On this day October 16, 1555: Hugh Latimer, former Bishop of Worcester and Nicholas Ridley, former chaplain to Edward VI, were burned at the stake in Oxford. They refused to convert from the Church of England to Catholocism under Mary I. A stone cross on Broad Street in Oxford marks the spot of their execution.
On this day October 9, 1635: Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Massachusetts General Court found him guilty of criticizing the government for illegally seizing Native Americans' land and also challenging the right of the church to reprimand religious dissenters. During his lifetime he could never enter the colony without risking his liberty and life.
Princeton Evangelical Fellowship students voted to drop the word 'evangelical' from their name due to the negative connotations associated with the word 'evangelical'. The students are now known as 'Princeton Christian Fellowship'. A spokesperson for the group emphasized that discussions regarding the name change began before the last election. However, 'evangelical' has become burdened with politics and therefore interferes with the group's ministry.
On this day October 5, 1573: In Antwerp, Maeyken Wens was burned at the stake for her Anabaptist beliefs. To prevent her speaking to the crowd her tongue was screwed to the top of her mouth. Adriaen, her son, found the screw in her ashes after her death and the fire down died.
Working on Sabbath to keep trains running in Israel has resulted in a political storm. Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the work stopped during the Sabbath hours to satisfy ultra-Orthodox parties that form part of his ruling coalition. Ultra-Orthodox Jews insist upon a strict Shabbat observance. However, the High Court of Justice overruled Netanyahu's order stating that orders only from Labor Minister Katz were enforcable. Katz ordered resumption of work, even during Sabbath hours, angering the ultra-Orthodox. Before the court's intervention, trains were shut down across the nation during Shabbat leaving many stranded commuters, including soldiers who could not return to their posts.
Until recently, Female Genital Mutilation (FMG) has been legal in Russia. However, legislation recently was drafted banning the practice after a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew caused an uproar over the procedure.
When asked about FGM, Mufti Ismail Berdiev said FGM was a 'healthy custom' that should be practiced on all women 'to end depravity on Earth and reduce sexuality.' He opined that at creation women were destined for the birthing and raising of children and that FGM does not interfere with this God-given directive.
Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin of the Russian Orthodox Church agreed that FGM was a 'time-honored practice' but was probably unnecessary for Orthodox Christian women because promiscuity was not a problem for among them.
Rabbi Boruch Gorin neither condoned or condemned FGM but agreed that men are surrounded by many sexual temptations.
Mufti Ismail Berdiev later claimed he was joking about FGM but stressed that women's sexuality must be restrained.
Muslim women who choose to become part of the RCMP may now wear the hijab while on the job. The Mounties became the third police force in Canada to allow the hijab. Officials noted that the decision reflects Canada's growing diversity and hopes to encourage Muslim women to become Mounties. The hijab has been worn by Muslim female members of the Canadian military since 1996.
Scotland Police, also in an effort to recruit more minorities, have also approved the hijab as part of its official uniform.
On this day September 3, 1783: in Paris Great Britain signed the Peace Treaty with the United States of America thereby recognizing its former colonies as an independent nation.
On this day, February 20, 1798: Louis Alexandre Berthie removed Pope Pius VI from power.
On this day, May 19, 1536: Anne Boleyn was beheaded. In order to marry her, Henry VIII split the kingdom from the Roman Catholic Church and created the Church of England.
There is no separation of church and state in Germany. It levies a church tax to support established religions. Islam is Germany's fastest growing faith and its members seek the same legal standing as those who follow Judeo-Christian beliefs. Part of this goal has been realized as Islam is now part of public school and university programs just as Judaism and Christianity are. Teachers of Islam can now receive state-certified training for teaching Islam in public schools. Germany hopes that such measures will counteract radical Islam.
Samantha Elauf claims Abercrombie and Fitch refused to hire her because of her religious belief requiring the wearing of a black headscarf. Abercrombie and Fitch has a work rule prohibiting employees wearing either hats or anything black. However, this work requirement was not raised during the interview when Elauf wore a black headscarf. While Justice Samuel Alito stated the reason Elauf was denied a job was because Abercrombie and Fitch assumed she would wear the black headscarf every day to work, Abercrombie and Fitch denied that Elauf was the victim of religious discrimination.
The Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeal of a lower court decision retaining swearing 'allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors' in the oath new citizens are required to pledge. Three permanent and long-time residents of Canada sought Canadian citizenship but refused to swear allegiance to the Queen. Only one of the three refused on religious grounds but all three must now either repeat the phrase pledging allegiance to the Queen or remain permanent residents and not citizens of Canada.
On this day, March 5, 1616: The Catholic Church added 'De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium' ('On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres') by Nicolaus Copernicus to the Index of Forbidden Books.
On this day February 19, 356: Emperor Constantius II ordered all pagan temples in the Roman Empire closed.
On this day, February 18, 1546: Martin Luther dies in Eisleben, Saxony. He was 62 years of age.
On this day, February 5, 1631: Roger Williams and his wife Mary arrive in Boston.
Upset over increasing theft, vandalism and arson of their churches, Christians in India's capital city marched to the home of the official responsible for law and order. However, some were arrested because his home is located in an area of Delhi banning protests. India is officially a secular country but the vast majority of the population are Hindu. Christians have faced religious intolerance since British rule because Christianity is viewed as a Western religion and associated with colonialism. However, Christians claim that intolerance is increasing with the election of a Hindu nationalist party. Because they do not trust the police, the Christians are asking for an independent judicial inquiry. They also state that they are not asking for safety because they are Christians but as citizens of India.
On this day January 28, 1547 Henry VIII, founder of the Church of England, dies.