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Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS Opinion

The Church can’t be allowed to carry on marking its own homework

The Church can’t be allowed to carry on marking its own homework

Posted: Sat, 24 Jun 2017 10:40

The Church concealed evidence of criminality and colluded to protect an abusive bishop. Only external oversight will guarantee that church safeguarding practices comply with secular standards, argues Richard Scorer.

Anti-Muslim hate must be challenged. Silencing criticism of Islam won’t help

Anti-Muslim hate must be challenged. Silencing criticism of Islam won’t help

Posted: Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:38

Both the Government and civil-society have a role to play in challenging anti-Muslim hate, but efforts to silence criticisms of Islam will only be counterproductive, argues Stephen Evans.

Abortion ruling is a missed opportunity to recognise the disparity in women’s reproductive health rights across the UK

Abortion ruling is a missed opportunity to recognise the disparity in women’s reproductive health rights across the UK

Posted: Thu, 15 Jun 2017 16:37

Ensuring that NHS abortion services are made available, free of charge, to UK citizens travelling from Northern Ireland would be a way of mitigating the harm caused by a disparity in women's reproductive health rights across the UK, argues Dr Antony Lempert.

Was Tim Farron a secularist?

Was Tim Farron a secularist?

Posted: Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:35

Tim Farron was a classic secularist, but found himself unable to reconcile his personal faith and his party's socially liberal positions and made his own choice, argues Terry Sanderson.

Scottish care provider’s decision to drop faith test should prompt a rethink over equality exceptions

Scottish care provider’s decision to drop faith test should prompt a rethink over equality exceptions

Posted: Tue, 13 Jun 2017 16:05

When religious organisations are delivering state-funded public services they should neither discriminate nor proselytize – argues Stephen Evans, looking at the case of CrossReach and its implications.

“Glastonbury of Freethinkers”: conference on freedom of conscience and expression

“Glastonbury of Freethinkers”: conference on freedom of conscience and expression

Posted: Mon, 12 Jun 2017 12:00

Saturday 22 – Monday 24 July will see activists from around the world gather for a weekend of discussions and debates on freedom of conscience and expression in the 21st century. Maryam Namazie tells us why it is such an important event.

What happens next? Some thoughts on the election and the challenges to come

What happens next? Some thoughts on the election and the challenges to come

Posted: Fri, 09 Jun 2017 11:10

The dust is beginning to settle. Whether you're delighted, dismayed or just surprised by last night's results there are challenges and opportunities to come.

We need to defend both our lives and our way of life

We need to defend both our lives and our way of life

Posted: Thu, 08 Jun 2017 22:15

Terrorist atrocities have a way of bringing the nation together, albeit temporarily. We need a glue to keep us together, to protect our lives and our way of life, writes Stephen Evans.

Irish National Maternity Hospital: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!”

Irish National Maternity Hospital: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!”

Posted: Mon, 05 Jun 2017 11:43

The determination to give a hospital to a disgraced religious order, in spite of public outrage, is the very antithesis of secularism. But the episode has prompted calls for fundamental changes in the relationship between church and state, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

What do the main parties have to say on secular issues?

What do the main parties have to say on secular issues?

Posted: Thu, 18 May 2017 14:27

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have all released their manifestos for the General Election. Read our analysis of what they say on issues from equality to human rights, Islamist extremism and education.

Why we need a 21st century RE for all

Why we need a 21st century RE for all

Posted: Wed, 17 May 2017 12:30

Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the Education Reform Act 1988 which saw the introduction of a national curricular entitlement for all pupils. One subject alone remains set apart from this - religious education.

The Catholic Church’s abuse scandal shows no sign of abating

The Catholic Church’s abuse scandal shows no sign of abating

Posted: Mon, 15 May 2017 12:54

After forty years the Catholic Church is still more interested in protecting itself and its clerical culture than in truly eradicating child abuse, writes Richard Scorer.

Anglican stance on women and gays could trigger disestablishment

Anglican stance on women and gays could trigger disestablishment

Posted: Sun, 14 May 2017 07:40

Keith Porteous Wood argues that, with the CofE's hierarchy so at odds with the values on equality held by the country at large, an Anglican vicar is right to question its status as the 'national church'.

Murdered for the ‘crime’ of blasphemy

Murdered for the ‘crime’ of blasphemy

Posted: Fri, 12 May 2017 12:59

There has been an onslaught against secularists, atheists, ex-Muslims and countless religious minorities for 'blasphemy'. It's important to remember the individuals, and honour their lives and heroism.

Casework focus: community schools and religious takeovers

Casework focus: community schools and religious takeovers

Posted: Thu, 11 May 2017 14:32

Parents and staff regularly contact the NSS over concerns related to religious influence in their schools. Campaigns officer Alastair Lichten looks at a typical example of the casework we receive and what lessons can be learned.

CofE talks to the electorate, but is anyone listening?

CofE talks to the electorate, but is anyone listening?

Posted: Mon, 08 May 2017 12:10

Religious leaders are free to speak out on politics, but they shouldn't expect their views to be given any special weight, and politicians shouldn't assume that clerics speak for anyone but themselves, argues Terry Sanderson.

As a nation we’re thinking about our future, here’s our secular manifesto for change

As a nation we’re thinking about our future, here’s our secular manifesto for change

Posted: Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:45

Ahead of the General Election we're calling on political parties to embrace a series of secular reforms, drawn from our recently published secular manifesto, that make society, our education system, and the law fairer for all.

This is not a ‘Christian country’

This is not a ‘Christian country’

Posted: Tue, 18 Apr 2017 13:46

Despite many remaining anachronisms in our constitution, the UK is not a Christian country in any meaningful legal sense: but politicians continue to repeat this myth.

The Catholic Church in Scotland is still playing the victim card to stifle criticism

The Catholic Church in Scotland is still playing the victim card to stifle criticism

Posted: Thu, 06 Apr 2017 11:06

There is some lingering anti-Catholic bigotry in Scotland, writes NSS vice president Alistair McBay, but the Church is playing victim while supporting a segregated education system which can only worsen prejudice.

Religious programming isn’t popular, and no amount of hounding from the Church will change that

Religious programming isn’t popular, and no amount of hounding from the Church will change that

Posted: Tue, 04 Apr 2017 12:29

The BBC still produces a considerable amount of religious programmes – but the numbers who watch it are so small they barely register in viewing figures. More religion on TV isn't what the public want, and it won't be good for the BBC, writes Terry Sanderson.

Prime Minister and CofE promote fake ‘war on Easter’

Prime Minister and CofE promote fake ‘war on Easter’

Posted: Tue, 04 Apr 2017 09:53

After several media outlets falsely claimed that the National Trust and Cadbury were 'airbrushing' Easter out of their Easter egg hunt, Terry Sanderson argues that the Prime Minister's involvement in this trumped-up propaganda exercise was the real disgrace.

Caste discrimination: Fear of upsetting religious groups must not impede social justice

Caste discrimination: Fear of upsetting religious groups must not impede social justice

Posted: Fri, 31 Mar 2017 10:55

Caste discrimination is the latest area where misplaced sensitivity could allow deference to religion to trump social justice, argues Stephen Evans.

Who is running Ireland – the Government or the Church?

Who is running Ireland – the Government or the Church?

Posted: Mon, 27 Mar 2017 10:25

The reach and power of the Catholic Church has waned considerably in recent years in Ireland. But there are troubling signs that its undue influence over the country is returning, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

Why are we still allowing religion to retard young people’s education and health rights?

Why are we still allowing religion to retard young people’s education and health rights?

Posted: Thu, 09 Mar 2017 10:56

The Government's proposals on Relationships and Sex Education are a step in the right direction – but religious opt outs mean many children will continue to be left behind, writes Stephen Evans.

The human rights of women and secularism go hand in hand

The human rights of women and secularism go hand in hand

Posted: Wed, 08 Mar 2017 10:30

On International Women's Day 2017 NSS campaigns officer Alastair Lichten reflects on the intersection of gender and religious privilege, and what the secularist movement can learn from IWD.

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