An associate professor in the US state of Wisconsin is to sue his former university for terminating his employment after he defended marriage as between one man and one woman in a blog post. In his legal action against Marquette University, John McAdams states that “Marquette University guarantees its tenured faculty academic freedoms, including the right to free speech”, something he was denied in being labelled ‘homophobic’ as a result of his blog posting.
Dr Ed Walsh, the founding president of the University of Limerick has called for a debate on the issue of euthanasia. Speaking before a gathering of the National Association of General Practitioners, Dr Walsh said the question of how we treat older people at the end of life was an issue to be robustly debated in the same way as divorce and same-sex marriage had been. “I think we have to start debating how we look after our older people when they are reaching the end of life,” he said. “Should they be on a trolley for 19 hours, as a precursor to their death, or can we think of better ways of looking after people who are growing old?”
A move by the European wing of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA Europe) to block a campaign to have Europe legally accept the definition of the natural family unit and marriage as based on one man and one woman has failed. Following the registering of the Mum Dads & Kids initiative with the European Commission, under which the campaign must gain 1 million signatures by December to have its case heard by legislators, ILGA urged the Court of Justice of the European Union to overturn the registration, but failed to convince the court that this should be done. Mum Dads & Kids is a coalition of Christian and pro-family groups in seven countries of the EU.
A new report from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has revealed that religious freedom around the world is under a “serious and sustained assault”, citing both state and non-state actors for a deterioration of religious rights. “From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe… there was no shortage of attendant suffering worldwide,” the report states.
The teen birth rate in the United States is at its lowest level in nearly 75 years, while teen abortion rates are falling steadily, a major new research project has revealed. Undertaken by the Pew Research Centre, the report details the falling birth rate since records began in the 1940s to a low of 25 teen births per 1,000 females in 2014 from a high of 96 per thousand in 1957. Meanwhile, the abortion rate, once at 40.3 per 1,000 in 1990, currently stands at 16.3 per 1,000. The report acknowledges that some of the decline is linked to modern contraceptive medication and abortion, but also that fewer teens are having sex or marrying young.
The American Civil Liberties Union has joined with the largest abortion provider in the United States in a legal action aimed at forcing the state of Indiana to repeal newly enacted legislation to protect unborn children with Down Syndrome. The new law was signed in March by Governor Mike Pence and contains a host of protective measures including the requirement for abortion facilities to annually renew hospital admitting privileges. In addition to Down Syndrome, the law bans abortion based on race and gender.
The Catholic Church’s education chief in Scotland has warned that a vote for the Green Party in forthcoming elections is a vote to close Catholic schools. Michael McGrath, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said the party wanted to “close schools, and end Catholic schools in Scotland”. “They don’t want Catholic schools and it’s important the electorate know that voting Green means you’re voting to end Catholic schools,” he said. The Greens have acknowledged that they desire greater integration of the Catholic and non-denominational sectors in Scottish schools.
A leading priest-sociologist has accused anti-Catholic media commentators of damaging public opinion towards the Church. Speaking to The Irish Catholic newspaper, Fr Micheál Mac Gréil SJ said he believed that “proselytising is now not on the side of religion but on the side of atheism and humanism. People are becoming compulsively alienated to what they were in the past and they are transmitting that alienation to others”, he said. He was speaking ahead of Census 2016.
The “glaring inequalities” evident in faith school funding must be addressed by the incoming government, an education chief has stressed. Faith schools in the second-level sector receive less funding per capita than non-faith schools. Speaking to The Irish Catholic newspaper, John Curtis, General Secretary of the Joint Managerial Body, said that previous administrations had gotten education “on the cheap” due to the input of the Church in the sector. “It is a bit of a concern that the amount of money as a society we spend on education would be less than in most developed countries,” he said.
The Netherland’s Health Minister, Edith Schippers, has announced public funding for research into the viability of offering euthanasia to children in the country. The move comes following a request last year from the Dutch Association of Pediatricians for the decriminalisation of so-called ‘mercy killing’ of children between one and 12 years.