Civil rights campaigners are angry that ministers have approved plans to allow Sharia councils in Britain the right to settle disputes regarding money, property and access to children.
They say such tribunals are institutions for male domination which treat women like second-class citizens.
Couples who choose to use the Sharia system must get the ruling rubber-stamped by a judge sitting in an ordinary family court.
But neither party has to attend this hearing and approval can be obtained by filling in a two-page application.
The endorsement of Sharia was announced to MPs by Bridget Prentice, a junior minister, in answer to a parliamentary question.
She said Sharia councils would still have no jurisdiction in England, and rulings by religious authorities would have no legal force.
But she added: “If, in a family dispute dealing with money or children, the parties to a judgement in Sharia council wish to have this recognised by English authorities, they are at liberty to draft a consent order embodying the terms of the agreement and submit it to an English court. This allows English judges to scrutinise it to ensure that it complies with English legal tenets.”
Campaigners condemned the plans as unacceptable and said that the rulings were not compatible with English law, while the Conservatives insisted that should be safeguards for women.
Nick Herbert, the shadow justice secretary, said: “There can be no place for parallel legal systems in our country.
“It is vital that in matrimonial disputes where a Sharia council is involved, women’s rights are protected and judgments are non-binding.”
Another Conservative spokesman, Paul Goodman, the shadow minister for communities and local government, accused the Government of keeping the public in the dark and warned: “There must be one British law for everyone.”
Dr David Green, the Director of the Civitas think tank, said: “I think there are a number of problems with regards to Sharia law. These Sharia councils are supposed to operate under the Arbitration Act which allows citizens in a free society to settle their disputes on a voluntary basis if they so wish.
“But that legislation assumes that both parts are regarded as being equal. I think the problem is with tribunals like these you can’t always be sure that women would be treated equally.
“Under Islam a man can divorce a woman just by saying I divorce you three times. But a woman must go to a Sharia court to seek a divorce. Often the ruling goes in favour of the woman, but I think on the whole these councils are institutions for male domination. As a result I do not believe these rulings and proceedings should be recognised under British law.
“Under the traditions of Sharia law the voice of a women is not equal to that of a man.”
I was recently shown a delightful comic strip (but incorrect) from a site called i AnswersInGenesis.
I like where they’re going with this comic, however I have one big problem, they seem to think Nature is proof that god exists; what they don’t understand is this is dead wrong. Batman created the universe, not god.
Now I know what you’re saying, “that’s silly” and “don’t be stupid, we all know god created the universe and everything in it”. You’d be wrong though. It’s really quite simple, Batman is the creator of the universe, and I have unwavering faith in this fact.
Allow me to explain. A few weeks ago, while taking a quick trip to the little boys room at my local Denny’s I noticed there, scrawled on the wall of the stall were the words “Batman is the almighty creator of the universe”. As I read those words, Batman came to me in a vision and told me “It’s true, I am the one true and almighty creator of the universe and everything in it”.
With those words, I was converted. Never again would I waste my time with the Torah, the Bible, Koran or any book by Bill O’Reilly. Some people like to cite the bible as the being the word of the almighty creator, but I think it’s safe to say that the sacred bathroom stall scrawls are really the true word of the creator. Batman is afterall, a silent guardian, watching, waiting and protecting us all from evil in the night, right? It only makes sense that he is god.
Batman is watching over you as we speaks, and he loves you..Â as long as you’re not gay, Batman hates gays and abortions. Vote republican!
LINCOLN, Neb. – A judge has thrown out a Nebraska legislator’s lawsuit against God, saying the Almighty wasn’t properly served due to his unlisted home address.filed the lawsuit last year seeking a permanent injunction against God.
He said God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents in Omaha, inspired fear and caused “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”
Chambers has said he filed the lawsuit to make the point that everyone should have access to the courts regardless of whether they are rich or poor.
On Tuesday, however, Douglas County District Court Judge Marlon Polk ruled that under state law a plaintiff must have access to the defendant for a lawsuit to move forward.
“Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant this action will be dismissed with prejudice,” Polk wrote.
Chambers, who graduated from law school but never took the bar exam, thinks he’s found a hole in the judge’s ruling.
“The court itself acknowledges the existence of God,” Chambers said Wednesday. “A consequence of that acknowledgment is a recognition of God’s omniscience.”
Therefore, Chambers said, “Since God knows everything, God has notice of this lawsuit.”
Chambers has 30 days to decide whether to appeal. He said he hasn’t decided yet.
Chambers, who has served a record 38 years in the Nebraska Legislature, is not returning next year because of term limits. He skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians.
I just got back from seeing Religulous by Bill Maher. I have to say it was worth the time and was quite amusing/disturbing, and really highlights many of the problems of religion brings to the world. I would definitely suggest the movie to anyone who’s has been mulling the idea of seeing it.
Bill Maher is preaching to the choir with â€œReligulous,â€ a documentary that dissects organized religion, but heâ€™s doing it in his laceratingly funny, typically sardonic way.
The comic has touched on this topic often in his standup act and on his HBO talk show â€œReal Time With Bill Maher,â€ but here he uses his formidable debating skills to go on a full, focused attack. Pretty much no one emerges unscathed (except those who practice Eastern religions, for some reason).
Although Maherâ€™s mother was Jewish, he was raised in the Catholicism of his fatherâ€™s side of the family; now he calls himself a rationalist, and thinks the idea that we all came from a garden with a talking snake is a fairy tale for overgrown children and crazies.
If youâ€™re an atheist or an agnostic, youâ€™ll be completely on board and happy to tag along with Maher as he travels the globe asking people about their faith â€” everywhere from Jerusalem to the Vatican to Amsterdam, where he finds not only the Cannabis Ministry but also a Muslim gay bar (with two people in it). At a makeshift truckersâ€™ chapel in Raleigh, N.C., the drivers put their hands on his shoulders and pray in a circle that heâ€™ll find the Lord (good luck with all that); at the shlocky Holy Land Experience theme park in Orlando, Fla., Maher interviews the actor playing Jesus, a hippie who wears a headset microphone to perform on stage.
If youâ€™re a true believer, though, youâ€™ll probably be offended â€” and some of his subjects become visibly agitated with him on camera. Maher is surely smart enough to realize that his movie will convert no one, but he seems to get off on the thrill of the challenge nonetheless.
â€œReligulousâ€ comes from director Larry Charles, who teamed up with Sacha Baron Cohen for â€œBorat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,â€ and it has a structure reminiscent of that 2006 comedy as well as similarly uproarious laughs. The ones on the receiving end of Maherâ€™s Socratic-style questioning are often humorless â€” they donâ€™t get that heâ€™s toying with them â€” which makes the results even more absurdly amusing. The more Maher probes, the more hypocrisies he exposes.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) â€” The nation’s largest group of atheists and agnostics is suing President Bush, the governor of Wisconsin and other officials over the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued Friday in U.S. district court, arguing that the president’s mandated proclamations calling on Americans to pray violates a constitutional ban on government officials endorsing religion.
The day of prayer, held each year on the first Thursday of May, creates a “hostile environment for nonbelievers, who are made to feel as if they are political outsiders,” the lawsuit said.
The national proclamation issued this year asked God’s blessings on our country and called for Americans to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle is named in the suit because he is one of 50 governors who issued proclamations calling for the prayer day. The foundation is based in Madison.
Shirley Dobson, chairwoman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, and White House press secretary Dana Perino also are named.
The foundation has filed numerous lawsuits in recent years, including one rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court last year that attacked President Bush’s faith-based initiative.
The White House and Doyle spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner had no comment on the lawsuit. A message seeking comment from the task force was not returned Friday.
What do Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin, have in common?
All four candidates for U.S. president and vice-president have made it clear, exceedingly clear, they’re proud Christians.
None is willing to follow the wishes of many annoyed Canadians and refrain from ending speeches with “God bless America.”
Religion, specifically Christianity, plays a much bigger role in American politics than it does north of the border. God talk just can’t be avoided down there — thanks to the overwhelming Protestant presence.
And even though it’s not unethical by definition to invoke a Supreme Being from a political stage, the practice can be manipulated. It can even be abused for demogoguery, through suggesting, for instance, questionable wars and policies reflect “God’s will.”
That doesn’t mean the word God doesn’t ever sneak into Canadian politics. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is quiet about his loyalty to the evangelical Alliance Church, will sometimes talk of his faith, carefully. Harper has also been known to declare “God bless Canada.”
Former Liberal PM Jean Chretien, a Catholic, occasionally mentioned God, including in this novel way: “God gave me a physical defect [a facial tic] . . . but I accepted that because God gave me other qualities and I’m grateful.”
Still, there are many fascinating reasons Canadian politicians are much less inclined than their American counterparts to, as typically skeptical Canadians might put it, “play the God card.”
I’ll cite a few of them.
The most obvious is the rising strength of white evangelical Protestants. They make up one out of four Americans.
They feel divinely motivated to convert others to their Jesus, and some are ready to use politics as part of that. Seventy-eight per cent of conservative white evangelicals voted for George W. Bush in the past two presidential campaigns. It made all the difference.
Conservative politicians north of the border don’t have this huge religious voting advantage because fewer than one out of 10 Canadians belong to evangelical churches.
And while many evangelicals quietly support Canada’s Conservatives — half of Harper’s caucus of MPs are evangelical — most don’t have any illusions they can openly bring most Canadians onside with their beliefs.
Canadians are like secularized Europeans that way. Of the world’s industrialized countries, the U.S. is the most religious and most Christian.
It wasn’t always this way.
In the early 20th century, Canada had a much higher percentage of the population attending churches than in the U.S., as North America’s leading historian of religion, Mark Noll (an evangelical), writes in A History of Christianity in Canada and the U.S.
Beginning in the 1950s, however, Canadian church attendance dropped off dramatically, as it did in Europe. At the same time, however, U.S. evangelical churches began to become more appealing, particularly to the middle classes.
The trend has caused many U.S. evangelical leaders to become carried away and aggressively declare theirs is a “Christian nation” — and always has been.
Clearly, this is gods will. He wants his emissaries to sexually abuse children.
A priest who sexually abused boys at a Catholic school over a 20 year period has been jailed for six years.
William Green, 67, of Cale Lane, Aspull, Wigan, admitted 27 counts of sexual abuse on children in August.
He abused pupils aged 11 to 15 at St Bede’s Boys’ School in Manchester between 1975 and 1987 where he worked as a religious education teacher.
He also assaulted an eight-year-old boy at St Margaret Mary’s Junior School, Moston, where he also worked, in 1968.
He was jailed at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday.
Police were first contacted in late 2007 by a victim who had been abused by Green during the 1970s.
Further inquiries revealed other victims and Green was charged in April 2007.
The court was told how Green abused “lonely” and vulnerable boys hundreds of times.
Alaric Bassano, prosecuting, said Green presented himself as a friendly father figure who won his victims’ trust by offering them privileges and treats of tea, sweets, cigarettes and television in his room.
Passing sentence, Judge Goldstone QC said Green had systematically sexually abused the boys as both a priest and teacher.
He said: “These boys were vulnerable and they were groomed by you for the purposes of your own sexual gratification.
“You abused them in the school and on church-related activities.
“As far as the lives of these boys, and later men, were concerned the effects of your abuse on their lives was to last for many years and in some cases it remains.”
The police investigation was carried out with the support and co-operation of the Salford Diocese Child Protection Commission, St Bedes College and Manchester City Council.