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In the Press

  • Russia's "gay propaganda" law is discriminatory and encourages homophobia, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

    The Strasbourg judges said Russia had discriminated against three gay rights activists who opposed the law. It was adopted in 2013, banning promotion of homosexuality among people under 18.

    The law "reinforced stigma and prejudice and encouraged homophobia", the ruling said.

    Read more.

  • Increasingly, gender therapists and physicians argue that children as young as nine should be given puberty-blocking drugs if they experience gender dysphoria.

    But a new article by three medical experts reveals that there is little scientific evidence to support such a radical procedure.

    The article, "Growing Pains: Problems with Puberty Suppression in Treating Gender Dysphoria," published Tuesday in The New Atlantis, discusses over 50 peer-reviewed studies on gender dysphoria in children.

    Read more.

  • A study lead by investigators at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) suggests that CRISPR gene-editing technology can introduce hundreds of unintended mutations into the human genome.

    The study, which has sparked concerns about the negative effects of gene-editing interventions, involved researchers sequenced the entire genome of mice that had undergone CRISPR gene editing in previous study into blindness. Researchers looked for all mutations, including those that only altered a single nucleotide.

    According to Kellie Schaefer, a Stanford PhD student and co-author of the study, the genomes of two independent gene therapy recipients had sustained more than 1,500 single-nucleotide mutations and more than 100 larger deletions and insertions. The earlier study had successfully corrected for blindness in the mice, but none of the DNA mutations were predicted by computer algorithms that are widely used by researchers to look for off-target effects.

    Read more.

  • The suspect in the Finsbury Park terror attack had expressed increasingly antagonistic views towards Muslims in the weeks following the recent London Bridge atrocity, it has emerged.

    Darren Osborne, 47, was arrested in the early hours of Monday on suspicion of driving a van into a crowd of Muslim worshippers in north London. He is alleged to have shouted "kill all Muslims" and "this is for London Bridge" in the wake of the attack.

    Muslim residents on the Cardiff estate where he lived with his partner and four children, claimed he had previously been friendly but said his attitude had changed in recent weeks.

    Read more.

  • Born biologically a girl, 15 year old Leo is one of the first children in Britain to be prescribed a new treatment - hormone blockers - to help him achieve what he feels is his natural gender identity of becoming a man.

    As he turns 16, we follow Leo as he faces big changes and life-changing decisions.

    Watch here.

  • A Church in Wales deacon has spent the day prior to her ordination fasting at a mosque. A Diocese of Bangor press release reports Sara Roberts spent Saturday 17 June 2017 "fasting with her Muslim colleagues and friends in their holy season of Ramadan." At the end of the day Ms Roberts joined an Iftar meal at the Bangor Islamic Centre to mark the end of the daytime fast during Ramadan.

    "There are many reasons why I am doing this," Ms. Roberts said. "[T]o show solidarity to our Muslim neighbours, to share in this powerful testament to faith, to contemplate my approaching ordination and what it means and to explore more deeply the relationship between food, prayer and connection to the Divine."

    Read more.

  • Today the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a challenge to Georgia's 20-week fetal pain abortion bill that had kept the 2012 law passed by the Georgia General Assembly from being enforced for the last five years.

    The fetal pain bill, so named because an unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks, made most abortions after 20-weeks illegal. During the lawsuit that lasted for the last five years, enforcement of this law has been on hold; but with the decision today, the law banning abortions after a fetus can feel pain is now the law of Georgia.

    Here's more on the victory against the ACLU lawsuit against the law.

    Read more.

  • Theresa May's Downing Street declaration that the Finsbury Park terrorist attack was "every bit as sickening" as Manchester and London Bridge and description of Islamophobia as another form of extremism marks a distinct and important change in rhetoric from the prime minister.

    The Queen's speech on Wednesday will include flagship legislation to confront the menace of extremism, especially Islamist extremism, including a statutory commission to identify and expose examples.

    May, throughout the election campaign and in her post-election speech on the steps of Downing Street a fortnight ago, made clear that the focus of her "drive against extremism" was aimed at radical Islamist ideology.

    Read more.

  • Humanists Laura Lacole and Eunan O'Kane have been granted legal authority by the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland to have their Humanists UK-accredited humanist celebrant be authorised to conduct a legal marriage ceremony.

    The decision follows a hearing at the court today on an appeal by Northern Ireland's Attorney General, General Register Office, and Department of Finance, against the landmark High Court ruling on 9 June which gave legal recognition to humanist marriages.

    Laura and Eunan's wedding will be the first legal humanist ceremony in Northern Ireland and the first in the UK outside of Scotland.

    Read more.

  • On Wednesday 14th June, like the rest of the UK, I awoke to the most harrowing pictures of Grenfell Tower on fire. Like many others, when the circumstances began to emerge around how 24 storeys could burn to the ground that easily, I was utterly speechless: How could something so simply prevented be happening in our day? Whilst I have plenty to say about it, my purpose here is not to unpack the politics behind what's happened, but to share a few thoughts on the response of English churches to this disaster, in particular, the response of the Church of England in which I am ordained. I am a curate in the Kensington Episcopal Area - in fact several miles out of town, but the diocese stretches out a long way.

    Unable to get over on Wednesday and Thursday, I was kept up to date by friends who live within sight of Grenfell, by social media and by emails to all the clergy in the area. It was clear to me that the churches were really stepping up, offering donation space, food, clothes and water. On Thursday, all the clergy received an email from Graham Tomlin, Bishop of Kensington, suggesting that if possible we should wear our dog-collars and walk through the streets, offering a listening ear and prayer for those who wanted it. He said that people were keen to talk.

    Read more.

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