GIVES 0.46 MILLION TO HELP VICTIMS OF CENTRAL AMERICAN FLOODS
THERE has been
a very important development in the campaign to oppose the
Government's religious hatred offence. There is to be a vote in the
House of Lords on Tuesday 25 October. This should be made a matter
of earnest prayer.
On Friday, 21 October 2005, Lord Hunt (for the Conservatives) and
Lord Lester QC (for the Liberal Democrats) tabled a cross-party
amendment to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill.
Many people would rather not have the Bill at all, but the
Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats said yesterday that if they
simply threw out the Bill, or passed wrecking amendments, the
Government would carry out its threat to use the Parliament Acts to
force the legislation through the Lords. Faced with this threat, the
two opposition parties, along with Lord Carey of Clifton, the former
Anglican Archbishop, and Lord Plant of Highfield, a prominent Labour
Peer, have tabled a compromise amendment. Their initiative seeks to
protect free speech and religious liberties, whilst at the same time
allowing the Government to fulfil its manifesto commitment.
For most campaigns on Christian issues it is a back bench politician
who takes the initiative. On this occasion the two main opposition
parties want to take the lead in a major way. This means that the
potential numbers on the Christians' side in any vote are
considerably greater than is usually the case. A key factor in all
this is the hard work of many and of Christians up and down the
country who have been making contact with their MPs. A level of
Christian lobbying is currently going on which, is unprecedented.
This has undoubtedly triggered a great interest from front bench
The main points of the compromise amendment significantly narrows
the scope of the proposed incitement to religious hatred offence in
(1) It provides a robust defence for free speech and evangelism
(Clause 29J). The wording states:-
'Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which
prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of
antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular
religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any
other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or
proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief
system to cease practising their religion or belief system.'
(2) The loosely worded phrase 'likely to stir up religious hatred'
has been removed. It must now be proved that a person intended to
stir up religious hatred.
(3) Only 'threatening' conduct would now be covered by the offence.
The words 'abusive' and 'insulting' have been removed.
The full text of the amendment can be found by
The amendment removes the most obvious problems with the wording of
the religious hatred offence, and is the only one with support of
both the main opposition parties.
Any religious hatred offence involves a risk to all religious
liberties. That is why Christians say they continue to oppose the
Bill and pray that still somehow it will be dropped. It is right and
proper to pray for this, whilst at the same time using the practical
opportunities which present themselves, bearing in mind that the two
opposition parties have decided to hold the first vote at very short
notice. Whilst there is no time before Tuesday to step up a letter
writing campaign, there is plenty of time to pray!
If the Lords accept the amendment, the Bill goes back to the Commons
and MPs must decide whether to accept the Lords' amendment or
re-instate the Bill as originally drafted. This will mean future
votes in Parliament with the potential
for the Bill to 'ping-pong' between the two Houses. So it is vitally
important that, as well as praying, Christians continue to contact
Letters To Editor:- "Night Life In Southport Town Center"
"I would like
to thank Southport Reporter's Editor Patrick Trollope for all his
efforts over the last few years, to support the night life
community. It is interesting that now the ground work
has been completed by him and a few others, who are none press, that
Sefton Council and also the other newspapers in Southport are now
jumping onboard. What annoys me is that he and the others
don't even get a mention. Please keep up the hard work
and keep Southport on the Internet map as the place to go for a good
night out. Your efforts are noted by all of us in the
Southport club and pub community." Mark from Southport.
Aged 20. Note from Editor:-
"Thanks for your letter. It is nice to get some one
saying we are doing good. Sadly Sefton MBC in some
departments do not recognise the work we do, but we do it to help
the town and not to get press, as some papers do. But as you
say it would be nice to get a mention by them."
ASIA EARTHQUAKE:- UK PLEDGES 20 MILLION MORE FOR RELIEF EFFORT
further 20 million to fund more helicopters,
including three British military Chinooks, shelter, food and other
urgent needs was announced on 20 October 2005, by the International
Development Secretary, Mr Hilary Benn, bringing the total pledged by
the UK Government to 33 million.
Mr Benn made the announcement during a visit to Pakistan, on 20
October 2005, where he whitnessed for himself the relief efforts
being made and discussing with the Government of Pakistan and United
Nations what more the UK can do
Hilary Benn said:- "The situation in
Pakistan is very serious. More people are at risk of dying. The
British Government is doing all it can, and todays announcement of
more money will help increase our support. The real challenge for
all of us is to turn money into immediate assistance in the form of
helicopters, medicine, food and tents.
An estimated two million people are homeless and they need tents and
blankets to protect them from the cold as winter arrives. We have
already sent all of our UK stores of winter tents, sleeping mats and
tarpaulins to Pakistan, both by air and by road, and we are now part
of the global search to find more and to get them to those in need.
I will be discussing the urgent priorities of the relief effort with
the Government of Pakistan. Britain will continue to provide further
support both now and in the future to help both in relief and
9 million of the additional 20 million announced today will fund:-
* 3 million for helicopters including three British military (RAF)
heavy lift CH-47 Chinook helicopters, which are in addition to the
four helicopters already being funded by DFID through the UN and Red
* 2 million extra for the Red Cross, to be divided equally between:-
The International Committee of the Red Cross to supply helicopters,
winter clothing, tents and food; and the International Federation of
the Red Cross for the provision of immediate relief supplies such as
blankets, tents and water.
* 1 million extra for medical support and services,
* 1 million extra for water and sanitation
* 1 million extra for shelter
* 1 million extra for transport, logistics and co-ordination
In addition, 1,660,000 has been provided by the UK as part of the
EUs aid contribution through the European Commission Humanitarian
Of the 13 million already announced we have allocated 5 million for
the UN Flash Appeal; 3 million is expected to pay for in-kind
donations and airlifts for the Disasters Emergency Committee; 1.5
million is for the Red Cross; 300,000 is for Save the Children UK
for the provision of tents, blankets, clothing, primary health care
and services to help reunify families; 300,000 is for Christian Aid
for tents, food packages, shelter kits, first aid and medical
assistance; 300,000 is for Action Aid for the provision of relief,
food packages, shelter, health centres, tents, medical supplies and
All remaining funds, around 12 million, will be allocated following
needs assessments being carried out in Pakistan.
The UK Government, through DFIDs emergency response team, has
* undertaken 13 relief flights that have carried a total of 900
tonnes of emergency supplies from the UK and Dubai which have
included a total of 40,000 sleeping mats, 28,000 blankets, 30,000
tarpaulins and plastic sheets, 19,700 jerry cans and 5,500
winterised tents which are being distributed through UK aid agencies
such as Oxfam and Islamic Relief, also 13 vehicles and a trailer, 2
forklift trucks and 50 global positioning system units provided by
DFID have been flown out to Pakistan;
* organised and funded 4 Disasters Emergency Committee flights with
another 16 planned over the next few days;
* paid for half of the World Health Organisations appeal to provide
enough health and trauma kits to support 40,000 people for 3 months;
* provided logistical support to the United Nations including
vehicles, airport handling equipment and an Humanitarian Information
Centre with computers, printers, map-making equipment and global
positioning systems that will help the UN to co-ordinate the