News Roundup

Football coach fired for praying at games

A football coach in the United States has launched a legal action against a school which fired him for praying after games. Joe Kennedy was formerly the coach for the Bremerton High School junior varsity American Football team in Washington State. A committed Christian, he would pray after games, “giving thanks for what the players just did and the opportunity to be part of it”. His example led players from his own and other teams to also pray, but – after eight years – the school district suddenly asked him to stop praying or kneeling at games. He was subsequently dismissed from his coaching role. Kennedy is now taking a case to regain his job to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. His legal team has pointed out that a Buddhist coach who routinely prays during games has not faced similar sanction.

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Church needs to re-examine its methods on marriage preparation – Bishop Doran

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin has said the Church in Ireland needs to “seriously review” the practical, emotional, and spiritual supports it offers to those preparing for marriage.
Addressing pilgrims at Knock basilica, Dr Doran referred to the universal Church’s two recent synods on marriage and the family and reiterated the Pope’s message that marriage is “a responsibility of the whole Christian community and it is not just about formal courses. It is also about sharing experience and sharing a vision”. This, he said, gave impetus to present marriage in a more positive light. “Too often we have focused on rules and regulations and we have found it difficult ‘to present marriage as a dynamic path to personal development and fulfilment’,” he said.
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Family of deceased boy demand official inquiry into HSE care

 The family of a boy who died in the care of Health Service Executive (HSE) has called for an independent commission of inquiry to young deaths in care, accusing the body of numerous breaches of international and children’s rights law. The family of ‘Adam’ has said that the latest report by the National Review Panel (NRP) into the boy’s death and 12 others in care is a “whitewash” and it questioned the NRP’s independence. ‘Adam’, who had a learning disability, was placed into care when he was 13 and took his own life at 14 after an alleged catalogue of failings by HSE social workers linked to his case.
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Abortion advocates ‘close ranks’ after Marie Stopes crisis – Pro-Life Campaign

The Pro-Life Campaign (PLC) has accused pro-abortion groups of closing ranks and keeping women “in the dark” after the exposure of poor standards of care at Marie Stopes abortion clinics in Britain. Reacting to news that Marie Stopes clinics have suspended some abortion procedures after concerns from the Care Quality Commission, PLC spokesperson Cora Sherlock pointed to the 2012 death of a woman following her termination at a Marie Stopes clinic and said nothing had been done at that time. “Avoiding ‘bad press’ appears more important to some than informing women about the very real threats to their health and lives,” Ms Sherlock said. “At last a spotlight is being put on the problem but I have little confidence much will change given the deep-seated reluctance to challenge the abortion industry in any meaningful way.”
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Nigerian Bishops reject moves towards abortion

The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria have criticised proposals to legislate for abortion in the country. Responding to plans by Minister of Health Isaac Adewole to offer contraception and abortion to citizens, the Bishops issued a statement in which they “condemned the recent move by the Minister of Health, Prof Adewole in collaboration with the foreign agencies to commit the federal government to increasing the culture of contraception and subsequently, abortion among our people”. Issuing the statement, Bishop Felix Ajakaye added: “Our youth and women need better power supply, potable water, good roads, better health and educational institutions more than these contraceptives. Our country must reject this relentless offer of anti-life incentives under the guise of foreign aid in order not to destroy our beautiful culture.”
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New pregnancy screening ‘will lead to more Down Syndrome abortions’

Campaigners against a new screening process for Down Syndrome in Britain have said their warnings of increased abortions are being ignored by the government. The group, Don’t Screen Us Out, says that Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) will see ever more abortions as parents receive a diagnosis for Down Syndrome. Already in England and Wales, at least 92% of babies receiving this diagnosis are aborted. Don’t Screen Us Out want to delay the introduction of the test until there is a full ethical review to ensure that NIPT complies with human rights obligations. The British government is reportedly on the cusp of approving the new screening.

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Colombia ditches transgender schools programme after protests

Colombia has ended plans for the introduction of transgender programmes in schools following massive nationwide protests. President Juan Manuel Santos announced that “neither the Ministry of Education nor the national government has implemented, has promoted, or will promote so-called gender ideology”. In an apparent attempt to limit the political fallout of the transgender programme, the President added that the booklet at the centre of the programme – produced in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund and UNICEF – was not an official document, despite bearing the name of Colombia’s education minister, Gina Parody, and the logo of the Ministry of Education.

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Humanist weddings overtake Church of Scotland and Catholic ceremonies – new figures

Humanist marriages have overtaken Church of Scotland and Catholic weddings for the first time. According to figures issued by the National Records of Scotland, while there were 4,290 Humanist wedding ceremonies conducted in 2015, the Church of Scotland presided over 4,052 weddings, and the Catholic Church 1,438. The figures further confirmed the steady decline in Church of Scotland weddings over the past decade. In 2005, when Humanist weddings were first permitted, the Church of Scotland conducted 8,686 weddin

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Maltese Bishops urge rejection of euthanasia

Catholic prelates in Malta have warned against the island nation accepting euthanasia. In a pastoral letter penned in response to a pro-euthanasia petition, Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Gozo Bishop Mario Grech denounced euthanasia as part of the “throwaway culture”, one in which society “kills unborn babies, abandons the old, forsakes people with disabilities, values people according to their potential contribution to the economy and their consumption, and is unjust to the poor”. The petition in Malta to legalise euthanasia has more than 1,300 signatures so far online.

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Legal hearing opens on US transgender toilet policy

Legal arguments have begun in a multi-state case against the Obama administration’s transgender toilet policy for schools. In a case led by Texas state Governor Ken Paxton, 13 states are asking a court to rule against the policy. The case opened before District Court judge Reed O’Connor in Forth Worth, Texas, on August 12, with Governor Paxton arguing that the administration was forcing “radical change” on America with the toilet policy.

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