Anglican archbishops at odds over victimising LGBT people
Church leaders who have encouraged mistreatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) have defended their behaviour, after the archbishops of Canterbury and York reminded fellow-Anglicans of a pledge to offer pastoral care and support regardless of sexual orientation. Church of England senior clergy Justin Welby and John Sentamu wrote after harsh new laws were passed in Uganda and Nigeria.
Lobbying bill: silencing the public may not be so easy
The UK government may believe it has triumphed by overturning even the House of Lords’ modest amendments to the Lobbying Bill. When this becomes law, it will gravely damage democracy and human rights. But defenders of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association will not give up easily.
Nigerian archbishop attacks human rights, putting government before God
Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has praised Nigeria’s president for signing an anti-gay bill into law and criticised its opponents, according to a Channels Television news report. The new law, misleadingly called the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, goes far further in undermining human rights, contrary to Nigeria’s constitution and Christian values.
A special adviser on media and publicity to Nigeria’s president is trying to justify a brutally oppressive new law by claiming that it reflects national and religious values. Meanwhile signatures are being gathered for a petition asking the archbishops of Canterbury and York to speak out against this law. Overseas faith leaders may need to choose their words carefully if they are to be most effective.
Bill will not increase lobbying transparency, say lobbyists
A poll of lobbyists found that only four per cent believe that the lobbying bill will increase transparency. This widely-criticised measure may block voluntary and community organisations and trade unions from flagging up public concerns. But clearly it will not achieve what is supposed to be its main purpose – making lobbying more transparent.
84-year-old dies in handcuffs: xenophobia’s destructive power
Chief inspector of prisons Nick Hardwick accused staff at Harmondsworth removal centre of "a shocking lack of humanity" after two gravely ill men were kept in handcuffs. For 84-year-old Alois Dvorzac, who had dementia, these were not removed until after his heart stopped beating. Such cases show the damaging effects of xenophobia.
Some Nigerian Christian leaders have tried to defend a new law that violates human rights and is contrary to Jesus’ call to love one’s neighbour as oneself. All too often, churches are captive to the prejudices and power-games that dominate their society and era.
Chancellor plans further cuts while handful prosper
UK chancellor George Osborne is using divide-and-rule tactics to try to push through further cuts of around £25 billion over two years by 2017-18. This includes £12 billion in social security reductions. The poorest will be worst affected but, if he gets his way, many others currently struggling to cope with sharply rising prices and rents will be hit.