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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS Blog & Opinion

Students forced to lead prayers and made to attend Mass – the reality of faith schools for non-religious pupils

Students forced to lead prayers and made to attend Mass – the reality of faith schools for non-religious pupils

Posted: Thu, 03 Sep 2015 09:59

A Sixth Former gives a student's account of what it's like to attend a faith school if you aren't religious, and shows the reality of some faith schools for pupils who don't share the school's enthusiasm for religion.

The BBC is failing to respond to fair criticism of its religious output

The BBC is failing to respond to fair criticism of its religious output

Posted: Tue, 11 Aug 2015 16:21 by Keith Porteous Wood

The NSS has objected numerous times over the past half century to the exclusion of non-believers from Thought for the Day, but it now seems as though the BBC will not even consider objections to the programme, raising questions about how it handles criticism.

We need a Robert Conquest figure to demolish the pro-Islamist left

We need a Robert Conquest figure to demolish the pro-Islamist left

Posted: Thu, 06 Aug 2015 13:15 by Benjamin Jones

The late historian Robert Conquest exposed the true horror of Stalinism; and the 21st century badly needs a similar expose to break the pro-Islamist left away from their cruel sympathy with another totalitarian system, argues Benjamin Jones.

Christians shouldn’t put self-interest above Britain’s need to better integrate

Christians shouldn’t put self-interest above Britain’s need to better integrate

Posted: Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:09 by Stephen Evans

The long history of Christian involvement in state education shouldn't stand in the way of a more integrated education system, argues Stephen Evans.

NHS pastoral care should be a non-discriminatory service for all

NHS pastoral care should be a non-discriminatory service for all

Posted: Thu, 16 Jul 2015 15:15 by Stephen Evans

If NHS Trusts want to provide pastoral care for all, then there is no rationale for restricting the role of chaplain to those of faith, argues Stephen Evans.

Quilliam is coming to Exeter- and here’s why

Quilliam is coming to Exeter- and here’s why

Posted: Thu, 16 Jul 2015 09:05 by Charlie Evans

The Quilliam Foundation promote a citizenship and human rights approach to tackling extremism. Charlie Evans is setting up the first Quilliam student group at Exeter University and hopes anyone who shares secular and liberal values will join this new student movement against political and religious extremism.

Why have I never taught a Jewish child?

Why have I never taught a Jewish child?

Posted: Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:59 by Dennis O’Sullivan

Is this the way to unite society – with faith schools teaching the supremacy of their ideology and how wrong the rest of us are, asks Dennis O'Sullivan, a headteacher with thirty-five years of experience in education.

Misrepresenting concerns about Islam won’t make society more cohesive

Misrepresenting concerns about Islam won’t make society more cohesive

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2015 17:02 by Benjamin Jones

Recent polling found that 56% of Britons think Islam poses a threat to democracy. However this finding has been misrepresented to suggest that British people think Muslims themselves are a "threat".

When is a faith school not a faith school?

When is a faith school not a faith school?

Posted: Wed, 08 Jul 2015 13:46 by Alastair Lichten

Academisation and the 'grey area' between faith and non-religious schools may allow even more schools to assume a religious character by stealth. To avoid this, we need a much clearer definition of 'faith school', argues Alastair Lichten.

Catholic hierarchy stand by while nuns’ orders seek to obstruct justice for their abuse victims

Catholic hierarchy stand by while nuns’ orders seek to obstruct justice for their abuse victims

Posted: Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:14 by Keith Porteous Wood

Following the failed attempt to obstruct the historic child abuse inquiry in Scotland, Keith Porteous Wood exposes the continuing reluctance of the Catholic Church to face up to and pay for its crimes.

Tim Montgomerie need not worry, secularism and tolerance go hand in hand

Tim Montgomerie need not worry, secularism and tolerance go hand in hand

Posted: Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:39 by Stephen Evans

There's nothing "anti-Christian" about a society that sets about dismantling historic religious privilege, argues Stephen Evans.

Academics call for greater sensitivity about religion in universities, but students suggest it’s not an issue

Academics call for greater sensitivity about religion in universities, but students suggest it’s not an issue

Posted: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:03 by National Secular Society

Some academics are giving undue prominence to religion and religious students- when the evidence shows they are exaggerating the scale of the 'problem' they describe.

Faith schools: education’s sacred cow

Faith schools: education’s sacred cow

Posted: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 08:42 by Stephen Evans

Faith-based schools have been part of Britain's educational landscape for a long time. But as Britain's religious outlook changes, the time has come for some people to come to terms with their fear or unwillingness to question them, argues Stephen Evans.

Preacher James McConnell faces prosecution for calling Islam “Satanic"- the state again tramples over free expression

Preacher James McConnell faces prosecution for calling Islam “Satanic"- the state again tramples over free expression

Posted: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 16:35 by Benjamin Jones

Free speech for all is threatened once more by the senseless prosecution of another Christian preacher. His religious freedom is the same liberty that defends secularists, atheists, people of all religions and none.

Academic claims university atheists are “militant”

Academic claims university atheists are “militant”

Posted: Thu, 18 Jun 2015 13:30 by Benjamin Jones

A paper published by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education has claimed that atheists can be "militant" on university campuses, while describing religion as a "public good" and the exclusion of religion from the public sphere as "repressive."

The ‘Islamophobia’ delusion

The ‘Islamophobia’ delusion

Posted: Thu, 11 Jun 2015 13:13 by Benjamin Jones

Islamists are again using the victims of anti-Muslim bigotry to advance their agenda. Once again, a British university has aided this project in a conference on 'Islamophobia' which undermined and demonised ex-Muslims as "McCarthyites".

Don’t ban women drivers – ban faith schools

Don’t ban women drivers – ban faith schools

Posted: Sat, 30 May 2015 10:18 by Oliver Kamm

In a pluralist and diverse society, it's an invitation to ignorance for children to be segregated by their parent's religious affiliation – so why, asks Oliver Kamm, is the state entrusting the education of huge numbers of children to religious bodies?

Christian leaders need to prioritise their targets

Christian leaders need to prioritise their targets

Posted: Thu, 28 May 2015 12:59 by Benjamin Jones

It is tiresomely common to have some Christian leaders describing secularism as intolerant, bigoted, militant or aggressive. At a time when Christians are being met with genuine persecution around the world, Benjamin Jones argues that Christian leaders should prioritise their targets and drop their hysterical language.

The Catholic Church is now paying the price for its past in Ireland

The Catholic Church is now paying the price for its past in Ireland

Posted: Tue, 26 May 2015 12:22 by Keith Porteous Wood

NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood welcomes the Irish referendum result on marriage equality and argues that the Catholic Church's appalling recent history in Ireland shows it deserves to be discredited- as it now has been, by the overwhelming referendum "Yes" result.

Time for Christians of goodwill to say “Not In My Name”

Time for Christians of goodwill to say “Not In My Name”

Posted: Tue, 26 May 2015 08:48 by Terry Sanderson

Most Christians don't feel the need to be exempt from equality legislation in order to live their lives in accordance with their religious beliefs. Terry Sanderson says it's time they spoke out against those that do.

A very confused and immoderate Moderator

A very confused and immoderate Moderator

Posted: Wed, 20 May 2015 15:15 by Alistair McBay

Alistair McBay examines the confused and immoderate arguments of the new Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland.

‘Spiritual influence’, democracy and free expression

‘Spiritual influence’, democracy and free expression

Posted: Tue, 19 May 2015 09:51 by Alastair Lichten

Religious voting blocs and sectarian and divisive politics harm society and can undermine democracy. But are laws that potentially restrict free expression the answer? Alastair Lichten considers the charge of 'undue spiritual influence'.

You can never kill ideas: an anonymous blogger on the deaths of secularists in Bangladesh

You can never kill ideas: an anonymous blogger on the deaths of secularists in Bangladesh

Posted: Thu, 14 May 2015 09:20 by anonymous

Following the recent wave of assassinations targeting atheist and secular writers in Bangladesh, we publish the thoughts of a British secularist of Bangladeshi origin – and his message to their murderers.

After initial crisis, nation struggles on without  Minister for Faith

After initial crisis, nation struggles on without Minister for Faith

Posted: Thu, 14 May 2015 08:39 by Benjamin Jones

After initial panic and a constitutional and political crisis, the country is struggling on without a Minister for Faith. Benjamin Jones lambasts the Prime Minister for leaving this crucial role unfilled for so long.

Most Britons aren’t religious- but are religious ‘voting blocs’ wielding increasing power in our elections?

Most Britons aren’t religious- but are religious ‘voting blocs’ wielding increasing power in our elections?

Posted: Wed, 06 May 2015 16:46 by Benjamin Jones

Religious leaders are wielding disproportionate influence in this election. Benjamin Jones argues that this is likely to get worse, and politicians should resist the urge to treat religious people as blocs.

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