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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

NSS Blog & Opinion

‘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.


Cameron's courting of Christianity: divisive, inappropriate, cynical and shallow

Cameron's courting of Christianity: divisive, inappropriate, cynical and shallow

Posted: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 07:32 by Elizabeth O'Casey

Following David Cameron's call in recent statements for British Christians to be more evangelical, Elizabeth O'Casey questions the appropriateness of his comments and reiterates the need for a secular state.

'Trojan horses' in Birmingham schools should come as no surprise

'Trojan horses' in Birmingham schools should come as no surprise

Posted: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 17:59 by Rumy Hasan

With powerful religious agendas which reach far beyond faith schools and insufficient protections for community schools, Rumy Hasan argues, the so called 'Operation Trojan Horse' should come as no surprise.

Religion as a human rights liability

Religion as a human rights liability

Posted: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 09:23 by Nida Kirmani

While human rights movements must engage people of all religions and none, Nida Kirmani argues that explicitly linking religion to human rights can lead to the exclusion and persecution of minority groups and undermine human rights' claims to universality.

Religious schools are the problem, not the answer

Religious schools are the problem, not the answer

Posted: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:33 by Terry Sanderson

One could almost be tempted to say "Hallelujah" to the news that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has at last recognised that there is a problem with dangerous religious proselytising in schools – particularly, but certainly not only, in Muslim-dominated schools.

Government funding to creationist nurseries has to stop

Government funding to creationist nurseries has to stop

Posted: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:47 by Jonny Scaramanga

The Government may prohibit schools from teaching creationism as scientific theory, but as Jonny Scaramanga argues, public funds are still being used to introduce pre-school children to religious pseudoscience.

The Big Society – to be run by churches - is Mr Cameron’s pipe dream

The Big Society – to be run by churches - is Mr Cameron’s pipe dream

Posted: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 17:00 by Terry Sanderson

In a speech to "faith leaders" gathered at Downing Street David Cameron said that his Government intended to see that religious groups play a much bigger role in influencing its policies.

Eric Pickles’ dictatorial disregard for the law is dangerous in a democracy

Eric Pickles’ dictatorial disregard for the law is dangerous in a democracy

Posted: Mon, 07 Apr 2014 10:28 by Terry Sanderson

Eric Pickles, the Dickensian-style Communities Minister, has announced that Britain is a "Christian nation" and anyone who disagrees needs to "get over it".

Being called a ‘fundamentalist secularist’ is an insult I would welcome

Being called a ‘fundamentalist secularist’ is an insult I would welcome

Posted: Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:01 by George Gillett

George Gillett defends the fundamentals of secularism against the persistent attempts by some politicians and media commentators to misrepresent the term as a slur, to protect their own religious agendas in government.

Secular values, not religion, make us a tolerant society

Secular values, not religion, make us a tolerant society

Posted: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 08:27 by Oliver Kamm

When trying to reach reasoned and compassionate judgments, religion is frequently a source of confusion rather than light, argues Oliver Kamm.

Diversity? No, the Law Society’s Sharia guidance has created division

Diversity? No, the Law Society’s Sharia guidance has created division

Posted: Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:00 by Charlie Klendjian

Charlie Klendjian, secretary of the Lawyers Secular society, argues that the Law Society, a secular organisation representing solicitors in a secular legal system, has gone beyond its remit and created division with its Practice Note on sharia wills.


Why it would have been invidious to put the Mormon Church on trial

Why it would have been invidious to put the Mormon Church on trial

Posted: Thu, 27 Mar 2014 12:31 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson clarifies the threat to freedom of religion and belief when secular courts rule on theological matters.

Gender segregation: Universities and Student Representatives continue to fail their students miserably

Gender segregation: Universities and Student Representatives continue to fail their students miserably

Posted: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 11:58 by Chris Moos

In reflection of the anniversary of the first publicised case of forced gender segregation at a British university, Chris Moos gives an update on the present situation within British universities.


Sharia law is well and truly operating in the UK – thanks to the Law Society

Sharia law is well and truly operating in the UK – thanks to the Law Society

Posted: Fri, 21 Mar 2014 09:38 by Sadikur Rahman

Sadikur Rahman, of the Lawyers Secular Society, fears a practice note issued by the Law Society could compromise the Code of Conduct for solicitors and increase the application of Sharia law in the UK.

The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis

The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis

Posted: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:04 by Richard Scorer

In England, Catholic leaders have fostered the impression that the English church has been relatively scandal-free, and that such problems as did exist were eliminated by the Nolan reforms. A new book by Richard Scorer, head of the abuse unit at Slater & Gordon lawyers, interrogates that claim.

We must give up our faith in religious schools

We must give up our faith in religious schools

Posted: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 08:53 by Philip Collins

If social integration is the aspiration, we should start in schools and remove faith schools' right to religious selection, argues Philip Collins.

Pope's first year of papacy has been a failure on child abuse

Pope's first year of papacy has been a failure on child abuse

Posted: Thu, 13 Mar 2014 15:26 by Keith Porteous Wood

This week marks the first anniversary of the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope Francis. But as far as far as child abuse is concerned, it's just business as usual at the Vatican but with better PR, argues Keith Porteous Wood.

No, Mr Clegg, there is no "liberal dilemma" when animal rights and religious beliefs conflict

No, Mr Clegg, there is no "liberal dilemma" when animal rights and religious beliefs conflict

Posted: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 16:10 by John Stephenson

Nick Clegg's reasoning behind his opposition to a ban on Kosher and Halal slaughter is inherently contradictory when set aside his views on LGBT rights, argues John Stephenson, who says when animal rights and religious beliefs conflict, it is religion that needs to be shown the door.

The bishop’s fantasy secularism

The bishop’s fantasy secularism

Posted: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 16:25

This week the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, gave a lecture at King's College in London in which he launched a full frontal attack on secularism. But the secularism the Bishop denounces, argues Terry Sanderson, is simply a figment of his imagination.

Faith schools: whose education is it anyway?

Faith schools: whose education is it anyway?

Posted: Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:33 by Stephen Evans

Education policy and practice should focus more on children's independent interests and building a shared society rather than pandering to religious groups motivated by self-preservation, argues NSS campaigns manager, Stephen Evans.

Is the Religious Right responsible for America’s fading allegiance to religion?

Is the Religious Right responsible for America’s fading allegiance to religion?

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 13:26 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson on the Religious Right's baneful attempts to desecularize the United States with a raft of "religious freedom" bills.