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In the Press

  • More than one in five people have humanist beliefs and values, a new survey published today has revealed. The new research, conducted by YouGov, has found that 22% of people are non-religious, use science in place of faith to understand the universe, and take a non-religious approach to ethical decisions. The research is published following on from the fact that the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people, the British Humanist Association, has relaunched as Humanists UK.

    YouGov asked people three questions: about whether they use science or faith to understand the Universe; whether they take a consequentialist, absolutist, or entirely personal approach to ethical questions; and whether religion is required to understand right from wrong. Prior to that, people were also asked whether they regard themselves as belonging to any particular religion, and if they said none, whether they would describe themselves using any of several terms used to refer to non-religious people (including humanist).

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  • David Alton, a crossbench peer and former Liberal Democrat MP, is warning his party has become 'narrow and intolerant' after Tim Farron resigned claiming it was 'impossible' to be a 'faithful Christian' and political leader.

    In a damning indictment Lord Alton, an outspoken Catholic and former chief whip of the now defunct Liberal Party, said the Lib Dems have become a 'sect'.

    He wrote on Facebook: 'In turning themselves into a secular version of the Exclusive Brethren they become a sect rather than a broad based political party. And they should reflect that millions of British people share his Christian beliefs.'

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  • The Church of England is reporting a 14 per cent increase in numbers training for the priesthood, including a 17 per cent increase in women.

    The stats have been published as 543 men and women prepare to begin training for ordination at colleges across England.

    Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson, said, 'I am delighted at both the number and the range of those whom God has been calling into ordained ministry over the course of the past year.'

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  • The Evangelical Alliance has defended the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) after claims that it is intolerant.

    Writing in Premier Christianity magazine, Peter Lynas, Northern Ireland Director of EA, said there has been "a lot of irresponsible and uninformed comment about the DUP", which supports traditional marriage and opposes abortion.

    Talks are ongoing between the DUP and the Conservatives, who need the party's support to form a minority Government.

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  • "To be a political leader…and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me," said Tim Farron as he resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats. He certainly had a tough General Election campaign, being hounded for his essentially conservative views on abortion (he thought it "wrong") and homosexuality/same-sex marriage (he abstained at the third reading of the Bill over conscience protections). The fact that he changed his mind on both of these matters during the campaign only served to highlight the merciless bullying and intolerance of the liberal-left media (or, of course, the weakness of Farron's moral conviction and faith).

    "I am pro-choice. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal and that the limit should be set by science," he told the Guardian on 16th May. "I don't believe that gay sex is a sin,", he told BBC News on 25th April. "I definitely regret it… I would vote for equal marriage," he told the Observer on 17th May.

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  • Tim Farron has quit as leader of the Liberal Democrats, saying he felt "torn" between his faith and his position as a political leader.

    The evangelical leader announced his resignation on Wednesday night, saying he could not face continued questions over his beliefs.

    He said: "The consequences of the focus on my faith is that I have found myself torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader."

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  • Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has resigned his position because he is 'torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader'.

    The resignation follows close behind that of Lib Dem Shadow Home Secretary, Lord Paddick who tweeted he had stepped down 'over concerns about the leader's views on various issues that were highlighted during GE17'.

    Farron was repeatedly quizzed by interviewers about his views on homosexuality and at times appeared to struggle with the questioning before eventually saying he did not think gay sex was a sin.

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  • By a majority of 3-2 the Supreme Court has today dismissed the appeals of A and B, who challenged the legality of the Secretary of State for Health's failure to provide abortion services to women from Northern Ireland free on the NHS in England. Humanists UK intervened in the appeal in support of the appellants, and has expressed its disappointment at the outcome.

    The law governing abortion in Northern Ireland is one of the most restrictive in Europe such that abortion is unlawful in all but the most extreme cases. The criminal sanctions imposed in Northern Ireland are amongst the harshest in the world, with the maximum sentence being life imprisonment. The law does not however prohibit women resident in Northern Ireland from travelling to Britain to access abortion services. It is estimated that approximately 2,000 women do so every year – a situation countenanced and permitted by both the Northern Irish Assembly and central government – but they must pay up to £2,000 for those services privately.

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  • Theresa May has appointed an anti-LGBT MP with 'gay cure' links to the government.

    This Prime Minister has been reshuffling her front bench after the Conservative Party lost its majority in parliament in the June 8 General Election.

    While negotiating a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – a Northern Irish party which opposes LGBT rights – May appointed John Glen as Minister for Arts, Tourism and Heritage. 

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  • A Christian midwife filed her application with the European Court of Human Rights Wednesday against Sweden. Elinor Grimmark had to seek work in another country because she refused to participate in abortions. Because the Swedish courts have failed to recognize her freedom of conscientious objection, she is asking the European court to hear her case, Grimmark v. Sweden.

    "The desire to help bring life into this world is what leads many midwives and nurses to enter the medical profession in the first place. Instead of forcing desperately needed midwives out of a profession, governments should look to safeguard the moral convictions of medical staff," said ADF International Director of European Advocacy Robert Clarke. "Ellinor's case could determine whether people who value life at all stages of development will be able to pursue a medical career in the future. Sweden has failed to protect this midwife's fundamental right to freedom of conscience guaranteed by international law."

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