Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The Christian Institute: A pro-life organisation has addressed the United Nations, calling for the medical establishment to discontinue the use of the term ‘incompatible with life’.
Israel National News: What do a rabbi, an archbishop, a top Islamic academic and former British prime minister Tony Blair have in common? Quite a lot, it turned out, at an unusual panel on religion at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, where they found shared ground on extremism, violence and freedom of expression in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris.
National Review: Here’s the advocacy con advanced by suicide promoters in the UK to bludgeon Parliament into legalizing doctor-prescribed death.
Lozier Institute: Last week, an assisted suicide organization in Switzerland named Exit made the news with a report of an anomalous growth in membership. According to its vice president, a record number of about 60 to 100 new applicants poured in daily this July and August, instead of the expected lag in applications due to summer travel. All told, Exit’s members amount to about 75,000. Among these, 459 chose to end their lives last year with the organization, which provides the lethal drugs. According to the report, this frightening number exceeds the previous year by about 100.
Inquirer News: Voters in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region Sunday slapped a ban on wearing full-face veils, a move condemned by the country’s Muslim community and Amnesty International.
Telegraph: They look like shelters for hikers in a national park, but these wooden sheds in Switzerland have a rather less innocent purpose – they provide a discreet location for men to have sex with prostitutes.
Christian Institute: A British man suffering from dementia has committed suicide at a Dignitas clinic in Switzerland – in a case believed to be the first of its kind.
LifeSiteNews: Reports that the Swiss bishops have approved the morning after pill in cases of rape are incorrect, according to the Swiss bishops conference.
Wesley J. Smith at LifeNews: But back to Switzerland. Their suicide clinics seem to accept all comers, and the Swiss refused to shut the suicide tourism down. Which is why I call it Kevorkian as a country.
Catholic Culture: The Swiss bishops’ spokesman said that the use of the pill would be allowed only in cases when it would not have an abortifacient effect. The spokesman acknowledged the difficulty of determining whether a rape victim could already had ovulated
Phayul.com: Around 200 Tibetans from all over Switzerland took part in a special solidarity prayer vigil in front of the United Nations office in Geneva yesterday.
Foreign Policy: The initiative committe is led by politician Heinz Hürzeler, a member of the country’s Social Liberal Movement, and maintains that in Switzerland, where 12 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, the practice represents a huge blow to the economy (comparatively speaking, Switzerland has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world, with only 6.4 abortions for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44)
Telegraph: Zurich council has approved a plan to build the boxes, which will, it hopes, provide a discreet location for prostitutes and their clients to conduct business when they open in August next year.
LifeSiteNews: The 750% increase in assisted suicides amongst Swiss nationals since 1998, along with the disturbing 18% annual increase in euthanasia in the Netherlands over the last year will sound strong alarms to legislators in Britain that we should not be contemplating going down this route.
Chicago Tribune: Switzerland’s parliament voted against a bid to toughen controls on assisted suicide on Wednesday, rejecting concerns about foreigners travelling to the country to die.
AFP on Yahoo: Switzerland has given the green light for a new prenatal test for Down’s syndrome amid controversy over whether this will lead to more abortions, a Swiss newspaper reported Sunday.
LifeNews: Once a society accepts the fundamental premises of assisted suicide–e.g., radical individualism and killing as an acceptable answer to suffering–there really are no brakes. Switzerland more than aptly demonstrates the thesis.
LifeNews: Members of Human Life International (HLI) Switzerland are helping to organize a pro-life conference in Zurich, Switzerland on June 15 in opposition to a meeting of euthanasia activists from around the world.
AP: Right-to-die campaigners are meeting in Switzerland amid signs that the practice of assisted suicide is gaining acceptance in Europe.
Christian Institute: The number of assisted suicides for Swiss residents has risen by 700 per cent in the space of 11 years, according to new figures.
Europe News: The Swiss Federal Court has dismissed an action by a Muslim family who wanted to keep their daughters out of religious reasons, from swimming lessons. The supreme court affirmed the country to a landmark ruling from the year 2008
One News Now: Paul Coleman, ADF legal counsel in Vienna, Austria, says people are not granted the right to assisted suicide under the European Convention. “The government has an obligation to protect life, not facilitate death,” he explains. “Claims to personal autonomy do not override national laws, which are designed to protect the weak and vulnerable. This position is supported by the European Court’s existing case law and is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Wesley J. Smith at First Things Secondhand Smoke: The splendid Alliance Defense Fund has intervened with a very good brief as to why European law both does not compel the legalizing of assisted suicide nor creates a positive human right to assistance in killing themselves. (Yes, that is where the argument is now going.)
LifeNews.com: Exit indicates it killed 416 people last year in assisted suicides, with 305 of the deaths occurring the German-speaking part of the European nation — an increase over the 257 in 2010 — while 11 people were killed in the French speaking portion of the country, up from 91 in 2010.
The Local: As Switzerland debates allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt, a leading politician has caused consternation by comparing homosexuality to drug use.
BBC News (includes image of naked hiker): Switzerland’s highest court has ruled that local authorities can impose fines on people hiking nude in the Alps.
News from The Associated Press: Switzerland’s lower house of parliament voted 101-77 Wednesday to outlaw veils like the burqa worn by some Muslim women when using public transportation or dealing with authorities.
Matstunehag.com: Second@s Plus, a lobby group in Switzerland consisting of mostly Muslim immigrants, demand that Switzerland removes the cross from the nation’s flag.
The Christian Institute: A ‘sex box’ for primary school aged children which includes a wooden penis and a fabric vagina has sparked a storm of controversy in Switzerland. The box is to be used as part of a radical new sex education programme for primary school aged kids in Basel.
Rautenbach, Christa, Comments on the Constitutional Protection of Religion in Swaziland (August 10, 2008). African Human Rights Journal, Vol. 8, pp. 432-457, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1907666
LifeSiteNews.com: Following a successful petition drive by pro-life groups, the Swiss government will be forced to hold a national referendum on the public funding of abortion, after deciding in April to continue paying for the deadly procedures.
AP at Findlaw: The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the people filing the lawsuits – a former spokesman for a Geneva mosque and several Swiss Muslim groups – couldn’t claim to be victims.
The Sun |Showbiz|TV: A DESPERATELY ill man will be shown on TV choking and begging for water before he dies in a suicide clinic.
AP on One News Now: A Swiss group that assists people to commit suicide says it wants to lower the legal hurdles for elderly clients seeking its help.
Islamist Watch: Though France is the pace setter, efforts to impose burqa bans, both broad and narrow, press on across the West. The following is a quick and by no means exhaustive update on recent attempts . . .
Religion Clause Blog: World Radio Switzerland and Swissinfo.ch reported yesterday that a judge has acquitted three Hindu men who were arrested when they announced last year that they planned to burn the Bible and the Qur’an outside the federal parliament building in Bern’s Parliament Square . . .
UK: Nan Maitland’s suicide demonstrates incremental extention that will follow any change in the law
Peter Saunders at Christian Concern for our Nation: According to the Sunday Times, an 84 year old British woman committed suicide at a Swiss facility last month because she did not want to die of old age.
USA Today: “Now, former Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf wants to make assisted suicide more difficult by requring the process be supervised by doctors who aren’t affiliated with one of the country’s four right-to-die organizations. And Zurich voters are due to decide in May whether to ban assisted suicide, the article says.”
Swiss Info: “Switzerland did not violate any human rights when it refused to give a mentally ill man over-the-counter access to a drug in order to end his life. In a ruling on Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg dismissed an appeal by the 58-year-old man, who after two suicide attempts in 2004 turned to Dignitas, a Swiss assisted suicide organisation.”
Swiss Info: “The acquittal of a doctor accused of euthanasia has rekindled the debate on assisted suicide in Switzerland, ahead of votes at the cantonal level on the issue.”
Rexburg Standard Journal: “A new policy in Switzerland that would effectively ban all missionaries from non-European Union countries from serving in the country beginning in 2012 . . . A recent decision by a Swiss court has established that missionary work is ‘gainful employment’ and is thus subject to foreigner employment quotas. The law restricts missionaries from all religious denominations.” Via Religion Clause.
“On November 29, 2009, Swiss voters adopted a ballot initiative introducing a constitutional ban on the construction of minarets. This Article provides a thick description of the minaret vote’s context. A legal analysis addresses the implications of the ban under national, regional, and international normative frameworks. The Article argues that the ban is irreconcilable with the Swiss constitutional bill of rights and several international human right provisions. In Switzerland, however, respect for the vox populi potentially trumps any concern over conflicting international obligations, and there is no effective judicial review of initiatives. This lack of judicial review is partly a result of the myth system of modern Switzerland and its emphasis on popular sovereignty. Yet, the fears that fueled the prohibition of minarets in Switzerland are widespread in Europe. Hostility to Islam is partly rooted in historical traditions and partly due to disagreement over how to integrate newcomers into Western society, and this Article suggests an approach that carefully balances expectations of Muslim adaptation with a less exclusive construction of European identity.”
“Thirteen members of Congress are urging Swiss authorities to allow Mormon missionaries to continue serving in the country beyond 2012, when a new rule would forbid non-European Union citizens from serving as missionaries.”
Swiss Info: “The row over the local minaret has not gone away. It had already received planning permission from the town before the vote was held, and that was confirmed by the cantonal authorities in September 2010. Opponents have now taken their case to the cantonal administrative court, which is expected to rule in 2011.”
Townhall (BP): “Swiss euthanasia promoter Ludwig Minelli is calling for lethal prescriptions to be provided legally to the spouses and partners of terminally ill patients even when they are healthy.”
World Radio Switzerland: “Canton Neuchâtel’s former head doctor went on trial today for having helped an incurably ill patient end her days.”
LifeSiteNews: “Human Life International (HLI) Switzerland pointed out that headlines saying the ‘Catholic Church’ is handing out condoms in parishes are misleading . . . ‘The official Swiss Catholic Church is not responsible for this action. Only the “Catholic Church of Lucerne,” a local Catholic State organisation, is responsible for the distribution of the condoms.’”
Associated Press: “A Catholic church in the central Swiss city of Lucerne has sparked controversy among believers with an AIDS awareness campaign that involves distributing to teenagers condoms bearing the slogan ‘protect thy neighbor as thyself.’”
Cristina Odone writing at the Telegraph: “The person who packs their bags for Dignitas (no need for a toothbrush: the whole procedure takes only a couple of hours) is likely to belong to the well-educated, articulate elite who are addicted to choice and who view assisted suicide as the ultimate consumer choice. They want to stage-manage their death as they have stage-managed every other aspect of their lives, from childbirth through marriage to divorce.”
Christian Post: “China’s government is preventing Christian leaders in the country from attending a major international gathering of mission-minded leaders by stopping them as they reach the airport and confiscating their passports.”
Christian Science Monitor: “The World Economic Forum released its 2010 Global Gender Gap Report on Tuesday. The report, which indexed 134 countries this year, evaluates how much of the gender gap each country has eliminated through economic opportunity, health access, education, and political empowerment. Below are the 10 countries that have been most successful.”
ADF Attorney Kevin Theriot writing at Speak Up Movement / Church: “I observe in an article recently published in the Baptist Press that ‘even though freedom of religion is wounded, it’s certainly not dead.’ In 1991, the Supreme Court made it much more difficult to defend churches and religious people with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. But as the article demonstrates, we at ADF have had some recent success in this area. That’s crucial because religious freedom is foundational to our political life. As George Washington said in his Farewell Address, ‘Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.’”
swissinfo.ch: “Researchers at Bern and Zurich universities have found that suicide rates are lower among people with an affiliation to one of Switzerland’s recognised churches.”
The Christian Institute: “Two people have been arrested in connection with the death of a severely disabled man at the highly controversial Dignitas facility in Switzerland.”
New York Times: “After years of these societies passively or haphazardly accommodating immigrants from Islamic countries and black Africa, a reversed core notion now insists that the newcomers’ behavior must accommodate the majority’s. The politics surrounding the change can run from shrill to populistic. But as a position paper issued under Ms. Ploumen’s leadership [chairwoman of the Dutch Labor Party] asserted, governments and politicians had too long failed to accept the feelings of ‘loss and estrangement’ faced by national societies in the face of immigrant communities that disregard or mock their laws and customs.”
The Sydney Morning Herald (AFP): “Officials in the Swiss city of Basel have fined five Muslim families for refusing to allow their daughters to attend compulsory swimming classes in school, Swiss news agency ATS reports.”
BBC: “Saturday’s protest was to highlight what they believe is an ‘ideological attack’ on Islam. Organiser Muhammad Abu Yaffir said: ‘Muslims feel very strongly about these laws being introduced across Europe’.”
The Christian Institute: “The Dignitas suicide clinic is being investigated by the Swiss authorities after it was revealed that the controversial organisation had helped a mentally ill man commit suicide. Swiss law requires that every patient at the facility must be able to understand the consequences of their actions, and that they are of sound mind.”
AP: “A Swiss man fined for nude hiking has won an appeal of the 100-franc ($87) penalty because a court decided that the charge of ‘indecent behavior’ did not apply.”
Swiss Info: “The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has asked Switzerland to respond to appeals filed after the November vote to ban minarets. The government has until September 15 to present its side.”
ABC: “Libya and Thailand are among 14 countries elected as new members of the UN Human Rights Council in a vote that rights advocates have criticised as stripping the meaning from the body. Angola, Mauritania, Uganda, Maldives, Malaysia, Qatar, Moldova, Poland, Ecuador, Guatemala, Spain and Switzerland have also been elected by the General Assembly for three-year terms on the 47-nation council, which is based in Geneva.”
The Sun: “Bosses of Swiss suicide firm Dignitas were facing jail today after the discovery of up to 300 urns containing human remains in a lake. British ‘suicide tourist’ ashes are believed to be in some of the caskets found at the bottom of Lake Zurich by police divers.”
Lorenz Langer, Panacea or Pathetic Fallacy? The Swiss Ban on Minarets (April 24, 2010). Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 43, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1594192
“This article provides a thick description of the context in which the minaret vote took place. First, a legal analysis addresses the implications of the ban under national, regional and international normative frameworks. It is argued that the ban is irreconcilable with the constitutional bill of rights and several international human right provisions. However, in contrast to state ballots in the United States, there is no judicial review of initiatives in Switzerland; respect for the vox populi trumps any concern over conflicting international obligations. A historical analysis will help to explain how, through its excessive emphasis on popular sovereignty, the peculiar myth-system underlying modern-time Switzerland has facilitated the banning of minarets.”
The Christian Institute: “Police are investigating the case of a woman who did not have a terminal illness but committed suicide at Swiss ‘clinic’ Dignitas. The son of Kathleen Dobson says he was not told she was about to commit suicide, and if he had known he would have intervened.”
World Radio Switzerland: “The president of the Conference of Islamic Organizations of Switzerland says he’s preparing for a legal case involving freedom of religion.”
Hat tip: Religion Clause Blog
Catholic News Agency: “In response to an alarming increase in sexual promiscuity among children ages 10 – 14, the Swiss government has decided to begin distributing ‘extra-small’ condoms.”
AP: “Although Gadhafi’s jihad declaration late Thursday was widely viewed as a stunt by a leader given to outlandish behavior, the danger was difficult to dismiss in an era of Islamic-Western foment over issues ranging from headdress bans in Europe to faraway Middle East disputes, Iran’s nuclear program and Nordic newspapers’ caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.”
BBC: “A top UN official has condemned as ‘inadmissible’ Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s call for a jihad, or holy war, against Switzerland.”