Mark Turner was born and raised as a Catholic in the North East of England, UK. He attended two Catholic schools between the ages of five and sixteen. A product of a moderate Catholic upbringing and an early passion for science first resulted in religious apathy and by mid-teens outright disbelief.
A petition has appeared on the Edinburgh City Council website raising the issue of religious observances in non-denominational schools in the city. Currently, all schools in Edinburgh (be they non-religious state schools or otherwise) are required to provide religious education as well as opportunities to participate in religious observances. The legal mandate to do so dates all the way back to 1872. Read more
Two weeks ago, I wrote about a EU court decision, upholding rulings against three Christians who had been sacked for basically choosing their faith over what was expected of them by their employer. The specifics of each case are a little more barbed than that, but you can read the original piece to get a fuller picture. Since then Mike Judge, the Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, has written two articles for the Huffington Post UK defending each victim and attacking the court’s ruling as well as the media and public response to it. Read more
Today, the European Court of Human Rights published its verdicts on four cases from the UK brought about by Christians against their employers. The basic premise of each case is that rules imposed on each of them by their respective employers have discriminated against them on the basis of their religious freedoms. All four lost their individual cases in UK employment tribunals, but then took their cases to the highest civil court in Europe, the ECHR. The four defendants in question are Shirley Chaplin, a nurse from Exeter; Nadia Eweida, a British Airways worker from London; Lilian Ladele, a local authority registrar also from London; and Gary McFarlane, a marriage counsellor from Bristol. (Can you guess their various grievances from their jobs?) Read more
In a desperate attempt to prolong its moment in the spotlight, the tired old Church of England has once again found a way to get what should be a positive step oh so very wrong. It’s been a busy couple of months for the church. First, we had the unsuccessful vote to allow women bishops, followed by worse-than-expected census figures, and, finally, its bizarre exemption from upcoming gay marriage legislation. This time, there’s confusion all around as the church has moved to allow openly gay priests in civil partnerships to become bishops. Read more
I almost feel bad writing disparaging posts about the religion of my youth because it’s almost too easy. I don’t even need to write, say, or do anything to hasten the end of the Church — they seem quite content to do it themselves. One would imagine that this time of year is every Christian church’s annual opportunity to spread a message of joy, celebration, and charity in an attempt to claw back punters who only plonk themselves in the pews once a year. Why do that, though, when you can re-enforce your own stereotype and spread a message of hate and bigotry instead? Read more