Turtle Bay and Beyond: Can a candidate who embraces the Catholic Church’s teachings on issues such as abortion and homosexuality serve as the European health commissioner? Do such views exist as one of many perspectives within a continent full of diverse opinions, or are they incompatible with “European values”? These proved to be the broader questions surrounding the November 13thhearing in the European Parliament evaluating the Maltese designate Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg.
Paul Coleman at the Bell Towers: “A secular society is not an anti-religious one. Rather, it is one where fundamental beliefs that we disagree about – beliefs that provide strong motivation to some but mean little or nothing to those who do not hold them – are left aside in public debate about communal decisions.” So says the European Humanist Federation. Such a statement is no doubt intended to comfort the religiously minded that often hold the sneaking suspicion that the secular vision for society is, a contrario, anti-religion. But do the secularists really practice what they preach, and is secularism really neutral in matters of religion and belief, as it is claimed.
LifeSiteNews: A consortium of homosexualist, secular humanist and abortion groups are campaigning against the appointment of the Maltese Dr. Tonio Borg as the new EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner. The objection, they say, is nothing more than that Dr. Borg is a Catholic, with “staunchly conservative and outdated” views on homosexuality, divorce and abortion.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: Strange things are going on in the EU Institutions. First John Dalli, the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, was ousted from the European Commission on the basis of (rather flimsy) charges of wrongdoing. Requests to Commission President Barroso to explain why exactly he forced Mr. Dalli to resign have been left unanswered.
Yahoo News (Reuters): Nearly half of Britons would vote in a referendum to leave the European Union and less than a third to stay in, according to a poll highlighting divisions facing Prime Minister David Cameron.
LifeNews: Women’s Rights Without Frontiers President Reggie Littlejohn co-presented the feature-length documentary, “It’s a Girl,” at the European Parliament, together with the film’s director, Evan Grae-Davis. Littlejohn is featured as an expert on China’s One Child Policy in this powerful new documentary exposing gendercide and forced abortion. The event, hosted by MEP Gay Mitchell packed the auditorium.
Reuters: Germany’s Angela Merkel on Wednesday warned Britain not to turn its back on Europe ahead of talks in London with Prime Minister David Cameron aimed at overcoming divisions that threaten to block a European Union budget deal later this month.
AP: The EU’s highest court ruled Tuesday that Hungary’s reduced retirement age for judges constituted unjustified discrimination on the grounds of age . . .
Reuters: British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a humiliating defeat in parliament on Wednesday after Conservatives rebelled over Europe, an issue that has divided his party for decades and helped bring down previous leaders.
An amendment to Italy’s tax code that would require the Catholic Church to pay taxes on all its properties has hit a speed bump, after it was overturned October 10th by the Council of State, Italy’s highest-ranking court for administrative litigation . . . Despite the amendment having been overturned by the court, the issue is still up in the air, with the Italian government and EU officials reportedly working closely together within the European Union’s internal legal framework to override the court’s authority.
Religion Clause Blog: On Oct. 15, the European Union’s Venice Commission along with the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights issued a Joint Opinion (Opinion 681 / 2012) finding numerous problems with Azerbaijan’s 2011 Law on Freedom of Religious Belief.
Ministry Builds On Opportunities To Defend Religious Freedom In America By Standing With Allies In Europe
Alan Sears at Alliance Defending Freedom Blog: Many of you are aware of the growing influence God is giving Alliance Defending Freedom in the courts of Europe. I have often expressed how important our presence there is to defend crucial cases that, if lost, will undoubtedly be embraced by activist judges in the U.S. and used to set ominous precedents for our own legal system. In short order, those precedents could seriously undermine your constitutionally protected freedoms and erode your religious liberty.
Reuters: Patricia Casey’s views on abortion were formed at the age of 12 when she came across an image of what looked to her like a torn-apart baby – an aborted foetus.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: The international youth organization World Youth Alliance has released a report containing allegations that the European Union finances forced abortions, including in China, through its development aid programs.
The Parliament: Another panel speaker, Daniel Lipsic, a former justice minister in Slovakia, said, “This is not just about arguing the case for Christians, but for freedom of speech.”
Benjamin Bull at Townhall: As the effects of Christianity have steadily eroded, the tentacles of secularization (its proponents would call it an “enlightened” secularization) has taken hold. It is marked by egalitarianism and utopian fantasies, but especially tolerance. Tolerance for …
Paper: Autonomy of Religious Organisations in the European Convention of Human Rights and European Union Law |
Mauro Gatti, Autonomy of Religious Organisations in the European Convention of Human Rights and European Union Law, (Paper presented at the Conference ‘Fundamental Rights in Europe and China: Between Identities and Universalism’, Bologna, 28-29 May 2012).
Benjamin Bull at Townhall: There is a movement underway in Europe to remove the tax exemptions churches have enjoyed for centuries. In Spain and Italy this attempt is being broadly pursued, while in Britain it is being done piecemeal.
Oliver Marc Hartwich at Business Spectator: So what was the role of the Constitutional Court, then? Simply to make sure that any euro crisis decisions taken are compatible with the constitution in general and with its democratic principles in particular. First and foremost among these democratic principles are parliament’s budget rights. No democracy can work if parliamentarians had no control over taxes and expenditures, and thus the Bundestag could not divest itself of this core right of fiscal autonomy, the court stated. Along with this, the judges demanded clarifications in the course of ratifying the European treaties.
Gatestone Institute: Protests over an American-made anti-Islamic YouTube film, Innocence of Muslims, have spread to Europe. Muslim rioters have clashed with police in several European cities, and more demonstrations are being planned. The protests are part of widespread anger across the Muslim world about the amateur film, which ridicules Islam and depicts the Muslim Prophet Mohammed as a fraud, a madman and a sexual deviant. Muslims in many European countries are calling on governments to outlaw the controversial film. They are also pressing elected officials to enact anti-blasphemy laws that would criminalize the criticism of Islam. As most European countries lack American-like First Amendment protections, the momentum is building for the imposition of legal curbs on free speech when such speech is perceived to be offensive to Islam.
Telegraph: Germany, France and nine other of Europe’s most powerful countries have called for an elected European Union president and an end to Britain’s veto over defence policy in a radical blueprint mapping out the continent’s future.
AP: How much does it cost to tell the one of the EU’s top officials he has “the charisma of a damp rag?” About (EURO)3,000, or close to $4,000, as a European member of Parliament has discovered.
Global Post: The rage over a US-made anti-Islamic video spread to Europe over the weekend, when clashes took place between protesters and police in several cities even as mainstream Muslim community leaders joined European governments in condemning violence sparked by the film.
The Guardian: With Catalan secessionism on the march, as well as debates about Scottish independence and a looming referendum, the question of EU membership for possible new states has become politically charged. By declaring that any state seceding from a member state would not automatically become a European Union member, EU commission president José Manuel Barroso has dealt a serious blow to a key part of the SNP’s plans for a “soft” form of Scottish independence.
Reuters: The euro rose to a four-month high against the dollar on Wednesday after Germany’s Constitutional Court gave its approval to the euro zone’s new rescue fund and budget pact, allowing its ratification under certain conditions.
Guardian: Decision is likely to give financial rescue fund the go-ahead against a background of German disillusion with single currency
NY Times: The European Central Bank on Thursday announced a sweeping program for buying the bonds of troubled euro zone countries, giving the bank potentially unprecedented power.
Religion Clause Blog: In Bundesrepublik Deutschland v Y and Z, (EU Ct. Justice, Sept. 5, 2012), the Court of Justice of the European Union interpreted the EU’s directive on the status of refugees in the case of two Pakistani members of the Ahmadiyya community who are seeking asylum in Germany. As summarized by the Court’s press release . . .
Catholic Culture: In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, the head of the Syrian Catholic Church—an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See—said that the right to religious freedom “only exists on paper” in the region and that “fundamental Islam does not want a dialogue on equal terms in the long run.”
AP: The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Italy’s ban on screening embryos for disease before they are implanted in a womb has violated the rights of a couple whose first child was born with cystic fibrosis.
Opinion: Costa and Pavan v. Italy, 280812
Reuters: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told a German newspaper he was “deeply worried” Britain might opt to leave the European Union in a referendum, particularly if too many powers were transferred to Brussels without democratic legitimacy.
Cyprus Mail: HE EUROPEAN Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has agreed to examine a legal challenge against Turkey for the north’s continued failure to repeal a law banning homosexuality.
LifeSiteNews: The convention redefines gender as a social construct, rather than as a distinction grounded in biology, and suggests violence towards women is systemic with roots in religion and culture.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: Ten years after its famous ruling in the case of Christine Goodwin v UK, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is required again to rule on the compatibility of the impediments that prevent transgender people from marrying a person who is of the same biological sex with the European Convention on Human Rights. While the Christine Goodwin judgment concerned the United-Kingdom, this new case, Joanne Cassar v. Malta (n° 36982/11), concerns the small and deeply catholic island of Malta.
Austria: “Homosexual Lobby: Moral Bankruptcy Followed By Financial Bankruptcy… Taxpayers’ Money Urgently Needed”
Turtle Bay and Beyond: The strange phenomenon that governments use taxpayers’ money to maintain radical homosexualist lobby groups is apparently not limited to the notorious case of ILGA-Europe, which is kept alive by funds received from the European Commission.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: In a democratic society, politics should be based on the exchange of rational arguments, not on negative campaigning and name-calling. This poster does not present any reasoned arguments in favour of same-sex marriage or gay adoption. Instead, its apparent purpose is to prevent the exchange of rational arguments from taking place and to belittle, marginalise and denigrate those holding different views. Their message is simple: Don’t listen to the arguments of our opponents — they are BAD and IGNORANT people.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: A Resolution at the EU Parliament last week raised alarm bells regarding the recent controversy in China surrounding the forced abortion that Feng Jianmei was forced to undergo.
AP: European Union officials questioned Tuesday the speed with which Romania’s supreme court has upheld the parliament’s suspension of President Traian Basescu . . .
AP: Britain says radical Muslim preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri has lodged an appeal over his extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. with the European Court of Human Rights.
The Telegraph: The Prime Minister is being driven against all his instincts on the EU by the new Eurosceptic Tory party.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: The shadow event is being reported on by “Countdown 2015 Europe” which describes itself as “a consortium of 16 leading European non-governmental organizations working to ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights in developing countries.” Many of their partners will be participating in the debate.
Daniel Pipes at National Review: The Russian and Chinese actions point to these alliances shaping the foreign policies of outside powers, too. Whereas the European Union and the U.S. government are increasingly sympathetic to Islamism, in part as a way to tame their own Muslim populations, Moscow and Beijing have a history of open conflict with their Muslim populations and therefore adopt policies more hostile to Islamism in the Middle East.
AP: Senior British lawmakers warned Monday that Britain must consider a future outside the European Union as the 17 members of Europe’s currency union, which the UK has stayed out of, develop closer fiscal and political ties.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: However, when the Ugandan authorities investigated the case (which probably they would have done even without the gentle exhortations by the European Parliament), it turned out that the murderer of David Kato was not a fanaticized “homophobe”. Instead, he was a male prostitute. A “crime committed on the basis of sexual orientation”? In a certain sense, yes, given that only homosexuals run the risk of being slain by male prostitutes whom they refuse to pay for their services . . .
Turtle Bay and Beyond: As the EU Observer reports today, the European gay rights lobby and its allies are deeply worried about the fact that the opponents of their radical agenda appear to win increasing donor support and media attention.a
AP: Germany’s finance minister is rejecting U.S. President Barack Obama’s calls on Europe to move faster in fighting its debt crisis, telling him to get the American deficit under control instead.
Daily Mail: Starving Greeks queued around the block for free food handouts yesterday as the country’s politicians managed to end a crippling stalemate to form a coalition government.
Telegraph: Britain may give more millions more pounds to the controversial European Court of Human Rights, despite the Government’s promise to rein it in.
Elizabeth Marquardt at Family Scholars: The United Nations is apparently atwitter over the fact that more parents — or, let’s be real, single mothers — are abandoning infants in so-called “baby boxes” at hospitals across Europe.
LifeNews: In the coming months, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights will once again have to rule on the issues of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Two cases, currently pending, will soon be decided by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR – Koch v. Germany and Alda Gross v. Switzerland).
AP: Right-to-die campaigners are meeting in Switzerland amid signs that the practice of assisted suicide is gaining acceptance in Europe.
Yahoo (AP): Olivier Bailly spokesman said Tuesday that, legally, limits could be imposed on movement of people and money across national borders within the EU if it’s necessary to protect public order or public security.
Express.co.uk: A new poll showed more than 80 per cent of voters are crying out for a referendum. Nearly half of voters – 49 per cent – want their voices heard straight away, according to the survey. A further third, 33 per cent, believe that there should be a vote “in the next few years”
CNN: Last month saw a series of riots in Europe, not over the wobbly Euro, but instead over the integration of Muslim Europeans and immigrants. In Bonn, hundreds of German Muslims clashed with police in a violent reaction to a far-right political party’s anti-Muslim gathering.
Middle East Forum: Ostensibly dealing with a building, a recent report demonstrates how Turkey’s populace—once deemed the most secular and liberal in the Muslim world—is reverting to its Islamic heritage, complete with animosity for the infidel West and dreams of Islam’s glory days of jihad and conquest.
EU: Several Member States Oppose Community Funding Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research. A Swedish Minister Gets Angry.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: While EU governments are currently discussing “Horizon 2020″, the 8th multiannual framework programme for research, several countries have announced that they were not going to support the EU funding of research projects on embryonic stem cells, which is ethically controversial because such cells are obtained from embryos that have been aborted or created in vitro. The move was led by the Austrian government, which was joined by Malta, Lithuania, Slovakia, Poland, Ireland and Slovenia.
Rael Jean Isaac at the Wall Street Journal (via Google): Unless Europe radically rethinks its obsession with carbon-dioxide emissions and the anti-fossil fuel energy policies that flow from it, growth is likely to remain elusive.
LifeSiteNews: The Vatican is backing a petition campaign in the European Union that seeks a debate about enshrining personhood for the unborn from the moment of conception.
Greg Puppinck at Turtle Bay and Beyond: Yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights published a judgment in the important case of Fernandez-Martínez c. Espagne (application no 56030/07), in which it concluded by six votes to one that “the choice of the bishop not to renew the contract of a teacher who is a married priest and activist of the Pro-Optional Celibacy Movement comes under the principle of religious freedom, as protected by the Convention.”
Washington Post: Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders says he will file a lawsuit to block the Netherlands from ratifying the permanent European bailout fund.
NY Times: Romania’s government fell Friday in a no-confidence vote just two months after taking office, the latest government in Europe to crumble amid disputes over unpopular austerity measures.
AP: The French government says that if the European Union doesn’t agree on a tougher line to fight illegal immigration it will pull out of Schengen borderless travel zone within a year.
National Secular Society: The American religious right continues its advance into Europe. Our representative at the Fundamental Rights Agency Hans Christian Cars reports that Roger Kiska, Senior Legal Counsel at the Alliance Defence Fund, is based in Europe and disturbingly has been elected to the Advisory Panel 2012-2013 of the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP).
Daily Mail: Yesterday’s report by Murray Hunt, legal adviser to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, said: ‘Something needs to be done to redress the debilitating democratic deficit that afflicts human rights.
Telegraph: UK-led plans to reform the European Court of Human Rights could have a “devastating” effect on thousands of people seeking justice in Russia, the Government has been warned.
BBC: The government is “quietly confident” it will secure changes to the European Court of Human Rights at a conference this week, Downing Street has said.
Hungary Makes Waves with New Constitution: Ambassador Says Document Can Promote a ‘Christian Renaissance’ in Europe
Zenit: Hungary’s Ambassador to the Holy See is rather perplexed by the negative reaction of some European figures and institutions to his country’s new Constitution — a document he sees as offering a possible impetus to a “Christian renaissance” in Europe.
Stefana Gennerini at C-Fam: The European Commission is using development funds to pay for abortions in countries that restrict the procedure and funding the two largest abortion providers in the world, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, according to a new report by European Dignity Watch. The report The Funding of Abortion through EU Development Aid reveals . . .
Boston Globe: Europe’s human rights court ruled Thursday that Britain can send a radical Muslim cleric and four other suspects to the United States to face terrorism charges in a case that has been closely watched as an indicator of whether tough U.S. prisons could influence extradition policy.
Irish Times: With the rate of payment of the charge at about 50 per cent local authorities are facing an unprecedented gap in funding.
Turtle Bay and Beyond: The non-profit advocacy group European Dignity Watch has published a report that exposes and denounces EU funding of International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International, the two largest abortion providers in the world.