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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS Blog & Opinion

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.

The world must respond to the cry of Iraq’s Christians

The world must respond to the cry of Iraq’s Christians

Posted: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:28 by Lord Alton

Religious cleansing in Iraq is making a "hateful mockery" of international law which should protect people and uphold their freedom to follow our own beliefs, argues Lord Alton.


Why is the Law Society promoting Islamic rules and legal services?

Why is the Law Society promoting Islamic rules and legal services?

Posted: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:50 by Sadikur Rahman

After attending a seminar held by the Law Society on Islamic rules and legal services, Sadikur Rahman reflects upon the Society's desire to develop its members' knowledge of sharia law in the UK and questions how this contributes to Muslim people's freedoms.

Why the time has come to end compulsory worship in schools

Why the time has come to end compulsory worship in schools

Posted: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 11:45 by Stephen Evans

With the launch of a new petition calling on political parties to make the removal of the collective worship requirement part of their education policy, NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans explains why the time has come to relieve schools of the obligation to provide worship.

Commission to investigate religion’s role in society

Commission to investigate religion’s role in society

Posted: Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:38 by Terry Sanderson

A commission has set itself up to "take the temperature of Britain's relationship with religion". But with so many vested interests on board, Terry Sanderson questions how objective its findings will be.

Will the Equality Act be battered into submitting to religious exemptions?

Will the Equality Act be battered into submitting to religious exemptions?

Posted: Mon, 30 Jun 2014 11:25 by Terry Sanderson

Misleading reporting of individual cases and calls for "conscience clauses" feed into a false narrative of Christian persecution aimed at undermining the Equality Act, argues Terry Sanderson.

It’s not only Islamists who have Trojan Horses

It’s not only Islamists who have Trojan Horses

Posted: Fri, 27 Jun 2014 15:47 by Terry Sanderson

Those with a vested interest in the continuation of 'faith schools' have started their fight back against the growing number of critics, says Terry Sanderson.

Terry Sanderson’s speech to the Religious Freedom Conference, Chatham

Terry Sanderson’s speech to the Religious Freedom Conference, Chatham

Posted: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 13:44 by Terry Sanderson

On 21 June 2014, NSS President Terry Sanderson spoke at the Chatham Unitarian Church, about the importance of equalities protections and secularism to religious freedom. This is a transcript of his speech.

Pope’s zero tolerance pledge on child abuse is not enough

Pope’s zero tolerance pledge on child abuse is not enough

Posted: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:45 by David McClenaghan

Words are not enough: David McClenaghan argues that if the Church wants to deal with its record on child abuse it must root out both offenders and enablers.

A “religious ethos” is not why faith schools succeed – it’s selection that does it

A “religious ethos” is not why faith schools succeed – it’s selection that does it

Posted: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:02 by Terry Sanderson

Rather than a faith-based ethos, Terry Sanderson argues that it's selection that allows faith schools to outperform other schools – and calls for fairer admissions policies to ensure a level playing field for all.

Schools and the failure of multiculturalism and multifaithism

Schools and the failure of multiculturalism and multifaithism

Posted: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 11:34 by Rumy Hasan

Rumy Hasan argues that faith based identity politics have contributed to an increasingly divisive school system, which undermines children's right to a broad, critical and tolerant secular education.

Yes, “faith schools” really are the problem

Yes, “faith schools” really are the problem

Posted: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 15:32 by Terry Sanderson

Politicians are in denial over the problems caused by "faith schools" and religious influence in education, argues Terry Sanderson.

BBC poll shows that religious people give more to charity than non-religious. Maybe...

BBC poll shows that religious people give more to charity than non-religious. Maybe...

Posted: Sun, 08 Jun 2014 09:02 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson questions the relevance and wisdom of a BBC commissioned survey that apparently shows that religious people are more likely to give to charity than the non-religious.

The choice of when to die should be that of the individual – not religious leaders

The choice of when to die should be that of the individual – not religious leaders

Posted: Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:08 by Terry Sanderson

Speaking from personal experience, Terry Sanderson argues that religious opposition to a new law on assisted dying causes needless suffering to the terminally ill and their families.

School chaplains: the Church of England's latest plan to evangelise in schools

School chaplains: the Church of England's latest plan to evangelise in schools

Posted: Tue, 03 Jun 2014 12:49 by Stephen Evans

With the majority church schools now employing Christian chaplains, Stephen Evans questions whether public money intended for education should be used to fund the Church of England's missionary work.

A woman is stoned. We politely look away

A woman is stoned. We politely look away

Posted: Fri, 30 May 2014 11:10 by Matthew Syed

Our reluctance to fight 'small' battles – over forced marriage and the burka – merely emboldens the fundamentalists, argues Matthew Syed

The Law Society should stay out of the theology business

The Law Society should stay out of the theology business

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014 09:55 by Sadikur Rahman

Sadikur Rahman, of the Lawyers' Secular Society, argues that the Law Society's response to criticism of its sharia guidance misses the point that the society has gone beyond its mandate and given credibility to discriminatory practices.

Embedded religious privilege triumphs on Scottish education issues

Embedded religious privilege triumphs on Scottish education issues

Posted: Mon, 12 May 2014 14:51 by Alistair McBay

National Secular Society's spokesperson for Scotland, Alistair McBay, argues that the Scottish Parliament's has helped entrench religious privilege in the country's education system.

‘Halal hysteria’: Religious exemption from animal welfare law is the real issue

‘Halal hysteria’: Religious exemption from animal welfare law is the real issue

Posted: Thu, 08 May 2014 14:33 by Stephen Evans

Food retailers should be upfront about what they're serving up, but the main issue is one of animal welfare, and the religious exemption that allows animals to be slaughtered without being stunned, argues Stephen Evans.

Secularization is best thing that ever happened to religion

Secularization is best thing that ever happened to religion

Posted: Thu, 01 May 2014 11:02 by Douglas Todd

Douglas Todd argues that, properly understood, secularism is the best thing that has happened for modern religion and religious believers, and that secular societies can be breeding grounds for religious pluralism.

Why religions, too, would benefit from embracing secularism

Why religions, too, would benefit from embracing secularism

Posted: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 09:16 by Terry Sanderson

Secularism offers the best route to a society where people of all religions and none can live together peacefully. In a debate at the Nottingham Secular Society, Terry Sanderson argues the time has come for all religions to embrace secularism.

Council prayers: Eric Pickles rewrites history again

Council prayers: Eric Pickles rewrites history again

Posted: Sat, 26 Apr 2014 09:33 by Terry Sanderson

Rather than being a voice for "moderation and reasonableness" over prayers at council meetings, the partisan and dictatorial Mr Pickles is pursuing an agenda to impose his religion on public life, argues Terry Sanderson.

The debate over David Cameron’s call to Christianity has taken a wrong turn

The debate over David Cameron’s call to Christianity has taken a wrong turn

Posted: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:49 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson argues that the debate over David Cameron's assertions that the UK is a "Christian Nation" has led away from the important question of whether it should be.