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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS Blog & Opinion

BBC Panorama, “the battle for British Islam” and the nonsense of “peaceful” or “violent” Muslims

BBC Panorama, “the battle for British Islam” and the nonsense of “peaceful” or “violent” Muslims

Posted: Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:31 by Benjamin Jones

NSS communications officer Benjamin Jones argues that the problem of Islamism is obscured by politicians and others simplistically categorising Muslims as either 'peaceful' or 'violent'.

Rendering unto Caesar

Rendering unto Caesar

Posted: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 09:42 by Alistair McBay

The established Church throws stones from inside its Government-subsidised glass cathedral, argues Alistair McBay.

Charlie Hebdo Editorial: Je Suis Charlie Means Je Suis Secularism

Charlie Hebdo Editorial: Je Suis Charlie Means Je Suis Secularism

Posted: Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:06

This is a translation of the editorial from the first Charlie Hebdo published since the Paris attacks. It is reproduced here in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo.

MPs want God at centre of local democracy

MPs want God at centre of local democracy

Posted: Thu, 15 Jan 2015 10:33 by Imran Khan

When Conservative councillor Imran Khan opted out of Christian prayers at council meetings he was subject to ostracization, abuse and deselection. He's urging MPs to keep sectarianism out of local politics by voting against the Local Government (Religious Etc. Observances) Bill.

British media fails the free speech test

British media fails the free speech test

Posted: Fri, 09 Jan 2015 16:30

The British print and media press's response to the Charlie Hebdo attack has involved victim blaming, obfuscation and self-censorship, argues Sadikur Rahman.

GP Taylor: Why faith has no place in our schools

GP Taylor: Why faith has no place in our schools

Posted: Thu, 08 Jan 2015 17:07 by GP Taylor

Many principled people of faith oppose religious privilege in state schools. Former Anglican priest GP Taylor makes an impassioned case for secularism as a basis for equally inclusive education.

NSS statement following Charlie Hebdo attack

NSS statement following Charlie Hebdo attack

Posted: Wed, 07 Jan 2015 19:25 by Terry Sanderson

Following the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, NSS president Terry Sanderson insists we cannot, as a society, place religion beyond the reach of satire or critical examination.

Churches, charity and the conferring of privilege

Churches, charity and the conferring of privilege

Posted: Tue, 06 Jan 2015 10:03 by Alistair McBay

There are many ways to do good, including campaigning for human rights and equality over discrimination and prejudice, but charitable work is not a bargaining chip for special privileges, argues Alistair McBay.

If we exempt ritual slaughter from animal welfare laws we open the door to far worse crimes

If we exempt ritual slaughter from animal welfare laws we open the door to far worse crimes

Posted: Mon, 05 Jan 2015 11:57 by Matthew Syed

Matthew Syed argues that the right to religious freedom is not an absolute right to do what you like, and that religious exemptions for ritual slaughter are a slippery slope into far worse crimes.

Law Society, religion and the law: reasons to be cheerful

Law Society, religion and the law: reasons to be cheerful

Posted: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 15:58 by Sadikur Rahman

The last year has seen a number of successful campaigns against attempts to impose religion in our secular legal system. Council member Sadikur Rahman looks at hopes for optimism in 2015.

Government’s GCSE subject content review is another missed opportunity

Government’s GCSE subject content review is another missed opportunity

Posted: Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:10 by Stephen Evans

The Government's proposal to reform the religious studies GCSE subject content falls far short of what's really needed, argues Stephen Evans.

A strange case of blasphemy

A strange case of blasphemy

Posted: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 09:27 by Benjamin Jones

The Sony crisis is almost identical to the Satanic Verses controversy, or the Mohammed cartoon riots. Benjamin Jones argues that Sony's capitulation to North Korea has all the hallmarks of religious blasphemy cases, and that the state religion of North Korea is functionally identical to theocracy.

Britain First – foot soldiers of a ‘Christian Nation’?

Britain First – foot soldiers of a ‘Christian Nation’?

Posted: Mon, 08 Dec 2014 12:01 by Alastair Lichten

When mainstream politicians endorse the 'Christian Nation' narrative they feed both Muslim and Christian persecution complexes and pander to the far-right, argues Alastair Lichten.

The Christmas nativity: Let it go! Let it go!

The Christmas nativity: Let it go! Let it go!

Posted: Tue, 02 Dec 2014 14:23 by Stephen Evans

After it this week emerged that some school nativity plays are losing their religion, NSS campaigns manager, Stephen Evans, argues that schools should be free to innovate and have a bit of fun with their festive plays without po-faced nativity police telling them they can't.

Tower Hamlets and the Dangers of Communal Politics

Tower Hamlets and the Dangers of Communal Politics

Posted: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:28 by Rumy Hasan

With the embedding in of multiculturalism, communal, sectarian politics are becoming prevalent in many towns and cities with significant religious-ethnic minority communities. Rumy Hasan argues that many candidates now seek votes from people on the basis of their religion, ethnicity, and country of origin, rather than on political ideology.

Mission creep in the anti-war left

Mission creep in the anti-war left

Posted: Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:43 by Benjamin Jones

Video has emerged of the Left Unity political party voting on whether to endorse the Islamic State. Although the amendment was easily defeated, Benjamin Jones argues that this is just the latest flirtation in a long courtship between elements of the British far left and the Islamist far right.

Parent's perspective: The Collective Worship dilemma

Parent's perspective: The Collective Worship dilemma

Posted: Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:00 by a parent

One parent speaks out about the damaging impact of excluding her young child from mandatory collective worship in school, and how withdrawal isn't really an option at all.

Who are the true Muslims – all or none?

Who are the true Muslims – all or none?

Posted: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 12:27 by Matthew Syed

Moderate believers argue that Isis has misinterpreted the Koran. But no one can determine who is right or wrong, argues Matthew Syed.

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

Posted: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 12:10 by Alastair Lichten

Every year the National Secular Society is contacted by parents upset to discover that a festive charitable project in their children's school is unwittingly making them tools for evangelisation. Alastair Lichten looks at some of their concerns.

Assisted Dying: It is now a case of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’

Assisted Dying: It is now a case of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’

Posted: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 10:20 by Keith Porteous Wood

On Friday 7 November the Assisted Dying Bill was debated in the House of Lords. The executive director of the National Secular Society, Keith Porteous Wood, who attended last Friday's debate, reports back about the debate and the Bill's progress.

Remembrance Sunday should not be dominated by religion

Remembrance Sunday should not be dominated by religion

Posted: Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:43 by Dan Snow

Historian, broadcaster and NSS honorary associate Dan Snow on the need for an inclusive and secular remembrance ceremony that better reflects the society it serves.

Transport to faith schools: Local authorities shouldn't be subsidising religious segregation

Transport to faith schools: Local authorities shouldn't be subsidising religious segregation

Posted: Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:38 by Stephen Evans

A "hideous form of discrimination" or the justifiable removal of a religious privilege? NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans takes on Conservative MP Nigel Evans over the removal of transport subsidies to faith schools.

The rise of political Islam in Turkey: how the West got it wrong

The rise of political Islam in Turkey: how the West got it wrong

Posted: Tue, 04 Nov 2014 10:21 by Safak Pavey

Political Islamism has undermined the Turkish Republic's secular social order, education and legal systems and Western pundits manifestly failed to see this coming, argues Turkish opposition MP, Safak Pavey.

New data revealed on 2015 voting intentions of non-believers

New data revealed on 2015 voting intentions of non-believers

Posted: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:45 by Benjamin Jones

The British Election Study (BES) has shed new light on the voting intentions of non-believers and religious minorities. Benjamin Jones explores the results and considers some of the potential long term consequences.

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 Benjamin Jones

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