Church Commissioner Questions – Christian persecution overseas, homelessness, married couples’ tax allowance

On 21st February 2019 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered three written questions from MPs, on Christian persecution overseas, homelessness, and married couples’ tax allowances.

Jim Shannon(Strangford): To ask the Right Honourable Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what humanitarian support the Church of England provides to people overseas that are persecuted for their Christian beliefs. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Questions – Christian persecution overseas, homelessness, married couples’ tax allowance”

Bishop of Chichester calls for Christians to stand against hate speech, violence and prejudice against Muslims

Islamophobia in the United Kingdom.

The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Singh, for his patient and insightful speech and to the noble Lord, Lord Sheikh, for securing this debate. As a Christian minister, I hope that I can contribute with humility and sensitivity in this vital matter.

As extremists attempt to divide our communities, and even seek to hijack Christian symbols to do so, it is important to state clearly and loudly that it is the duty of all Christians in this country to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters who suffer hate speech, violence or prejudice.

Continue reading “Bishop of Chichester calls for Christians to stand against hate speech, violence and prejudice against Muslims”

Bishop of St Albans asks about upholding human rights

StAlbans051218On 10th December 2018, Baroness Berridge tabled an Oral Question ‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the publication produced by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, Commentary on the State of Freedom of Religion or Belief; and what steps they are taking to mark International Human Rights Day.’ The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question:

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about upholding human rights”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about Asia Bibi, religious freedom in Pakistan, and asylum on religious persecution grounds

On 3rd December 2018 the Bishop of Coventry received written answers to five questions he had tabled to Government on Asia Bibi, religious freedom in Pakistan and applications for asylum from Pakistan on grounds of religious persecution:

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the state of freedom of religion or belief in Pakistan.

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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to (1) support religious pluralism, and (2) promote freedom of religion or belief, in Pakistan. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about Asia Bibi, religious freedom in Pakistan, and asylum on religious persecution grounds”

Bishop of St Albans asks if Government will pressure Pakistan on blasphemy laws after Asia Bibi case

On 20th November 2018 Lord Alton asked the Government ‘what response they have made to requests to assist in the (1) safe passage and resettlement of, and (2) granting of asylum to Asia Bibi and her family.’ The Bishop of St Albans asked a follow up question:

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks if Government will pressure Pakistan on blasphemy laws after Asia Bibi case”

Archbishop speaks on freedom of expression, religious intolerance and prejudice in the UK

On 17th October 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Communities Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, “That this House takes note of the challenges posed by religious intolerance and prejudice in the United Kingdom.” The Archbishop of Canerbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, spoke in the debate. A transcript is below, with excerpts from the speeches of others in the debate:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, and others who have made this useful and important debate possible. Like the noble Lord, Lord Hain, I agree with much of what the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, said. I agree also with the passionate and clear setting out by the noble Lord, Lord Hain, of the threats and incidents that have occurred in recent years. However, I want to focus more on religious intolerance and prejudice. If I have one concern, it is how we bring together religious tolerance, and stand against the kind of things the noble Lord, Lord Hain, spoke about, while maintaining freedom of speech.
In his book, The Home We Build Together, the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, wrote:
“Society is not a house or a hotel. It should be a home”.
The rising tide of anti-Semitism, with which I am deeply familiar through work with the Chief Rabbi, and Islamophobia, which we in the Church are deeply familiar with through working with Muslim leaders across the country, are just two illustrations of the narrowing of those who feel truly at home in the UK today. This terrible, storm-ridden climate is affecting people across a whole range of religious traditions.

Continue reading “Archbishop speaks on freedom of expression, religious intolerance and prejudice in the UK”

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises freedom of religion and expression

On Tuesday 9th October 2018 the House of Lords debated the Government’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, spoke in the debate to seek assurances on freedom of thought and expression: 

The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, first I too want to say how much I am looking forward to the maiden speeches of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, and the noble Lord, Lord Tyrie. The noble ​Lord, Lord Tyrie, will be well acquainted with these Benches, having worked closely with my most reverend brother the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, which the noble Lord so ably chaired.

In opening this debate, the Minister spoke powerfully and movingly about the terrible consequences of terror, the effect on people’s lives, the suffering that is lifelong for people. It is in this context that I broadly welcome the Bill. I certainly recognise the difficulty of drafting and steering this kind of legislation. It is to walk something of a tightrope, as described by the noble Lord, Lord Marks. The current national security situation is complex, as is seen so sharply in our news headlines this morning. At Second Reading, I would like us to stay alert to that tightrope we walk, to proportionality and, perhaps especially, to the danger of unintended consequences. Continue reading “Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill – Bishop of Newcastle raises freedom of religion and expression”