Tuesday, 23 October 2012

United Nations Day 24th October

United Nations Day, on 24th October, marks the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945.

"UN Day 2012 is an opportunity for us to celebrate the UN's achievements, reflect on the challenges it faces and show our support for this indispensable organisation. Only by doing so can we encourage our governments to work together for a strong, credible and effective United Nations." http://una.org.uk/UN-day-2012

The UNA UK has released a poster series to support UN day 24th October. Posters are available at

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sexual discrimination and religious orientation

Another case concerning the potential conflict between the right not to be discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation and the right to religious freedom.

Black & Morgan v. Wilkinson (unreported, 18 October 2012, Slough County Court)

The Christian owner of a B&B in Berkshire was found to have discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to allow them stay in a double-bedded room because of her belief that all sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong.
See comment and analysis at http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2012/10/20/the-thorny-issue-of-religious-belief-and-discrimination-law-again/

Friday, 19 October 2012

Freedom of Religion posts from SSRC

Protecting Freedom of Religion in a Secular Age

Contradictions of religious freedom and religious repression

Religious Discrimination in US

Data on religious discrimination in America

Here's the conclusion: "however you read these data it's clear that religion is still important in the West. In fact, religion is important enough for governments to take increasing steps to try to protect it."

Epiphenom: religion and democracy

Intriguing article on the relationship between religion and democracy. It discusses the new analysis by Pazit
Ben-Nun Bloom and Gizem Arikan, political scientists at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

"What they found was that strong religious belief was linked to a rejection of secular/rational values, in favour of traditional values, and also to rejection of self-expression, in favour of 'survival values' (a hotch-potch of insecurity, desire for hierarchical authority, and intolerance). These, in turn, lead to a rejection not just of overt support for democracy, but also a rejection of the values that make democracy work (things like civil rights and support for democratic procedures)."

Read the article at: Epiphenom: A love-hate relationship between religion and democracy

Research on Religion

Critical Religion Research Group (University of Stirling)

The Religious Studies Project

Interesting podcasts on religion are available at http://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/2012/08/06/the-religious-studies-project-at-a-glance/#comment-10886

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Atheists and the Scouts Promise

Latest from the British Humanist Association:

11 year-old banned from joining the Scouts for refusing to pledge allegiance to God

"George Pratt, from Midsomer Norton in Somerset, refuses to make the Scout Promise, in which new members are required to swear allegiance to God and the Queen, because of his atheist beliefs. As a result, he cannot be invested as a full member of the Scout group which meets opposite his home...."
Read the full story at: http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/1129

Friday, 12 October 2012

Ultra Orthodox Jewish Education

The issue of faith schools is becoming an ever debated area given the recent developments. (See my earlier post: http://thinkrights.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/faith-schools.html)

The Court of Appeal has recently ruled that Ultra Orthodox Jewish education is not in the best interests of the child. See G (Children), Re [2012] EWCA Civ 1233

This is a particularly interesting case as it includes a discussion of happiness and the good life, the welfare of the child and the benefits of secular education.

Karwan Eskerie has commented in some detail on this case in the UK Human Rights blog: http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2012/10/11/in-the-name-of-god-ultra-orthodox-jewish-education-not-in-childrens-best-interest-rules-court-of-appeal/

It is interesting to note that on the flip side of this concern about faith schools or perhaps too much religious education, there are serious concerns about academies and particular the Baccalaureate omitting Religious Education/Studies from the curriculum. (See my earlier post:http://thinkrights.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/religious-education-in-schools.html )

Religion and Belief Workshop

I attended the following workshop in Manchester yesterday:

Religion and belief, discrimination and equality: a decade of change?
Knowledge Exchange Workshop 

This was a free workshop to discuss the preliminary findings of the latest University of Derby, Religion and Society project.


The following is taken from their website:

During the last three years we have been researching how people's views of unfair treatment on the basis of religion or belief may have changed over the last decade. It is hoped that our findings will ultimately influence policies, practices and laws.

The workshops will share our research findings and provide you with an opportunity to contribute to them, in the light of the experience of your organisation or group.

To find out more about the project please visit: http://www.derby.ac.uk/religion-and-society/about

To participate in a workshop please see: http://www.derby.ac.uk/knowledge-exchange-workshops

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

PRME Business and Human Rights Webinar


Excellent webinar available on the PRME (Principles for Responsible Management Education) website.

There were 40 participants from 3 continents who listened to presentations by Jonas Haertle, Head of the PRME Secretariat and the UN Global Compact, Tom Hickey of Hess Corporation, and Anthony Ewing of Columbia Business School and Logos Consulting.

Please see link below:

PRME are currently gauging interest in a Working Group on Human Rights. . If anyone is interested in contributing this this effort, please contact at PRMESecretariat@unprme.org