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Challenging Religious Privilege

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Faith schools mustn’t be allowed to stymie young people’s sexual health and well-being

Faith schools mustn’t be allowed to stymie young people’s sexual health and well-being

Posted: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:48 by Stephen Evans

Political sensitivity about faith schools is getting in the way of providing evidence-based, age-appropriate sex and relationships education (SRE) to all children. We can't wait forever for the Government's proposals on SRE, writes Stephen Evans.

A faith ethos is no magic solution for improving schools

A faith ethos is no magic solution for improving schools

Posted: Sat, 07 Jan 2017 09:05 by Alistair McBay

There are success stories and failures in schools of all types, including faith schools, despite what the churches would have people believe. NSS vice president Alistair McBay debunks the myth that 'faith school' is a byword for success.

Norway’s separation of Church and State: a work in progress

Norway’s separation of Church and State: a work in progress

Posted: Wed, 04 Jan 2017 15:37 by Keith Porteous Wood

Norway's supposed separation of Church and State, effective from 1 January 2017, is a very positive step, but it's still a work in progress, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

Sister Sarah Kuteh: up steps the next so called victim of ‘Christian persecution’

Sister Sarah Kuteh: up steps the next so called victim of ‘Christian persecution’

Posted: Wed, 14 Dec 2016 14:22 by Stephen Evans

It has been another week in which we've seen Christians in the Middle East losing their lives to violence and persecution, but much media attention in the UK has instead focussed around the plight of a nurse, supposedly sacked for "offering to pray with her patients".

Sabbatarians have imposed their dogma on islanders for long enough, help them put a stop to it

Sabbatarians have imposed their dogma on islanders for long enough, help them put a stop to it

Posted: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:37 by Alistair McBay

The National Secular Society is helping campaigners on the Isle of Lewis open a sports centre on a Sunday, currently blocked by a council who won't allow it on the Sabbath. It's hardly the first time Sabbatarians on Lewis have played this game.

The Casey Review lays bare the failure to integrate Muslim minorities

The Casey Review lays bare the failure to integrate Muslim minorities

Posted: Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:32 by Benjamin Jones

Dame Louise Casey offers a damning critique of mass immigration undertaken without serious efforts to integrate new arrivals, but she shies away from properly tackling faith schools, and the problems she identifies may be intractable.

Clerics shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to publicly funded schools

Clerics shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to publicly funded schools

Posted: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 10:53 by Stephen Evans

A progressive education policy would seek to break down barriers between people of different faiths and beliefs, not erect them, writes NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans.

Sharia reviews and the case for non-accommodation and non-regulation

Sharia reviews and the case for non-accommodation and non-regulation

Posted: Fri, 11 Nov 2016 11:12 by Sadikur Rahman

Our legal system cannot be permitted to fracture into parallel codes for different religious groups. Sadikur Rahman writes on how to avoid accommodation with sharia while also protecting the rights and interests of Muslim women.

Protecting women’s rights is the priority, but that isn’t the only legitimate concern about sharia

Protecting women’s rights is the priority, but that isn’t the only legitimate concern about sharia

Posted: Thu, 03 Nov 2016 16:37 by Benjamin Jones

Gender inequality isn't the only problem with sharia councils, and non-Muslims have every right to object to the foundation of a parallel legal system in the UK, writes Benjamin Jones.

Saudi women’s rights activist arrested – days after Saudi Arabia returned to Human Rights Council

Saudi women’s rights activist arrested – days after Saudi Arabia returned to Human Rights Council

Posted: Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:34 by David van Rooyen

A leading women's rights activist, Mariam Nassir Al Oteebi, has been arrested in Saudi Arabia and languishes in prison, just days after the country was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, writes David van Rooyen.

Had the Ashers ‘gay cake’ ruling gone the other way it would have seriously undermined equality law

Had the Ashers ‘gay cake’ ruling gone the other way it would have seriously undermined equality law

Posted: Fri, 28 Oct 2016 11:57

Despite the outcry following this week's Ashers 'gay cake' ruling, Northern Ireland's Court of Appeal delivered a clear and logical judgment.

Review: The Battle for British Islam, by Sara Khan with Tony McMahon

Review: The Battle for British Islam, by Sara Khan with Tony McMahon

Posted: Thu, 27 Oct 2016 10:50 by Benjamin Jones

There are three million Muslims in the UK. The evidence shows they are becoming more religiously conservative, thousands are thought to have joined Islamic State; vast majorities would criminalise blasphemy and homosexuality. What hope is there?

Forced cutting of young boys’ genitals violates the most fundamental medical ethics

Forced cutting of young boys’ genitals violates the most fundamental medical ethics

Posted: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:39 by Dr Antony Lempert

Too often those who carry out forced cutting of young boys' genitals escape with gentle admonishment, rather than punishment commensurate with the severity of their actions, writes Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum.

The new UN Secretary General must not allow religion to override human rights

The new UN Secretary General must not allow religion to override human rights

Posted: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:18 by Keith Porteous Wood

UN Secretary General designate needs to ignore Catholic pressure to row back on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Gay Rights, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

Advice for parents wanting to give the evangelical Operation Christmas Child shoebox scheme a wide berth

Advice for parents wanting to give the evangelical Operation Christmas Child shoebox scheme a wide berth

Posted: Wed, 12 Oct 2016 10:52 by Alastair Lichten

Alastair Lichten looks at the ethical, educational and efficiency case against the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child shoebox scheme.

The demonisation of Louis Smith: This is how a de facto blasphemy law works

The demonisation of Louis Smith: This is how a de facto blasphemy law works

Posted: Tue, 11 Oct 2016 20:25 by Stephen Evans

The castigation of a British gymnast for 'mocking Islam' is illustrative of a troubling return of blasphemy, argues Stephen Evans.

Channel 4’s Dispatches reveals intimidating tactics of US-inspired anti-abortion campaigners

Channel 4’s Dispatches reveals intimidating tactics of US-inspired anti-abortion campaigners

Posted: Thu, 06 Oct 2016 13:14 by Dr Antony Lempert

Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum reacts to Channel 4 Dispatches' programme that showed the shock tactics UK anti-abortion campaigners are importing from America.

The biter bit: Church of England suffers from Chancel Repair Liability

The biter bit: Church of England suffers from Chancel Repair Liability

Posted: Wed, 05 Oct 2016 12:42 by Ed Moore

The legal requirement to repair church chancels has surprisingly started to impact the Church Commissioners. Here's what they did about it.

Inclusive education: divisive faith schools are the elephant in the room

Inclusive education: divisive faith schools are the elephant in the room

Posted: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:40 by Stephen Evans

NSS campaigns director on why progressives of all political and religious stripes should unite in opposing Theresa May's plan to open a new wave of divisive 'faith schools'.

Church of England or Chancellor of the Exchequer: who’s setting the agenda?

Church of England or Chancellor of the Exchequer: who’s setting the agenda?

Posted: Mon, 19 Sep 2016 13:55 by Ed Moore

NSS treasurer Ed Moore writes on the blurred lines between church and state when it comes to taxpayer funding for church repairs, and the vast sums of money being sent from the Treasury to the Church of England.

Facilitating more religious segregation in faith schools can only harm social cohesion

Facilitating more religious segregation in faith schools can only harm social cohesion

Posted: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 16:30 by Stephen Evans

In a move devoid of any common sense, Theresa May's government looks set to capitulate to the demands of religious groups by relaxing admissions rules for faith-based academies, allowing them to select all pupils along religious lines.

Living better together: French secularism risks being destroyed by political ambition

Living better together: French secularism risks being destroyed by political ambition

Posted: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 11:43 by Terry Sanderson

Despite occasional conflicts, France's tradition of secularism has served both social cohesion and religious freedom well. Terry Sanderson argues that misusing secularism for political aims risks undermining both.

Religious privilege undermines abuse victims’ access to justice

Religious privilege undermines abuse victims’ access to justice

Posted: Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:40 by Richard Scorer

Richard Scorer, a specialist child abuse lawyer at Slater & Gordon draws attention to organisations seeking more lenient treatment over child abuse-connected matters because they are religious and makes the case for no concessions being given.

Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

Posted: Thu, 18 Aug 2016 12:50 by Benjamin Jones

The BBC and Demos have published an accidental case-study in why we should all stop using the meaningless and sinister word 'Islamophobia'.

Governor’s perspective: beware an increasingly assertive religious ethos in ‘Church schools’

Governor’s perspective: beware an increasingly assertive religious ethos in ‘Church schools’

Posted: Tue, 16 Aug 2016 11:35

The NSS is regularly contacted by governors and staff at Church of England schools who are pressured to promote a more rigorous 'Christian ethos'. Here's one governor's account of increasing religiosity at their local school.

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