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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS Blog & Opinion

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:52 by Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant DhaliwalI

An interview with Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant Dhaliwal, co-editors of the new book telling the story of Women Against Fundamentalism, set up in 1989 by women of many faiths and none to work at the interface of feminism and anti-racism.

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:41 by Alistair McBay

Both media commentators and politicians seem keen to claim religion as a cause for good deeds but determined not to acknowledge it as a contributing factor to bad ones, argues Alistair McBay.

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:04 by Michael Hall

Michael Hall reflects on the importance of Lord Avebury's bill to abolish chancel repair liability and places it in the context of privilege and inequality.

Secularism, today, now

Secularism, today, now

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:22 by Marieme Helie Lucas

Ahead of an historic conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London this October, Algerian secularist, Marieme Helie Lucas calls on secularists everywhere to mobilise to counter the rise of the Religious-Right – and to urge the elements of the left that support them to reconsider their stance.

Grievous nonsense

Grievous nonsense

Posted: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:23 by Terry Sanderson

The narrative that Christians are somehow persecuted in the UK – which the Daily Telegraph and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve were happy to promote this week – is a dishonest appeal for privilege, argues NSS president Terry Sanderson.

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Posted: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:57 by Stephen Evans

Attempts to erode equality and undermine secularist principles must be challenged, argues Stephen Evans.

No such thing as a ‘faith child’

No such thing as a ‘faith child’

Posted: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:03 by John Sargeant

The state and society undermine children's rights, when they treat them as an extension of their parents' religious identity, argues John Sargeant.

Don’t merge human rights with religion, even in Africa

Don’t merge human rights with religion, even in Africa

Posted: Fri, 15 Aug 2014 09:36 by Achieng Maureen Akena

Political religion, particularly that exported from the US, is impeding the struggle for universal human rights in Africa and the two must be kept separate, argues Achieng Maureen Akena.

What chance do Yazidis have against group too brutal for al Qaeda?

What chance do Yazidis have against group too brutal for al Qaeda?

Posted: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 22:51 by Maajid Nawaz

Quilliam Co-Founder and Chairman and NSS honorary associate Maajid Nawaz gives his thoughts on the crisis in North-West Iraq.

Ministerial role that promotes religion should have gone, not just the Minister

Ministerial role that promotes religion should have gone, not just the Minister

Posted: Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:02 by Stephen Evans

As Eric Pickles takes over Baroness Warsi's ministerial responsibilities for promoting faith, Stephen Evans argues that the job should have gone, not just the minister.

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.