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Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS Opinion

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.

Mass grave full of children's remains at Catholic home reveals atrocities on a massive scale

Mass grave full of children's remains at Catholic home reveals atrocities on a massive scale

Posted: Tue, 07 Mar 2017 15:59

With the latest revelations about human remains in an Irish Mother and Baby home, Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, seeks answers about how such atrocities could have happened on such a scale, and what can be done now.

A faith-based education system is deeply inefficient

A faith-based education system is deeply inefficient

Posted: Tue, 07 Mar 2017 12:27

Both the Government and the Labour Party have wilful blind spots around faith schools, and as the Government looks set to launch a new wave of faith schools amid an education funding crisis, how can such an inefficient system be justified?

Britain’s ‘Christian right’: seeking solace in a narrative of discrimination

Britain’s ‘Christian right’: seeking solace in a narrative of discrimination

Posted: Thu, 02 Mar 2017 11:21

The 'Christian right' in the UK may not be anywhere near as powerful as its US counterpart, but it still tries to exert influence on public policy, writes Steven Kettell.

Stop pharmacies refusing prescriptions for emergency contraception on religious grounds

Stop pharmacies refusing prescriptions for emergency contraception on religious grounds

Posted: Fri, 17 Feb 2017 11:19

With the regulator considering curtailing 'conscience' objections to contraception prescriptions, Keith Porteous Wood urges supporters to respond to the consultation in the interests of vulnerable patients.

A judge’s decision to separate a transgender parent from her Jewish Orthodox children was deeply misguided

A judge’s decision to separate a transgender parent from her Jewish Orthodox children was deeply misguided

Posted: Fri, 10 Feb 2017 09:58

The decision to separate a transgender parent from her children gets to the heart of why faith-based harm is perpetuated and is frequently unchallenged, writes Dr Antony Lempert.

It’s time for an end to special religious privileges: we need a secular state

It’s time for an end to special religious privileges: we need a secular state

Posted: Wed, 08 Feb 2017 10:32

The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life set out 37 recommendations – which, argues Steven Kettell, are deeply problematic in a society where half the population say they have no religion.

President Trump: American theocrat

President Trump: American theocrat

Posted: Tue, 31 Jan 2017 11:04

Donald Trump may be America's latest 'atheist president', but his presidency has put Christian Nationalism at the heart of its policy agenda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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