1. Skip to content

National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS Blog & Opinion

Free Church of Scotland attacks secularism and “sexual equality”; calls for Biblical principles in Scottish Government

Free Church of Scotland attacks secularism and “sexual equality”; calls for Biblical principles in Scottish Government

Posted: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:14 by Ben Jones

The Free Church of Scotland has labelled secularism "harmful to society". Ben Jones argues that secularism is in fact entirely impartial, and defends the rights of the religious and non-religious.

‘Shariafication by stealth’ in the UK

‘Shariafication by stealth’ in the UK

Posted: Sat, 18 Oct 2014 16:08 by Pragna Patel

The state's adoption of 'faith based' approaches to address minority issues are increasingly marginalising women from minority backgrounds and denying them the right to participate in the wider political community as equal citizens, argues Pragna Patel.

Secular conference created a sense of imminent and momentous change – and women will be the driving force

Secular conference created a sense of imminent and momentous change – and women will be the driving force

Posted: Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:53 by Terry Sanderson

The passion of feminist secular activists from around the world at a recent conference inspired Terry Sanderson, who chaired a panel on religion in the state, law and politics.

The Bishops, the Catholic vote and the Referendum

The Bishops, the Catholic vote and the Referendum

Posted: Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:37 by Alistair McBay

Alistair McBay argues that a growing political alliance between the leadership of the Catholic Church in Scotland and SNP has implications which stretch far beyond the Referendum campaign and threaten to revive religious identity politics.

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

Posted: Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:42 by Gita Sahgal

Ahead of this weekend's conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights, Gita Sahgal highlights the importance and bravery of secular activism in the Global South.

Apostasy and blasphemy laws: an affront to human rights

Apostasy and blasphemy laws: an affront to human rights

Posted: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 11:20 by Alastair Lichten

Iran's execution of Mohsen Amir-Aslani on apostasy charges illustrates the injustices caused by such laws in the Middle East and around the world, argues Alastair Lichten.

Secularism and religious intolerance - an Ex-Muslim perspective on Karen Armstrong's essay

Secularism and religious intolerance - an Ex-Muslim perspective on Karen Armstrong's essay

Posted: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:17 by al-Razi

In a recent essay, Karen Armstrong diagnosed the secular impulse as a cause of religious intolerance and extremism. In a robust response, al-Razi says Armstrong's critique of secularism is a form of apologetics for fundamentalism and bigotry.

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

Posted: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 10:23 by Stephen Evans

Sixth form pupils can excuse themselves from acts of worship – but it appears some schools aren't so keen on recognising their students' rights to religious freedom.

Education, not the veil, must come first in schools

Education, not the veil, must come first in schools

Posted: Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:04 by Maajid Nawaz

Maajid Nawaz argues that a London girls' school is right to ban the Niqab on educational grounds

A contested subject: religious education and faith schools

A contested subject: religious education and faith schools

Posted: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:18 by Alastair Lichten

Reports of a Cabinet row over plans to require faith schools to teach more than one religion at GCSE level show that even baby steps towards greater objectivity in religious education will face fierce opposition, argues Alastair Lichten.

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Posted: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:40 by Stephen Evans

A Catholic diocese has made clear its intention to replace a headteacher, drafted in to save a failing school, because he isn't Roman Catholic. Stephen Evans argues that such discrimination would be totally unacceptable in almost all other areas of public life.

Rowan Williams and his ilk are not the people to decide where religion sits in public life

Rowan Williams and his ilk are not the people to decide where religion sits in public life

Posted: Sat, 13 Sep 2014 08:56 by David Voas

David Voas questions whether a commission set up to consider the role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and to "make recommendations for public life and policy" can reach a conclusion that reflects the priorities of the general public.

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:52 by Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant DhaliwalI

An interview with Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant Dhaliwal, co-editors of the new book telling the story of Women Against Fundamentalism, set up in 1989 by women of many faiths and none to work at the interface of feminism and anti-racism.

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:41 by Alistair McBay

Both media commentators and politicians seem keen to claim religion as a cause for good deeds but determined not to acknowledge it as a contributing factor to bad ones, argues Alistair McBay.

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:04 by Michael Hall

Michael Hall reflects on the importance of Lord Avebury's bill to abolish chancel repair liability and places it in the context of privilege and inequality.

Secularism, today, now

Secularism, today, now

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:22 by Marieme Helie Lucas

Ahead of an historic conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London this October, Algerian secularist, Marieme Helie Lucas calls on secularists everywhere to mobilise to counter the rise of the Religious-Right – and to urge the elements of the left that support them to reconsider their stance.

Grievous nonsense

Grievous nonsense

Posted: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:23 by Terry Sanderson

The narrative that Christians are somehow persecuted in the UK – which the Daily Telegraph and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve were happy to promote this week – is a dishonest appeal for privilege, argues NSS president Terry Sanderson.

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Posted: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:57 by Stephen Evans

Attempts to erode equality and undermine secularist principles must be challenged, argues Stephen Evans.

No such thing as a ‘faith child’

No such thing as a ‘faith child’

Posted: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:03 by John Sargeant

The state and society undermine children's rights, when they treat them as an extension of their parents' religious identity, argues John Sargeant.

Don’t merge human rights with religion, even in Africa

Don’t merge human rights with religion, even in Africa

Posted: Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:36 by Achieng Maureen Akena

Political religion, particularly that exported from the US, is impeding the struggle for universal human rights in Africa and the two must be kept separate, argues Achieng Maureen Akena.

What chance do Yazidis have against group too brutal for al Qaeda?

What chance do Yazidis have against group too brutal for al Qaeda?

Posted: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 22:51 by Maajid Nawaz

Quilliam Co-Founder and Chairman and NSS honorary associate Maajid Nawaz gives his thoughts on the crisis in North-West Iraq.

Ministerial role that promotes religion should have gone, not just the Minister

Ministerial role that promotes religion should have gone, not just the Minister

Posted: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:02 by Stephen Evans

As Eric Pickles takes over Baroness Warsi's ministerial responsibilities for promoting faith, Stephen Evans argues that the job should have gone, not just the minister.

Talking to God: the corporate religious challenge to a pluralist, progressive Europe

Talking to God: the corporate religious challenge to a pluralist, progressive Europe

Posted: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:51 by Kenneth Houston

EU and UN 'dialogue' with civil society gives disproportionate weight to conservative religious voices at the expense of moderate and secular opinion, argues Kenneth Houston.

Kerry County Council crucifix a challenge to religious diversity

Kerry County Council crucifix a challenge to religious diversity

Posted: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:27 by Dr Ronan McCrea

Following the erection of a crucifix in the newly renovated Kerry County Council chambers, Dr Ronan McCrea argues that the values of a particular faith should not be given predominance in State institutions.

A parent’s perspective: a review of the ‘collective worship’ requirement is long overdue

A parent’s perspective: a review of the ‘collective worship’ requirement is long overdue

Posted: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:06 by Alison Fenwick

As a parent of a 6 year old daughter, Alison Fenwick argues that the obligation on schools to 'worship' impinges on her parental right to raise her child in accordance with her own beliefs.