Christian prayers in the military: Commodore Royal Bahamas Defence Force

Background

Colours parades have been a tradition in the Royal Bahamian Defence Force since its creation in 1980 and, at some of them, Christian prayers are said at one point in the parade [1]. From 1993 to 2006, pursuant to Coral Harbour Temporary Memorandum No 20/93, non-Christians could excuse themselves by falling out during the prayers and falling back in after them; but that was revoked by a further Temporary Memorandum No 67/06 in 2006 [2].

In Commodore Royal Bahamas Defence Force & Ors v Laramore (Bahamas) [2017] UKPC 13, former Petty Officer Gregory Laramore, a Muslim who objected to being obliged to attend Christian prayers on parade, challenged the constitutionality of the 2006 Memorandum [3]. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 23rd April

A week dominated by…

…the General Election, June 2017

On 18 April we published a short post on the announcement by the Prime Minister of her intention to move a motion for an early election in the House of Commons on the following day, under the provisions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. The House of Commons Library immediately published a helpful short guide to the election, and for anoraks, it answers the question: Will the Manchester Gorton by-election go ahead? vide infra. The House of Commons Library has also produced a briefing on the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

On 12:57 pm on 19 April, the Prime Minister moved “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election”. [HC Hansard, 19 April Vol 624 Col 681]. After a 90-minute debate, the House divided: Ayes: 522; Noes: 13.  Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 9th April

“Egg-bound” thinking by Church and State this week…

… but un oeuf is un oeuf, and so no more egg-related puns. However, we certainly didn’t expect the CofE Easter story statement to be about the “Trinity of Chocolate” (Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry). It was left to Dr Michael Sadgrove, Dean Emeritus of Durham, to inject a degree of sanity into the Church’s position in his comments to the Church Times.

Gratefully accepting a gift-horse of a metaphor, the BHA described it as a storm in an eggcup; it was a gift to the cartoonists and bloggers, while Quakers might shed a silent tear for three businesses founded by Friends. Meanwhile, the willingness of Theresa May to wade into this media-generated nonsense emphasized her lack of action on weightier matters. David Tollerton, of Exeter University, suggests that the whole affair is redolent of “dog-whistle politics”: an undercooked mess that feeds English nationalism, while Esther McConnell, a direct descendant of John Cadbury, pointed out in a tweet that, as a Quaker, he didn’t celebrate Easter anyway.

A busy week in the courts Continue reading

Lord Chancellor acknowledges Supreme Court’s “integrity and impartiality”

In an interview with PoliticsHome, the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, has confirmed that the Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto commitment to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with a “British Bill of Rights”, is on hold – presumably for the remainder of the present Parliament: Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 25th December

Evidently a week for clearing desks – including ours…

Charity and the advancement of religion

On Monday the Charity Commission for England & Wales published its decision to reject an application from The Temple of the Jedi Order to register as a charitable incorporated organisation with purposes including “to advance the religion of Jediism, for the public benefit worldwide, in accordance with the Jedi Doctrine”: we noted it here and Russell Sandberg analysed the decision in depth here. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 9th October

A week so quiet that we found ourselves contemplating the plight of civil servants obliged to write rubbish for Twitter…

Appointing bishops in the C of E

We posted two pieces on episcopal appointment this week: on appointments to vacant sees and on the news of the appointment of a theological review of the work of the Crown Nominations Commission. In a thoughtful piece in Christian Today, Mark Woods (who, by the way, is a Baptist minister) mulls over the question, Bishops: Who Gets To Choose Who They Are, And Why? Well worth reading.

Abortion law in Poland

Christian Today reports that the Polish Government has decided not to seek a change in the law to impose a total ban on abortion following mass protests in which thousands of women dressed in black protested against the proposed ban even in the cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s health is at risk. Continue reading

Law and religion round-up – 2nd October

A week in which IICSA seemed in crisis yet again, another burkini ban was slapped down and the size of the House of Lords came under fire …

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The woes of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse seem to continue undiminished. On 28 September it was announced, and confirmed on 29 September, that the senior member of the Inquiry’s legal team, Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers, had been suspended from duty; and on the following day he resigned from the role of Counsel to the Inquiry. At the same time, it came to light that Elizabeth Prochaska, Emmerson’s immediate deputy, had already resigned. The BBC reported her as saying:

“I can confirm that after 15 months working on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, I resigned from my position as Junior Counsel with effect from 15 September 2016. I very much valued the experience of working with the Inquiry and I wish all my former colleagues the best as they continue their work.”

In a letter to the Chair on 29 September, Mr Emmerson notified Professor Jay of his resignation and  Continue reading