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postheadericon ‘Society can turn against abortion, just like it rejected the slave trade’

‘Society can turn against abortion, just like it rejected the slave trade’

Advocates for unborn children need the compassion, resilience and ingenuity of 19th’ century anti-slavery campaigners to succeed in their’ 2’1 st century work, a writer and journalist has said.

In an article for The Gospel Coalition, US-based writer Gracy Olmstead highlighted how evangelical Christian William Wilberforce and his co-workers used culture to shift public perception eventually leading to the “monumental” .accomplishment of outlawing slavery. Wilberforce’s cheer and harisma drew people to his cause and his faith.

Noting similarities between slavery two hundred years ago and the abortion industry now, Olmstead said, “slavery was an accepted practice; while many believed it was wrong, most were willing to turn a blind eye”.

As a result, abolitionists focused on the cultural, social, and ideological factors that allowed slavery to exist and “turned themselves passionately and primarily to public awareness, cultural causes, and grassroots campaigns”.

Alongside tireless efforts in Parliament to change the law, they used music, poetry, plays and even a boycott of West Indian sugar to slowly turn the tide away from an acceptance of slavery.

“In a world that disdained the goody-two-shoes sincerity of dedicated Christians, Wilberforce’s cheer and charisma drew people to his cause and: his faith.”

Other campaigns on the humane treatment of animals, child prostitution and female infanticide were addressed not to make an anti-slavery stance popular, but because he was “determined to fight oppression, injustice, and suffering in all its forms”.

Olmstead concluded: “If we’re” going to compare the pro-life movement to the abolitionist cause, we’re going to need leaders like Wilberforce”. She added, “we’re going to need tender culture warriors and humanitarians, winsome orators and artists”.

William Wilberforce was born in Hull in 1759. After becoming an evangelical Christian in the 1780s, he campaigned fiercely in Parliament against slavery. It was his effort that led to the passing of the Slave Trade Act of 1807, ending Britain’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.

In July 1833 – just 3 days before Wilberforce’s death – the Slavery Abolition Act was passed, granting freedom to slaves in the British Empire.

 Christian Institute – 25th January 2018

 

postheadericon Navratilova: ‘Letting men compete against women is insane and it’s cheating’

Navratilova: ‘Letting men compete against women is insane and it’s cheating’

Tennis great Martina Navratilova has said it is “insane” that men who say they are women are allowed to participate in women’s sport. The vocal homosexual rights campaigner was harassed on social media by a transgender cyclist after she said, “You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women.” After being branded ‘transphobic’ in December, Navratilova promised to keep quiet until she had done more research. “Well, I’ve now done that and, if anything, my views have strengthened.”

Advantage

Writing for The Sunday Times, nine times Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles champion Navratilova said trans athletes’ advantage over biological women is not negated by reducing hormone levels – the prescription most sports have adopted. “A man builds up muscle and bone density, as well as a greater number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, from childhood.” “Indeed, if a male were to change gender, in such a way as to eliminate any accumulated advantage, he would have to begin hormone treatment before puberty.”

‘Cheating’

She said: “To put the argument at its most basic: a man can decide to be female, ta.ke hormones if required by whatever sporting organisation is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a ,small fortune and then reverse his decision to go back to making babies if he so desires.” Canadian cyclist Rachel McKinnon was 6ft tall and weighed more than 14 stone when he controversially won the women’s Masters Track Cycling World Championships in October. “If girls and women can never win, they will leave sport in droves.”

‘Science, not ideology’

New guidelines introduced by the International Olympic Committee in 2016 allow men identifying as women to compete once they have reduced their testosterone to an agreed level.

Nicola Williams, from women’s rights group Fair Play for Women (FPW), called for current guidelines to be reviewed on the basis of “science, not ideology”. She said: “We are approaching a decision point because there will soon be more Rachel McKinnons, but without fair competition, sport becomes meaningless. “If girls and women can never win, they will leave sport in droves.”

Unwilling to debate

Rachel McKinnon found himself at the centre of another controversy this week after it emerged he refused to debate Williams on BBC Radio 5 Live. The BBC had originally invited Williams to discuss Navratilova’s comments on transgender participation in sport. but the. invitation was withdrawn when McKinnon said he would only appear on the show if Williams was not allowed to debate with him. He said the BBC should not take FPW seriously, and compared the women’s rights group to the Ku Klux Klan. The BBC said Williams was offered a segment later in the programme, or to respond in a subsequent show, but she declined.

Christian Institute – 20th February 2019

 

postheadericon LGBT education push leaves Jews feeling forced out

LGBT education push leaves Jews feeling forced out

Jewish parents are warning that many families may leave the UK if the Government presses ahead with guidance covering same-sex relationships and gender reassignment. Members of the strictly Orthodox Haredi community now say that they would rather leave the country than see their children taught “alternative lifestyles”.

The Christian Institute has said the guidance “confuses respect for people (which is always right) with respect for beliefs or behaviour.” The advice for independent schools states they will not meet standards if they suggest “that same-sex marriages or civil partnerships should not be recognised as being lawful unions under civil law.”

But lawyers for one Jewish parent wrote to Damien Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, to warn: “Many members of the community would choose to leave the United Kingdom for a more hospitable jurisdiction rather than comply with such an obligation to mention homosexuality or gender reassignment in a positive context at school.”

Ofsted is also insisting that the schools teach about homosexuality and transgender issues despite them holding opposing religious beliefs. The education watchdog’s head, Amanda Spielman, has accused Orthodox Jewish schools of “accommodating intolerance”.

Head teachers are seriously concerned. One, whose female pupils were subjected to intrusive personal questions about sex following a complaint from secularist campaigners Humanists UK, wrote to the Prime Minister to object. “It is hugely disappointing that a fringe pressure group can influence so-called independent bodies in this way. Our community has been targeted consistently and our staff and students are being intimidated by the deliberate disregard for cultural sensitivities.”

In 2017 Vishnitz Girls School faced the threat of closure for refusing to teach its young girls about transgender issues. Despite Ofsted describing the school as “clearly focused on teaching pupils to respect everybody, regardless of beliefs and lifestyle”, it failed the independent schools standards. And Rabbi Anthony Adler, from Beis Soroh Schneirer, said: “We teach our children British values such as the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance, but we will not spell out alternative lifestyles.”

John Denning, Education Officer at The Christian Institute, said: “The Department of Education must respect the religious liberty of parents and the schools they choose to teach about moral issues in accordance with their faith. and not impose secular humanist values.”

 

Christian Institute 25th January 2019

 

postheadericon Church of England schools will include biblical marriage in sex education

Church of England schools will include biblical marriage in sex education

Church of England schools will promote biblical marriage within Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) lessons) its Chief Education Officer has said.

Revd Nigel Genders’ comments came in a blog post explaining the CofE’s response to the Government’s recent RSE consultation.

The consultation, which closed last month, asked for views on how RSE lessons could be improved.

‘Good gifts’

Genders said: “Healthy relationships and sex are good gifts from God and should bring joy”, before explaining that “the Christian understanding of marriage” is the context for sexual relationships.

He said that in Church of England schools, RSE “will be rooted in the teachings of the Church”.

He added that abstinence and celibacy should also be taught as “positive life choices”.

The Church’s consultation response also says that while biblical marriage is “the perfect context” for a sexual relationship, pupils should also be taught about different kinds of sexual relationships, and that different views on sex must be respected.

Church teaching

The Church of England’s official position on marriage, based on Genesis 2, says it is “a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace”.

CofE canon law on holy matrimony states: “marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side, for the procreation and nurture of children”.

Christian Institute – 15.3.18

 

postheadericon Scots trans schools guidance ignores needs of other children

Scots trans schools guidance ignores needs of other children

A women’s campaign group has warned that Scotland’s new guidance for schools on ‘Supporting Transgender Young. People’ may have negative impacts on other children. Women and Girls in Scotland (WGS) raised concerns that the comfort of transgender students “seems to take precedence” over that of girls. They said it is not clear in the guidance that “due consideration” has been given to “the interests of other young people who are not trans”.

‘Compromising’

The document, which was issued late last year in partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland and Scottish Trans Alliance, states that teachers do not need to inform parents if their child wishes to change gender. The guidance also states that trans students should be allowed to use the toilets and changing facilities of their choice, and stay in overnight accommodation with opposite sex students. If parents or children object to, this, teachers are to remind them of “the school’s ethos of inclusion, equality and respect”. WGS said that allowing male-bodied pupils to share these intimate spaces with girls would be “potentially compromjsing their right to privacy and dignity”.

‘Discomfort

The group said that under the new guidance there was likely to be ‘discomfort’ experienced by other students who identify as their biological sex. They said: “The guidance does not acknowledge any objections that young people or their parent(s)/carer(s) may have to sharing facilities with a transgender young person”. And it makes “no mention of the need to evaluate their inclusion on the basis of fairness and safety for the benefit of all young people taking part”.

Exclude and marginalise

Religious children could also be negatively impacted as the guidance could exclude and marginalise them from school life. WGS added, other children .are “being expected to forgo their rights and their boundaries” for the benefit of a minority. Revd David Robertson, former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, said: “The advice in the guidance is harmful and totalitarian and the adoption of the radical transgender agenda is an attack on women. It’s about time that others spoke up.”

 

Christian Institute – 7th February 2019.

 

postheadericon Bishop calls for ban on Premier League gambling ads

Bishop calls for ban on Premier League gambling ads

 A bishop is challenging the Premier League by calling for betting firms’ logos to be banned from football shirts. The Bishop of St Albans, Right Revd Alan Smith, has tabled a motion in the General Synod to stop children being “groomed into gambling”.

The CofE’s ruling body will debate the motion later this month and decide whether it will put pressure on the Premier League to ban betting companies from becoming shirt sponsors.

‘Groomed into gambling’

Bishop Smith said that banning gambling firms from sponsoring shirts and pitch-side hoardings would help counter the growing numbers of child gamblers. Last month, he called it a “generational scandal” that around 55,000 children in the UK are problem gamblers. Now he adds: “I know families who will not let their children watch football matches on TV because they feel their children are being groomed into gambling.” “We have changed the enjoyment of sport from sport in itself to something that’s to do with money and betting.”

‘Normalising’

.Bishop Smith also warned that the “FA and others need to wake up very quickly to how damaging this is going to be”. He added, the Church’s worry is that “we are as a nation sleepwalking into something by normalising and socialising a whole generation of people with no idea where it might go”.

The motion to be discussed at the General Synod also proposes a mandatory requirement for gambling firms to carry out research into the scale of the problem, and to fund education programmes and treatment for addicts.

Benefits

Bishop Smith indicated the positive effects that a logo ban could have on the sports clubs. “If you think of the values that clubs want to promote in terms of their community role, does a betting sponsor sit four square behind that?    .

“Ultimately a ban could benefit them and their role in the community.”

Christian Institute – 5th February 2019

postheadericon ‘British values’ agenda criticised by Bishop of London

‘British values’ agenda criticised by Bishop of London

Government efforts to promote ‘British values’ in schools could play a part in turning the State into an “ideologically driven Big Brother”, the Bishop of London has warned.

Speaking on Thursday, the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, raised concerns over
the attempt to “enlist schools in the communication of ‘British values’ as a way of combating ‘extremism”’.

He suggested that the State should support religious freedom, but that it should not pry into everyday affairs.

Big Brother

“The business of the State is to ensure that the living traditions in our pluralist society have space
to flourish without the State itself being drawn into the role of an ideologically driven Big Brother, profligate with ever more detailed regulation”, he said.

In a message delivered at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Bishop touched on the issue of human rights and said that while an “insistence” on individual rights had been valuable, that now needed to be reassessed.

Schools in England have been required to “actively promote” British values since 2014.

Intrusive

Pressure from The Christian Institute, MPs and others forced the Government to issue new guidance to all schools setting out that it is respect for people – rather than their beliefs – that schools need to promote.

However, in its inspections Ofsted have subjected some children in faith schools to intrusive questions.

Now the Government is considering giving Ofsted the power to investigate non-school settings such as church youth work under the Conservatives’ British values drive.

Christian Institute 29th March 2016

 

postheadericon Ofsted Head’s comments on The Christian Institute

Ofsted Head’s comments on The Christian Institute

In a speech to Anglican school leaders today about ‘extremists’ who ‘pervert’ education, Chief  Inspector of Schools Amanda Spielman referred to The Christian Institute. As reported on the front page of today’s Times, she said:

“Rather than adopting a passive liberalism that says ‘anything goes’ for fear of causing offence, school leader should be promoting a muscular liberalism.” .

“It means not assuming that the most conservative voices in a particular faith speak for everyone – imagine if people thought the Christian Institute was the sole voice of Anglicanism. And it means schools must not be afraid to call out practices, whatever their justification, that limit young people’s experiences and learning in school.”

Just because you oppose theological liberalism doesn’t mean you also oppose democratic liberalism. There seems to be some confusion here.

Indeed we fear that some Ofsted inspectors will interpret the call for ‘muscular liberalism’ as a call for more aggressive secularism.

We genuinely hope that Ofsted will promote the Great British tradition of democratic liberalism.

At its heart such liberalism means the freedom to disagree.

The Christian Institute which is non-denominational – has been a strong critic of Ofsted. Perhaps that’s why we get a mention. We have disagreed with the way in which some Ofsted inspectors have gone about their work. For example demanding that Vishnitz – an Orthodox Jewish School – should be promoting transgender rights to five-year-olds. Anyone reading that inspection report will see how inspectors can be unhelpfully ‘muscular’.

There have also been cases of unprofessional conduct where inspectors have asked teachers their personal views on same-sex marriage.

Clearly there is a problem of religious literacy.

Social liberalism is a particular viewpoint, whereas the tradition of British liberalism is about the freedom to disagree. Ofsted inspectors need to know the difference.

Please pray for us as we respond to Ofsted.

Pray that the concerns of Christian parents and teachers will be heard.

Thank God that the Government has not backed giving Ofsted power to inspect Sunday schools

Colin Heart – Director of the Christian Institute

1st February 2018

 

 

postheadericon 245 million Christians suffering high levels of persecution

245 million Christians suffering high levels of persecution

A new report by Open Doors has revealed the extent of Christian persecution around the world. The 2019 report reveals the number of Christians experiencing high levels of persecution reached 245 million. Its annual World Watch List details the 50 countries where persecution is at its worst.

Open Doors estimates over 4,300 Christians were killed because of their faith over the last year, though the true figure is thought to be much higher, with friends and relatives said to be afraid to report killings. Most of these deaths occurred in North. and Central Nigeria, where 3,700 Christians were killed for their faith, including 1,885 in ‘genocidal’ acts in Plateau state.

Levels of persecution in Nigeria are categorised as ‘very high’, but despite the violence, the country is only twelfth on the World Watch List. Persecution is thought to be ‘extreme’ in eleven countries, including India, which overtakes Syria to make the top ten for the first time. In Asia an estimated 140 million Christians – one in three – are persecuted.

In the previous year’s report, around 215 million Christians were said to have experienced persecution across 58 countries, but they now experience high levels of persecution in 73 countries worldwide.

Persecution in China was said to be receding in 2017, but it is on-the rise-once again, with the country-jumping–
from 43 in last year’s list to 27 in 2019. President Xi Jinping has considerably tightened control of religious affairs in the last year, with new rules dubbed “the most restrictive in 13 years”.

CEO of Open Doors UK and Ireland Henrietta Blyth said: “Our research uncovers a shocking increase in the persecution of Christians globally. “In China our figures indicate persecution is the worst it’s been in more than a decade – alarmingly, some church leaders are saying it’s the worst since the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976.
“Worldwide, our data reveals that 13.9 per cent more Christians are experiencing high levels of persecution than last year. That’s 30 million more people.”

The report was presented to MPs at the World Watch List’s parliamentary launch yesterday. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “I think it is an extraordinary figure that almost a quarter of a billion people are suffering persecution today because of their Christian faith. “It is also extraordinary to think that’ 80 per cent of people suffering persecution because of their faith are Christian.” He said it should always be high on the list of priorities for Foreign Office ministers to raise the issue of persecution in countries where it is happening.

The Christian Institute – 18th January 2019

postheadericon Council backs faith school freedom in sex education

Council backs faith school freedom in sex education.

The Government has been urged to allow faith schools to teach sex education in accordance with their religious ethos by councillors in a London borough.

Barnet Council unanimously backed a motion calling for tolerance to be shown to people of faith.

The Government has just concluded a “call for evidence” on the new primary school Relationships Education subject, and on. secondary school Relationships and Sex Education. A full consultation will follow.         ;

‘Tolerance and understanding’

Cllr Brian Gordon, who put forward the motion, said: “In the same way children should be taught not to harbour prejudice and hatred and violent desires towards others, tolerance and understanding has to be shown towards people’s religions and their values.

“It is wrong, and I would say counter-productive, for faith schools to be penalised or marked down for failure to teach particular aspects of sex and sexuality counter to their religious ethos.”

Councillors from across all parties backed the motion.

‘Different types of relationships’

A spokesman for the Department of Education said it was important that sex education is taught in all schools and added: “Our guidance will support schools in ensuring that teaching is appropriate to the age and religious background of pupils.”

Ciaran Kelly, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, said: “It’s a welcome intervention, but the scope of Government proposals is not limited to faith schools or even to sex-ed. Relationships education will apply to all primary schools in England.

“Children as young as four will be taught about ‘different types of relationships’, which could include homosexuality, transsexualism and same-sex marriage. But the Government has said there will be no parental opt-out.”

The Christian Institute 22nd February 2018