Bishop of Peterborough supports Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill

On 26th January 2018 Baroness O’Loan introduced her private member’s bill, the Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill [HL], for its Second Reading debate in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke in support of it: 

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, yesterday, the River Restaurant downstairs helped us to celebrate Burns Night all day. I thoroughly enjoyed the Scotch broth at lunchtime, but I resisted the main course as I was eating out in the evening. I even resisted the whisky bread-and-butter pudding. The main course which I resisted was vegetarian haggis, celebrating Robert Burns in a way that respected the consciences of those who do not want to eat meat. That is a very proper and good thing to do. There is no legal requirement to provide vegetarian haggis, but it was welcome to many and I think that I would have enjoyed it. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough supports Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill”

Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq

On 1th January 2017 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, led a debate in the House of Lords on the question: “to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their post-conflict strategy for protecting the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq.” His speech is reproduced in full below, as is that of the Government minister responding. All speeches by those taking part in the debate can be read here.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, imagine what it was like, having been hounded out of one’s home when Daesh took control of Mosul, to be back there on Christmas Eve among 2,000 worshippers for the first celebration of the Mass in three and a half years. But then imagine the scene only hours afterwards— ​not only the church but also the city again almost entirely bereft of Christians because it is still not safe enough for them to return permanently.

What can be done to give Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Sabeans, Yarsanis, Shabaks and other vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq confidence that they have a future in their own land—and why is it vital for that land and that region that their confidence is regained? Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads debate on the rights of religious and ethnic minorities in post-conflict Iraq”

Bishop of Southwark asks about Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property

On 20th and 21st November the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, received written answers to six questions on Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property and the Church Lands Bill before the Knesset:

The Lord Bishop of Southwark:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Church Lands Bill which is being considered in the Israeli Knesset.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the Church Lands Bill which is being considered in the Israeli Knesset.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of freedom of religion or belief in Israel.

(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of recent alleged breaches of the Status Quo of the Holy Land sites in Jerusalem.

(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel on the importance of respecting the Status Quo of the Holy Land sites in Jerusalem.

(vi) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel on the importance of protecting Church property in the Old City of Jerusalem, following the decision in July of the Jerusalem District Court in the Jaffa Gate case. Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks about Israel – freedom of religion, Holy Land sites, church property”

Bishop of Leeds asks about British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, radicalisation and religious freedom

On 26th and 27th September, the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers to four questions of Government about Saudi Arabia: on religious freedom, radicalisation & British arms sales.

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of freedom of religion or belief in Saudi Arabia.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they made to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Abdel al-Jubeir, when he visited London on 4 September, concerning religious freedom, eliminating discriminatory enforcement of laws against religious minorities, and promoting respect and tolerance for minority Muslim and non-Muslim religious practices and beliefs.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guarantees, if any, they sought from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Abdel al-Jubeir, when he visited London on 4 September, that British arms sales to Saudi Arabia will only be used in accordance with international humanitarian law.

(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they made to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Abdel al-Jubeir, when he visited London on 4 September, concerning reports of financial and logistical support provided by Saudi Arabia to Daesh and other radical Sunni groups in the Middle East and Asia.  Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks about British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, radicalisation and religious freedom”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government about impact of sanctions, human rights and church demolitions in Sudan

On 18th and 20th September 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers to five questions about Sudan, on the humanitarian impact of sanctions, the demolition of churches and the human rights situation:

 

The Lord Bishop of Leeds:

(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian impact of sanctions on the people of Sudan.

(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of the United States regarding the suspension or refinement of sanctions on Sudan.

(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of sanctions on Sudan.

(iv)  To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the human rights situation and current levels of humanitarian access in Sudan.

(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Sudan regarding the demolition of churches built on land that has since been designated for buildings other than places of worship.

Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about impact of sanctions, human rights and church demolitions in Sudan”

Speaker’s Chaplain says Christians in politics should not ‘leave their faith at the door’

Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, appeared on BBC2’s Newsnight programme on 7th September 2017, discussing faith and politics alongside Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee. The interview was preceded by a clip of an appearance by Jacob-Rees Mogg MP on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, where he had been asked about the influence of his Roman Catholicism on his position on abortion and other matters. A transcript of the interview is below: 

Continue reading “Speaker’s Chaplain says Christians in politics should not ‘leave their faith at the door’”

Bishop of St Albans asks urgent question on crisis facing the Rohingya people in Myanmar

St Albans 2On 5th September 2017,  the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, tabled an urgent question, to ask Her Majesty’s Government “what it is doing to respond to the crisis facing the Rohingya people in Myanmar.” Below is the Minister’s response and a subsequent question asked by the Bishop.

Baroness Goldie (Con): My Lords, Her Majesty’s Government are deeply concerned by the situation in Rakhine and the plight of the Rohingya. We immediately raised the situation in the United Nations Security Council on 30 August, where we urged a restrained security response and that all sides de-escalate tensions. Our priority now is ensuring that urgent food and medical assistance can be provided to displaced civilians. Our heads of mission in Rangoon and Dhaka have been discussing the situation in Rakhine with their respective host Governments, including enabling humanitarian aid to reach where the need is greatest.

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks urgent question on crisis facing the Rohingya people in Myanmar”