Rights breached over Franklin Graham ads, judge rules
BLACKPOOL Borough Council and Transport Services breached the human right to freedom of expression when they removed bus adverts in 2018 for an event featuring the Evangelical preacher Franklin Graham, Manchester County Court has ruled. Franklin Graham, who is the son of the late evangelist Billy Graham, has been criticised for his views on same-sex marriage and Islam (News, 6 December 2019). Ruling on the claim brought by the event’s organisers, BGEA UK, Judge Claire Evans said that the Council “gave preference to the rights and opinions of one part of the community without any regard for the rights of the claimant or those who shared its religious beliefs”. The Council said that it remained committed to “promoting equality and diversity” and “eliminating discrimination”. The financial aspect of the claim remains to be determined.
Gender-identity conversion therapy ‘widespread’
GENDER-identity conversion therapy is more widespread than has previously been understood, a new study suggests. Of 450 respondents who stated that their gender identity did not match the sex assigned to them at birth, 170 respondents identified as non-binary; 64 people had been offered gender-identity conversion therapy; and 39 had undergone it. Of the latter, nearly half had been forced through it. The research was conducted last year by a coalition of LGBT+ charities in partnership with an independent research monitor, Richard Matousek. Jayne Ozanne, who formed the coalition, said: “We are particularly concerned about the role that religion has found to have played, both in terms of motivating an individual to pursue to and also in terms of those practising it. It is critical that any future government legislation gives clear protections to gender diverse people.”
St Hild Centre launches online church-planting course
A NEW five-week online church-planting course, Exploring Church Planting, was announced by the St Hild Centre for Church Planting, in Yorkshire, on Wednesday. The centre was established in September 2020 with a primary focus on the north of England, though it works with other UK church-planting networks. The first session will be held on Wednesday 21 April. The Director of the Centre, the Revd Dr Christian Selvaratnam, said: “Across the five weeks of the course we’ll be exploring the ‘what, why, how, when, where and who’ of church-planting, and, by the end of the five sessions, we’re hoping to leave all participants feeling inspired and excited about a possible future involvement in church-planting.” sthildplanting.org/exploring