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In the Press

  • Are there any matters of principle, do you reckon, that Tim Farron isn't prepared to give up on under pressure from a television journalist? After caving under repeated questioning from Channel 4's Cathy Newman (how brave, Cathy!) to declare that he does not, in fact, consider homosexual acts to be sinful, he's now had to conform again, this time on abortion. In an interview with ITV, he said he strongly believed that 'when procedures takes place, it should be safe and it should be legal,' and supported the law as it stands. Pressed on his personal view, he said: 'Again, what one believes in one's personal private faith is just that.' A spokesman has also made clear that Farron supports a woman's right to abortion.

    What's monstrous of course is that he's being subjected to this kind of interrogation; it's a kind of field sport for interviewers to torment Tim Farron about faith and morals, a bit like grilling Labour frontbenchers about the cost of their manifesto commitments. What fun to watch him squirm, and get a paid-up working-class Christian to conform to the standard secularist take on these things. But he doesn't put up much of a fight, does he? He wouldn't do terribly well, I reckon, if he was one of those Middle Eastern Christians being tormented by IS, or a sixteenth-century Catholic being asked to declare that Henry VIII is in fact head of the church.

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  • Charlotte Lozier Institute experts criticized a new study on the purported safety of self-administered, self-reported abortions, calling it dangerously flawed.

    Two of the authors of the study, published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal, were affiliated with Women on Web, a pro-abortion activist group that illegally sends abortion drugs by mail to women in countries where abortion is prohibited or limited, without any in-person evaluation by a doctor. Women on Web provided abortion drugs to women in Ireland and Northern Ireland for the study and supplied all the data and follow-up information.

    Women on Web is linked to Women on Waves, an abortion boat that sails around performing abortion on international waters.

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  • George Grant is the Conservative Party's parliamentary candidate in Bradford West. He also happens to be a Christian, and is thereby excluded from Bradford's Muslim Women's Council General Election hustings, which appears to be restricted to Muslim candidates (or is it female and Muslim candidates?)

    Labour has held Bradford West for the past four decades, save for a momentary intervention in 2012 by George Galloway's Respect Party with grateful assistance from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAK UK). "God KNOWS who is a Muslim and he KNOWS who is not. I, George Galloway, do not drink and never have," wrote Mr Galloway on his election literature. "I'm a better Pakistani than (Labour's Imran Hussain) will ever be," he declared at his campaign launch. "God knows who's a Muslim and who is not. And a man that's never out of the pub shouldn't be going around telling people you should vote for him because he's a Muslim."

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  • Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has said for the first time that he is "pro-choice" after the Guardian confronted him with an old interview where he described abortion as "wrong".

    Speaking about his faith soon after he had become the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale in Cumbria, Mr Farron told the Salvation Army's magazine: "Take the issue of abortion. Personally I wish I could argue it away. Abortion is wrong. Society has to climb down from the position that says there is nothing objectionable about abortion before a certain time. If abortion is wrong, it is wrong at any time."

    U-turn
    When asked his views on the subject at the beginning of the election campaign, Mr Farron said that he supported a woman's right to an abortion, but stopped short of definitively endorsing it.

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  • Lori Szala's recent op-ed in the New York Times tells a beautiful story. When she became pregnant as a senior in high school, she decided to keep her baby despite intense pressure from many around her to have an abortion. Having a child wasn't economically viable or socially responsible, she was told. She went so far as to schedule the procedure, but when a friend who'd previously had an abortion told her of the depression and suicidal thoughts she experienced afterward, Szala canceled the appointment.

    That's when her family and community stepped in. With daunting challenges facing her as a young mom—finishing high school, enrolling in college, and supporting herself and her new son—caring people came alongside her to help weather the challenges. "While my time as a single parent was not easy," she writes, "we got by, and today my life is nothing like the one predicted by that chorus of pessimism 29 years ago."

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  • The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has called on people not be frightened or cowed by the General Election or Brexit.

    In a statement marking the 60th Anniversary of Christian Aid week, the charity of which he is chair, he defended Britain's foreign aid budget and urged the country to look outwards as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

    He said: "Britain's political and social landscape is in flux. We face great choices about the soul and future of our nation. For many it is a time of uncertainty and fear, for others an opportunity for change and optimism."

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  • Austria has banned wearing a full facial veil in public places, the latest move by a European country to restrict expressions of Muslim identity viewed as contrary to Western secular values. The decision immediately drew criticism from rights advocates and from representatives of Austria’s Muslim community.

    Under the new legislation, approved by Parliament on Tuesday, women who wear clothing that covers their faces, such as burqas or niqabs, in places like universities, public transportation or courthouses will face fines of 150 euros, or about $167. The measure will take effect in October.

    The ban is part of legislation aimed at improving the integration of immigrants, according to Muna Duzdar, a state secretary in the office of Chancellor Christian Kern. Other elements of the legislation include mandatory integration courses, German-language lessons and requirements that asylum seekers do unpaid work while awaiting the processing of their claims. Under the new law, migrants who do not meet the requirements could see their welfare benefits slashed.

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  • The Liberal Democrats have published their education manifesto. Here is a full list of the party's schools policies.
    Stop the education cuts – fair funding for all schools

    1. Reverse cuts to frontline school budgets, protecting per pupil funding in real terms

    2. Introduce a fairer national funding system with a protection for all schools

    3. Protect the pupil premium

    Teachers – our biggest asset in education

    4. End the 1 per cent cap on teachers' pay rises

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  • A gender non-binary couple have taken part in a fiery debate on Good Morning Britain (GMB) as they defended their identities.

    Just days after a top London private school announced it was considering introducing its first gender neutral uniform, Northamptonshire Police unveiled a gender-neutral cap, and on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Fox and Owl appeared on GMB to explain what it means to be gender non-binary.

    Fox Fisher was assigned the gender of female at birth and later began undergoing a gender transition but "realised I was going from one set of expectations to another set of expectations, because there are extreme expectations for men and women in this world."

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  • The Liberal Democrats have been forced to deny claims they are against abortion after comments emerged from party leader Tim Farron saying the practice was "wrong".

    Mr Farron, a practising Christian, gave an interview to a Salvation Army publication in 2007, saying: "Take the issue of abortion. Personally I wish I could argue it away. Abortion is wrong," The Guardian reported.

    He added: "Society has to climb down from the position that says there is nothing objectionable about abortion before a certain time. If abortion is wrong, it is wrong at any time."

    Read more.

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