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Religion

  • 17th January 2008

    Protesters halt Papal visit to university 1

    Protesters had planned to mount loudspeakers on a truck and create a “sonic siege“ if the Pope set foot on campus.

    10:50 AM — Science students and academics at the University of Rome La Sapienza have successfully stopped Pope Benedict XVI from visiting the campus today.Vatican Radio accused them of censorship, while the Italian Prime Minister said their determination to block the Pope from speaking "provoked an unacceptable tension and a climate that does not honour the traditions of civilisation and tolerance in Italy."LGBT students also planned to protest the Papal visit.

  • 16th January 2008

    Presbyterian church allows lesbian ordination

    The San Francisco Presbytery encompasses nearly 80 churches with 28,000 parishioners.

    5:01 PM — In the first test of a new policy allowing local Presbyterian churches the right to welcome into the clergy candidates who object to church teachings, the Presbytery of San Francisco has granted a lesbian deacon her wish of becoming a minister.The regional body yesterday voted 167 to 151 in favour of Lisa Larges, who had twice before been denied ordination.Since 1978 the US Presbyterian denomination bans sexually active gay or lesbian people from the ministry.

  • 9th January 2008

    Gay Christians question evangelical’s employment tribunal

    Revd Kirker said it was “interesting, if not a little paradoxical,“ that Dr Storkey is claiming religious discrimination in this case.

    2:35 PM — The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement has highlighted the employment practices of a development agency whose UK President has taken the Bishop of Liverpool to an employment tribunal.Dr Elaine Storkey, an academic and contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day, claims she was dismissed from her at an Oxford theological college, Wycliffe Hall, because she was "the wrong type of Christian Evangelical."The LGCM described the principal of the college, Reverend Richard Turnbull, as an "ultra-conservative fundamentalist evangelical."

  • 8th January 2008

    Church refused property insurance over gay-friendly stance 1

    United Church of Christ, formed in 1957 by a merger of the New England Congregationalist churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church, is known for its history of social activism.

    4:12 PM — A Protestant church in the US state of Michigan has been deemed too risky for property insurance because of its denomination's support for gay rights.The West Adrian United Church of Christ, a small church in Adrian, Michigan which has weathered controversies since it was established in 1836.It was turned down by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Co. of Fort Wayne, Indiana, because of its national governing body's approval of gay marriage and the ordination of homosexuals, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

  • Pope orders continuous prayer to cleanse clergy 2

    When the paedophile scandal erupted in Boston five years ago, Pope Benedict, or cardinal Ratzinger as he was then, accused the media of exaggerating the crisis.

    3:08 PM — Pope Benedict XVI has instructed Roman Catholics to pray "in perpetuity" to cleanse the church of paedophile clergy.All dioceses, parishes, monasteries, convents and seminaries will be expected to organise continuous daily prayers to express penitence and to purify the clergy the Times has reported.Vatican officials said every day each parish or institution should designate a person or group to pray that the church rids itself of the scandal of sexual abuse by clergy.

  • 7th January 2008

    Anti-gay bishop in trouble after inflammatory Muslim comments 30

    Bishop Nazir-Ali regularly generates headlines with his forthright pronouncements on gay issues.

    2:45 PM — A senior Church of England clergyman best-known for his opposition to equality for gay people has been heavily criticised for making inflammatory comments about Britain's Muslim community.The Right Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, claimed in a newspaper article that parts of the country have become "no-go areas" because of extremist Muslims and suggested that mosques stop using speakers to broadcast the call to prayer.The bishop has previously spoken out against the Sexual Orientation Regulations and civil partnerships.

  • Erect Jesus statue stirs controversy among Christians 8

    All the art pieces are from the private collection of Newcastle-born Anita Zabludowicz.

    11:23 AM — An art gallery in the North East is under fire after exhibiting a 1ft high statue of Jesus with an erection.The artwork, by gay Chinese-born artist Terence Koh, is being exhibited by the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.The gallery has received complaints from Christians and visitors alike who argue the sculpture degrades the Christian faith. Koh's exhibition, entitled Gone, Yet Still, consists of 74 plaster models, ranging from statues of Mickey Mouse to ET, all with full erections.

  • 2nd January 2008

    US church leader: there are more gay bishops 2

    Bishop Jefferts Schori's appointment as head of the US Anglican communion in 2006 caused even more tension.

    2:30 PM — The leader of the Anglican church in the United States has stoked the controversy surrounding gay ordinations by claiming there are senior gay clergy and some of them are in relationships.Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, speaking on BBC Radio 4, said that the Episcopalian church, as Anglicans are known in the US, has been unfairly targeted over the ordination of Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire.Bishop Robinson is openly gay and lives with his partner.

  • English Cardinal attacks gay people in New Year message 21

    Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's message marks the Feast of the Holy Family.

    10:20 AM — The leader of the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales has linked gay people to drug and alcohol abuse and claimed that parents want their children to be taught that marriage is superior to all other "lifestyles."Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's message, which was read out at church services across the Diocese of Westminster, marks the Feast of the Holy Family.It has been interpreted as an attack on the government's stance on equality for gay people.

  • 31st December 2007

    Pope addresses ‘family’ rally in Madrid 8

    Benedict has consistently used family values arguments to oppose gay equality.

    2:15 PM — For the tens of thousands who turned out in Mardid yesterday for a celebration of the place of the family, the appearance of Pope Benedict XVI via live satellite link from Rome was the highlight of their protest rally.Conservative Spaniards took to the streets of their capital city to protest at the legalisation of gay marriage and the loosening of divorce laws enacted by the socialist government.The Roman Catholic Church campaigned against gay rights but found they no longer have the power they once had.

  • Service with gay clergy may have broken canon law

    The Church has been close to splitting over the issue of gay clergy since the ordination of openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

    12:01 AM — The Archbishop of Canterbury's recent communion with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) clergy was so secret that the Bishop of London did not even know about it, despite it being held within his diocese, The Times claims.The communion took place on the 29th November 2007 with 80 LGBT priests, monks and nuns by the Clergy Consultation support group.Canon law states that only a bishop can authorise services that take place in his diocese.

  • 23rd December 2007

    Simon Hughes says Blair conversion isn’t news

    Simon Hughes said that Blair's conversion isn't news

    12:01 AM — The openly bisexual, Christian, Liberal Democrat MP, Simon Hughes has criticised the media for overstating the importance of the conversion of former prime minister Tony Blair to Catholicism.Mr Hughes said: "In the 21st century the news that a former prime minister has moved from one branch of the church to another should not rate major headlines...If Tony Blair had changed from Christianity to Buddhism, Islam or Judaism it would be much more significant."

  • 22nd December 2007

    Blair converts to Catholicism 1

    Tony Blair's conversion was not a surprise

    1:01 PM — Former prime minister, Tony Blair, has converted to Catholicism, his spokesman confirmed today.He was welcomed into the church in a service last last night by the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.Mr Blair's relationship with the gay community was seriously damaged following his appointment of the devoutly Catholic Ruth Kelly to the post of Minister for Equality in 2006. Ms Kelly, a member of Opus Dei had never voted in favour of gay rights despite her role holding responsibility for LGBT issues.

  • 16th December 2007

    Archbishop apologises for persecution of gays 9

    The interview with Archbishop Desmond Tutu can be heard this Monday night from 8pm on BBC Radio Manchester.

    1:40 AM — Archbishop Desmond Tutu has apologised to gay people all around the world for the way they have been treated by the Church.He recently criticised Anglicans for being 'obsessed' with homosexuality.In a world exclusive interview with production company Made in Manchester, Tutu spoke to creative director Ashley Byrne.

  • 14th December 2007

    Gay bishop not welcome at Anglican meeting 17

    Conservative and liberal branches of the worldwide Anglican communion have been at loggerheads over the issues of homosexuality and same-sex unions ever since Gene Robinson was ordained as a bishop in the US in 2003.

    4:35 PM — Bishop Gene Robinson will not be invited to next year's Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today.Many Anglicans wrote letters of complaint to the Archbishop about the exclusion of the openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire and in June it was reported that Dr Williams was reconsidering.However, his office confirmed today that neither Bishop Robinson nor a rogue American priest who was consecrated a bishop by the Nigerian Church, Martyn Minns, will be asked to the 14th Lambeth Conference, the assembly of Anglican bishops held once every ten years.

  • 13th December 2007

    Swedish same-sex couples to get church weddings 3

    46 per cent of Swedish people supported gay marriage, and 31 per cent opposed it.

    11:50 AM — Sweden's main Church said yesterday it will endorse same-sex couples to wed in church.As the Swedish government prepares a "gender neutral" marriage law, the Church of Sweden agreed that marriage and partnership were equivalent forms of unions.It recommended however that the term "marriage" be referred only to heterosexual couples.

  • 12th December 2007

    Pope’s message – gay weddings threaten peace 14

    The pontiff theorises that peace and the family are inherently linked and any threat to the “traditional family“ will be opposed by Catholics.

    4:01 PM — The annual message from the head of the Roman Catholic Church to the world has been unveiled.Pope Benedict's statement will mark World Peace Day on January 1st.It is entitled The Human Family, A Community of Peace, and in it he calls for the dismantling of nuclear weapons and environmental co-operation and describes gay marriage as "an obstacle on the road to peace."

  • 11th December 2007

    Anglican gay rows harm relations with Rome 3

    Pope Benedict XVI has defined such requests as evidence of what he calls “cultural relativism“ towards ethic values

    3:40 PM — Divisions over sexual ethics could be harmful in the relations between the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church, a cardinal in Rome said.Speaking to the Pope and cardinals in a private meeting three weeks ago Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian unity, said that there were disagreements with the Anglicans that had stalled talks."While progress is being made on theological divisions, new divergences are emerging in the ethical field," he said.

  • 10th December 2007

    Shootings at Haggard church target young people

    Two young missionaries-in-training, 26-year-old Tiffany Johnson and 24-year-old Philip Crouse, were killed.

    12:40 PM — Four people are confirmed dead after two shootings at Colorado religious institutions on Sunday.Two victims were killed at the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) centre in Denver yesterday morning in an attack that left two others injured.Another victim was killed at the New Life Church in a separate shooting on Sunday afternoon.The YWAM organisation has been criticised by some as a 'cult' and attacked for 'brainwashing' members and promoting anti-gay messages.

  • California diocese splits from US church

    A legal battle over the diocese's church property and assets could result from the split.

    10:45 AM — The diocese of San Joaquin in Central California has voted to secede from the US Episcopal Church over its tolerance and growing support of gays, according to United Press International.Delegates at San Joaquin's annual convention approved the split this weekend and accepted an invitation to align the diocese with conservative Anglican leader Archbishop Gregory James Venables of Argentina.More liberal policies toward homosexuality within the Episcopal Church have strained the Anglican community.

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