. Machine: what does it mean to be human?
A Dictionary of Modern English Usage: a landmark
Mark Twain: his own best straight man


  • Comment number 1.

    I hate to say 'I told you so'.... actually, who am I kidding? I love it!

    I knew all this because I checked my horoscope. And the magic water I drank made me feel better about it.

  • Comment number 2.

    If churches refuse to recognize that gays should be treated equally then it is incumbent upon the state to intervene. There will probably be some "opt-out" for churches, but for how long will churches be allowed to act in a way which treats gays as unworthy citizens?

  • Comment number 3.

    Interesting reference made in the "Muslims mark Muhammad's birthday"link.

    Muhammad is quoted as declaring "The ink of the scholar is more precious than the blood of the martyr". I hope this message gets through to those in the Muslim world whose actions are inspired by hate and violence. I guess it goes to show -not even a faith that holds such a tight grip over the faithful can dissuade some from human cruelty & the killing others to venerate themselves

  • Comment number 4.


    The way I understand it the churches who want to carry out CP's will have to opt in (ie apply for permission) which will effectively protect them from litigation unless they opt in and then only carry out opposite sex cp's.

    However I do agree with the general thrust of your post.

  • Comment number 5.


    There was a discussion on this subject in tonight's Moral Maze on Radio 4. Clifford Longley asked a senior C of E chap if the UK should adopt a system similar to France's, where their is a clear separation between a state marriage and a church marriage. It is the "proprietorial" role of the C of E that adds to the problem, he continued - Christian ideals will always he a prime consideration in marriage despite people increasingly turning away from Christianity.


  • Comment number 6.

    Obama coming to Great Britain on a State visit. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12497265

    Presumably everyone will be up in arms at the cost and suggesting that Americans living in Britain should pay for it all.

  • Comment number 7.


    Unlike the Pope, Barack Obama is elected, accountable and actually does something for a living.

    Unlike the Vatican, the USA contributes productively to the economy of the UK.

    Unlike the Catholic Church, the USA prosecutes criminals and doesn't just hide them in another parish.

  • Comment number 8.

    If a head of state, say the ruler of Saudi Arabia, pays the UK a visit, does he need to fulfill certain criteria before public funds are approved for his visit?

  • Comment number 9.

    I seem to recall the Holy Father being elected. Big piazza, lot's of cheering people and a few scowling liberals, bells, white smoke. And I think he's very accountable - God expects a lot of him. And I suspect he works at least as hard as Obama - probably harder as he didn't slip off to play golf like Obama does. And I think the Catholics of Great Britain contribute a fair bit to the British economy.

  • Comment number 10.


    Did you elect the pope? Did you elect the people who elected the pope? Did you get a say in the descision taken by the people who elected the pope? Can a woman be pope? Can a woman elect the pope? By saying he's accountable to god do you have evidence of previous popes who've been called up by god for doing something wrong?

    The Vatican makes pretence at being a nation state but it's as much of a nation as Microsoft, or the Boy Scout Movement.

    I'm sure he does work hard. All that praying and sermon giving. Rolling around in the tithes from people who are not only burdened with the taxes of their government but an obligation to support the bloated, cancerous growth of an organisation with no accountability whatsoever.

  • Comment number 11.

    The Pope is elected by 120 cardinals. The US President is elected by 536 delegates. Did I get a say in the election of the Pope? As a Catholic I affirm the election process by believing it is appropriate and inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    No, of course a woman can't be Pope.

    The Holy See's credentials as a State are accepted by other States - that's all you need really. Let me know when other States accept Microsoft or the Boys Scouts as a State.

    Catholics don't pay tithes. Any contributions we give are given freely.

  • Comment number 12.

    Read Geoffrey Robertson's book on "the case of the pope" if you really want to know about the validity of the Holy See as a state and how it uses or misuses that power - very illuminating.

  • Comment number 13.

    If by illuminating you mean a tissue of rubbish

  • Comment number 14.

    @mccamleyc :
    Appreciate your posts.
    It really doesn't seem to matter sometimes how one responds to another's post if that person has a certain mindset, but I appreciate your faithfulness in trying.
    And again, I know that at least in America, visiting heads of state are not denied use of public funds for their reception on the basis of being democratically elected.That would rule out Queen Elizabeth, no doubt.And we've very much enjoyed her visits.

  • Comment number 15.

    MCC : *a tissue of rubbish*

    is that just your opinion or have you anything to back it up??
    I hardly think he is likely to put his name to a book that is a 'tissue of rubbish' but rather has been researched and facts provided. Of course I can understand why you may find it all a bit hard to swallow .....

  • Comment number 16.

    Robertson makes a particularly good point when he states:

    "Even after the Easter 2010 scandals, Benedict has not required bishops to report child sex abuse, and his Canon Law decree of "New Norms" in July 2010 deliberately omitted any mandatory reporting obligation, providing more evidence that he has become a 'problem pope'."

    Benedict is clearly still going soft on priestly perverts.


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