Christian News from Scotland

News stories from Scotland and beyond

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Adoption Law Delay "Meaningless"

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has described the offer to delayed implementation of the Equalities Act to faith-based adoption agencies as meaningless.

He said "It will be no easier for Catholic agencies to act contrary to conscience in 21 months time than it is now.

The spokesman said he was disappointed with the announcement that no exemptions would be permitted for faith based groups and planned to study the new regulations to see if there was any way the adoption agencies can continue.

At present it would appear that faith-based adoption agencies, if they follow their beliefs, are likely to be de-registered for not complying with the new regulations - somewhat reminiscent of the experience of the church in certain former Soviet countries!

The spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church also stated "This decision has wide ramifications. The issue of Catholic adoption agencies is just the tip of the iceberg.

"These regulations could compel religious organisations either to renounce their activities or be removed from public life."

The spokesman also accused the prime minister of undermining the Scottish Executive while ignoring the appeals of religious leaders in order to "placate a powerful lobby group".

The Catholic Church in Scotland said it had been given assurances in December when the executive passed a bill allowing same-sex adoption that it could continue to set criteria blocking gay couples - but those assurances could fall foul of Westminster's Equality Act.

The Equality Act, due to come into effect in England, Wales and Scotland in April, outlaws discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexual orientation.

Gay lobbying groups and some MPs have argued that there could be no exemption for discrimination on faith grounds. Other MP's point out that there are always exemptions.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Adoption Agencies may Close

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has warned that its adoption agencies might have to close because of new gay rights laws at Westminster.

It is claimed the new legislation would take precedence over Holyrood's own recently-enacted adoption reforms.

A Scottish Executive spokesman had given an assurance that its laws would not affect the ability of faith-based adoption agencies to continue operating, although he acknowledged the new Westminster legislation could change that situation.

Mario Conti, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, issued a public plea to First Minister Jack McConnell to put the church's concerns to Tony Blair and other UK ministers. One way to resolve the issue, he said, would be for Westminster to bring in follow-up legislation which would allow couples in civil partnerships to adopt, without requiring all adoption agencies to change their existing practice.

The archbishop told the First Minister: "Unless the equality legislation' is amended in so far as it affects adoption agencies, and exceptions made to cover this and other areas of conscience, it is unlikely that Catholic adoption agencies will survive."

He insisted this was not a threat or attempted blackmail, but a recognition that their adoption agencies would be unlikely to keep their registered status.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Permission to Demolish

Councillors at a planning meeting in Wick Assembly Rooms on 22 January 2007 granted planning permission to Norscot Joinery to demolish a former church building in Castletown, Caithness, and build four blocks of flats comprising 16 houses.

Built in 1843, the church building has been described as an example of a double gabled church in the Caithness style.

There were no objections from any of the public agencies or the public and the Castletown Community Council welcomed the development of much needed low cost housing in the town.

One of the recommendations in granting the application was that the developer used local stone in the detailing of the building.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Churches call for gay adoption exemptions

The Church of England has backed the Roman Catholic Churches in England Wales in their bid to be exempt from laws on adoption by gay couples.

Roman Catholic church leaders say their teachings prevent its agencies placing children with homosexuals and they will close if bound by the rules.

The Equality Act, due to come into effect in Scotland, England and Wales in April, seeks to force organisations to offer all services to all people regardless of the beliefs of the organisation or personal belief.

Read more on the BBC News website

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

On Thursday 3rd May 2007 Scotland goes to the polls to elect MSP's to a new Parliament and councillors to "represent" us in the various local councils around the country. This may seem a while away, but our politicians are already preparing for battle!

It may be timely to start doing homework on how those standing for election view the concept of freedom of faith, freedom of speech and freedom of worship in this country - freedoms which were won a cost by people such as our covenanting forefathers.

The following incident was reported last year:-

On 13 January 2006 the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, said in a sermon that the moral teaching of the church was being undermined. The Archbishop said that he and other "bishops are very concerned at the way in which the institution of marriage is undermined, and the family, which should be at the very centre of the state's concern, marginalised." He went on to say that: "Recent legislation to introduce civil partnerships dangerously weakens the uniqueness of marriage as a time-honoured, legally-recognised and protected social reality and a fiscally-privileged entity. It also implicitly places homosexual acts on a plane of moral equivalence to marital love."1 The Archbishop also pointed out that Pope Paul VI in his Humanae Vitae "warned about the dangers of separating conjugal love from procreation".2

The Green MSP and gay-rights activist, Patrick Harvie, wrote to the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police asking him to investigate the Archbishop's remarks believing they should be prosecuted. Patrick Harvie said: "What he [Conti] said was clearly homophobic. This is a matter for the police."3

Ronnie Convery, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Glasgow, replied that "This particular publicity stunt is not worthy of serious consideration... It does however show once more that there are none so intolerant as the so-called champions of tolerance." He added it was the duty of bishops to preach the truth and "Attempts to bully them, and ultimately gag them... are a disgraceful attack on our traditions of free speech and religious freedom."4

References Web Links
Read more about attacks on religious liberties in the UK (and beyond) here

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Campaign against Regulations

2,000 protestors outside Parliament
About 2,000 people protested outside Parliament last night.

The House of Lords last night failed in an attempt to annul the Sexual Orientation Regulations for Northern Ireland. The motion was rejected by 199 votes to 68.

The Christian Institute is going ahead with legal action against the Northern Ireland regulations. This will be heard in March and, if it succeeds, will result in the regulations being quashed.

Last night's result was not unexpected. Labour and the Liberal Democrats whipped their Peers to vote against the motion while Conservative Peers were given a free vote.

There has been wide-spread media coverage of the issue, acknowledging many examples of how these laws could interfere with religious freedom.

The regulations for Scotland, England and Wales have not been published yet. It is not known what form they will take but, hopefully, the controversy surrounding the Northern Ireland regulations will help put pressure on the Government to address Christian concerns.

Read a report in The Herald here

Watch a report from BBC News:
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Read further reports from the Daily Mail, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent.