Saturday, 23 January 2010

Calgary Church Loses Charity Status: Opposition to Abortion, Homosexuality Cited as Reasons

CALGARY, Alberta, January 21, 2010 ( - The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has revoked the charitable status of Kings Glory Fellowship (KGF), a Christian church in Calgary. CRA cites a number of issues with KGF's application, but the decision is based, in part, on the ground that certain KGF Board members have spoken out strongly against abortion, and other moral issues.

"The members of the Board of Directors espouse strong negative views about sensitive and controversial issues, which may also be viewed as political, such as abortion, homosexuality, divorce, etc.,” wrote CRA agent Dian Prodanov in an October 29th letter.

These “political” views make the church ineligible because, according to the agent, a registered charity “may only engage in non-partisan political activities as long as it devotes substantially all (usually 90% or more) of its resources to charitable activities."

KGF's pastor, Artur Pawlowski, is also the founder and pastor of Street Church Ministries, which has made headlines because of its battle with the city of Calgary to uphold its right to preach to and serve the city's poor. Read more
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Why every school should have its own policeman (or woman)

[...] No government, can legislate for good behaviour. My big idea is to provide every primary school in the country with a policeman or woman, and on a permanent basis. Now don’t throw your hands up in horror. I’m not an apologist for any authoritarian tendency. It’s quite simply this; get the youngsters and police to build up excellent relationships at the earliest possible opportunity, helping to foster and nuture respect, responsibility and understanding. This builds perfectly upon the work already undertaken by Labour investing in Early Years - Sure Start, Children’s Fund, Family Centres and so on.

Oodles of evidence points to the fact where primary schools have adopted local cops; there’s a noticeable drop in crime rates in that area in later years. Head Teachers I’ve spoken to love the idea.

It’s not of course a panacea and needs to work in conjunction with other initiatives such as restorative justice schemes.

Crucially though allowing each primary school a police officer is simple and is not rocket science. Yes it’s costly and it’s not just for one term. There’s a cost too to letting the status quo rule. No one said democracy was cheap. The long term benefits will surely be manifestly clear, and be something in time we can all celebrate." Read more
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That deep maternal urge . . . to kill your child

True love, I’ve grown to believe, is when you experience someone else’s pain as your own. There is no synaptic pause between their grave news and the summoning of empathy. Your reaction is visceral, involuntary: a winded blow when your wife loses her job, a sickened disappointment when your daughter is the sole girl not asked to the party. The proper seat of love is not the heart but the guts.

It would be a foolhardy woman who claimed a mother feels a child’s suffering more than its father. So I’ll let a man do it. Simon Carr, whose wife died, leaving him to raise his sons alone — and whose memoir The Boys Are Back in Town has been made into a film — said this week he believes a mother is more protective, less able to permit risky japes, because the child’s body came from her own body, flesh of her flesh, and will always be so. Certainly when my sons were small I found myself grasping my own knees after they fell.

And I’ve come to wonder how much of modern overweaning coddling of our kids, never letting them free to roam, is not motivated so much by fear of what might happen to them, but self-protection: a terror of the bereavement we know would obliterate our own lives. The mortality of one’s children, the notion that they will ever die at all — even years after your own death — is, as Martin Amis says in Experience, “immensely onerous to contemplate”. Read more
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Should we tell jokes about gays and lesbians? BBC asks the nation

The BBC is to ask the nation if its comedians should be allowed to tell jokes about lesbians and gays. The issue will be part of the most wideranging piece of research on sexuality that the corporation has commissioned.

Tim Davie, BBC director of audio and music, will chair a working group on the portrayal and inclusion of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It will examine how they are reflected in the corporation’s use of language, tone, stereotyping, humour and scheduling.

The report was commissioned last August, months before the corporation received hundreds of complaints over a headline on the BBC News website relating to a debate on Ugandan government policy. It asked: “Should homosexuals face execution?” The corporation apologised and amended the headline. Read more
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Friday, 22 January 2010

Judge is refused care authorities’ report in Edlington torture case

Care authorities have refused to allow a High Court judge to read a confidential report into their handling of two young brothers who sadistically tortured two children and left them for dead.

The report, prompted by an horrific attack on two children aged 9 and 11 in Edlington, near Doncaster, is said to reveal numerous failings by care professionals who dealt with the brothers and their violent family over years. A copy was leaked to the BBC, which says the report details 31 occasions on which nine different agencies failed to take action over the brother’s offending behaviour before the Edlington attack last April.

The brothers, who were aged 10 and 11 when the assault took place, will be sentenced today after jointly admitting grievous bodily harm, robbery and causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

A request for a copy of the report was made by Sheffield Crown Court at the request of Peter Kelson, QC, representing the elder of the siblings, who had urged the judge, Mr Justice Keith, to read it before passing sentence.

He said that a study of the boy’s case by a consultant child psychiatrist, Susan Bailey, had found “a causal link” between the failings of the care authorities and the brothers’ grotesque violence.

A request for a copy of the full serious case review was made on Wednesday to the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board, a multi-agency body including representatives from Doncaster Council, South Yorkshire Police and health agencies. Mr Justice Keith told the court yesterday: “I have been informed that I won’t be supplied with the document.” Read more
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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Row over 'Biblical' rifle sights for UK troops

British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan will be issued with rifle sights bearing Biblical references, it emerged today.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was not aware of the significance of the markings on the advanced combat optical gunsights (ACOGs) when it placed an order for 400 from US firm Trijicon.

There are fears that the inscriptions could lead to allegations that the battle for Afghanistan is a "religious war". Read more
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Far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders on trial for anti-Muslim stance

The Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders was greeted with applause from the public gallery as he faced court for the first day of his landmark trial on charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims.

Mr Wilders, 46, sat impassively as his lawyer argued that the leader of the Freedom Party, which made big gains at last summer's European elections, had made his critical remarks about Islam in his role as an elected Member of Parliament.

Bram Moszkowicz said that Mr Wilders had a mandate to speak out against what he saw as the Islamisation of the Netherlands and argued that he had not discriminated against a specific national group, saving his attacks for the ideology of political Islam.

Around 200 supporters of Mr Wilders had travelled from as far as Cologne in Germany to hold up placards declaring that free speech was under assault by Islam and by the politically correct. The case is being watched as a test of the limits of political tolerance in the Netherlands after years of relaxed immigration policies which have seen the Musim population rise to around 1 million out of 16 million.

"This case is about more than Mr Wilders," Mr Moszkowicz told Amsterdam District Court this morning. "It touches us all. It is such an important and principled question that could have far-reaching consequences." Read more
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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

West turns Africa into gay battlefield

The trial of a young male couple charged with unnatural practices and gross indecency after announcing their engagement in Malawi was adjourned last week when one of the accused collapsed in court while enduring jeers from the public gallery.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, was made to return with a mop to clean up his own vomit, even though he has malaria.

He and his boyfriend, Steven Monjeza, 26, have been held in Chichiri prison, Blantyre, for more than a week — in order, the judge says, to protect them from mob violence.

Chichiri has a reputation for overcrowding, disease and homosexual rape. The couple say they have been badly beaten and Peter Tatchell, the British gay activist, describes their conditions as appalling.

Such scenes will only increase the pressure from western human rights activists and donor countries on Malawi’s government to moderate its draconian anti-gay laws, for which the couple have provided a test case. They face up to 14 years in jail. Read more
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The day I decided to stop being gay

A minor incident in a barber’s shop last week has helped me to realise that I may no longer be gay. Not a fully fledged homo, anyway; perhaps not even a part-timer who helps the team out when it’s busy. It appears I may be going straight.

I was in Tenterden, the Kentish village where I was brought up and to which I have lately returned, working at a nearby aerodrome as a helicopter pilot. I was waiting my turn for a chatty Latvian to apply the hot towels and razor.

A handsome young dad entered with a small, fair-haired boy at his side. The man took a seat and hoisted the wide-eyed child proudly on to his knee. The first haircut, I speculated inwardly, as an unfamiliar fatherly glow and feeling of mild envy swept over me. I could not tear my attention away from the mirrored reflections.

From time to time, the dad leant forward as they waited and whispered close to his son’s ear, tenderly kissing his fair head. Touching stuff.

But then my eyes lowered and I became transfixed by the sight of the boy’s tiny pink fingers gripping his father’s huge, workman-like fist. And I almost wanted to burst into song.

I think my life changed at that moment. Read more
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Sunday, 17 January 2010

World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown

A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.

Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world's glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC's 2007 report.

It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

Related Links

* Global warming blamed for rise in malaria

* Experts clash over sea-rise ‘apocalypse’

Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was "speculation" and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change. Read more
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Anjem Choudary: I’m smiling because sharia is coming

The radical Muslim who threatened to hold a march through Wootton Bassett is ready to defy the ban on his group and says a coup could make Britain an Islamic state.

Obviously I was never going to see eye to eye with the benefitchogging Muslim hate cleric Anjem Choudary, but I didn’t realise how many of his own community think he’s dreadful, too. Few of the cafes on his home turf — London’s East End — will accommodate the bearded 42-year-old firebrand and self-styled “most hated man in Britain”. Indeed, just after he flounces out of our interview in one of the few that will — a halal diner in Whitechapel — a waiter asks me: “Is that the coffin man? I can’t bear him. All he wants is fame, and the easiest way to get that is say that Christian people should be persecuted. I don’t see much difference between him and Nick Griffin.” Read more
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