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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Tags: Freedom of Expression

‘Spiritual influence’, democracy and free expression

‘Spiritual influence’, democracy and free expression

Posted: Tue, 19 May 2015 09:51 by Alastair Lichten

Religious voting blocs and sectarian and divisive politics harm society and can undermine democracy. But are laws that potentially restrict free expression the answer? Alastair Lichten considers the charge of 'undue spiritual influence'.

You can never kill ideas: an anonymous blogger on the deaths of secularists in Bangladesh

You can never kill ideas: an anonymous blogger on the deaths of secularists in Bangladesh

Posted: Thu, 14 May 2015 09:20 by anonymous

Following the recent wave of assassinations targeting atheist and secular writers in Bangladesh, we publish the thoughts of a British secularist of Bangladeshi origin – and his message to their murderers.

It should be politically impossible for universities to enforce blasphemy laws

It should be politically impossible for universities to enforce blasphemy laws

Posted: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:23 by Benjamin Jones

It should be politically toxic, publicly excruciating, there should be protests, and mass disruption to campuses when universities censor blasphemy. Where is the outrage?

Je suis Michael Overd: this obnoxious street preacher is a canary in the coalmine for free speech

Je suis Michael Overd: this obnoxious street preacher is a canary in the coalmine for free speech

Posted: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:53 by Benjamin Jones

A street preacher has been charged for giving a "religiously aggravated" sermon, and was told by a police officer that he wasn't allowed to offend anyone. Benjamin Jones warns of the danger posed to civil liberties if the state continues to police free expression.

Charlie Hebdo: a perspective one month on

Charlie Hebdo: a perspective one month on

Posted: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:54 by Sadikur Rahman

25 years after the Rushdie Affair, one month after the atrocities in Paris and days after the attack on a free speech seminar in Copenhagen, Sadikur Rahman looks at what lessons free expression activists and opponents have taken.

A duty to mock

A duty to mock

Posted: Mon, 16 Feb 2015 11:12 by Manfredi La Manna

Manfredi La Manna argues that the response to the Charlie Hebdo murders has exposed unpalatable truths in both the conservative and progressive camps.

Sharia law, apostasy and secularism

Sharia law, apostasy and secularism

Posted: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 14:45 by Gita Sahgal

Gita Sahgal argues that opposing religious fundamentalism is not a distraction from 'real' politics - the demands of social justice and civil liberties - but a pre-condition for achieving them.

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'.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Publish and be damned

Publish and be damned

Posted: Sun, 09 Feb 2014 13:38 by Abhishek Phadnis

The mainstream media's craven refusal to print the Jesus & Mo cartoon seriously undermines the principle of free expression, and will further embolden professional offense takers, argues Abhishek Phadnis.

Baroness Warsi and the OIC

Baroness Warsi and the OIC

Posted: Mon, 25 Nov 2013 13:00 by Anne Marie Waters

Baroness Warsi's partnership with the OIC means it is only a matter of time before we are completely silenced in the name of religious freedom, argues Anne Marie Waters

What is the freedom of expression if not the freedom of the heretic who thinks differently?

What is the freedom of expression if not the freedom of the heretic who thinks differently?

Posted: Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:02 by Abhishek Phandis

LSE censorship – a first-hand account of what happened last week by Abhishek Phandis.

Islamic apostasy laws — a big disgrace in the 21st Century

Islamic apostasy laws — a big disgrace in the 21st Century

Posted: Wed, 14 Aug 2013 13:08 by Nahla Mahmoud

Nahla Mahmoud argues that authorities, groups and individuals who use apostasy as a weapon to silence others or to justify their existence need to challenged.

Free speech?

Free speech?

Posted: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 15:31 by Calum Grant

NSS member Calum Grant questions how narrow are the limits afforded to freedom of speech when criticising or satirising religion.

These imbecilic riots must serve to reinforce our commitment to freedom

These imbecilic riots must serve to reinforce our commitment to freedom

Posted: Mon, 17 Sep 2012 13:21 by Terry Sanderson

It is estimated that throughout the Muslim world something like just ten to twenty thousand people have taken part in the rampages that have dominated the headlines for a week. Terry Sanderson says these few Islamist extremists must not lead us to to compromise our commitment to the values of democracy and freedom.

Bishop Nazir-Ali gives a master class in hypocrisy and double-speak

Bishop Nazir-Ali gives a master class in hypocrisy and double-speak

Posted: Wed, 05 Sep 2012 11:37 by Anne Marie Waters

Anne Marie Waters argues that when it comes to freedom, prosperity and liberty, the men-who-live-in-palaces have got some serious questions to answer.

Leave Citizen Khan alone! Po-faced, humourless Muslim protestors are their own worst enemy

Leave Citizen Khan alone! Po-faced, humourless Muslim protestors are their own worst enemy

Posted: Wed, 29 Aug 2012 11:38 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson says Muslims who are protesting about the new BBC sitcom Citizen Khan should calm down. The sitcom, he argues, has the potential to do a big favour for Muslims in Britain if it is allowed to develop without every episode bringing a flood of complaints from those who take offense.

Springtime for defamation of religion

Springtime for defamation of religion

Posted: Thu, 16 Aug 2012 08:41 by Robert C. Blitt

Associate Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, Robert C. Blitt explains why The US Department of State and numerous human rights organizations are premature in heralding the end of attempts to entrench an international norm prohibiting blasphemy at the United Nations

Has the BBC Trust killed vigorous debate about religion on our national broadcaster?

Has the BBC Trust killed vigorous debate about religion on our national broadcaster?

Posted: Wed, 01 Aug 2012 13:01 by Terry Sanderson

If you can't even say "hogwash" about religion, then isn't debate is restricted to the point of being impossible? With its decision this week to uphold a complaint against Jeremy Paxman, Terry Sanderson says the BBC Trust has pulled the noose about the neck of free speech a little tighter.

It’s time to restore free speech – no-one has the right not to be offended.

It’s time to restore free speech – no-one has the right not to be offended.

Posted: Wed, 04 Jul 2012 17:01 by Keith Porteous Wood

Keith Porteous Wood explains why no-one has the right not to be offended, and no-one is entitled to have their feelings protected.

Secularism and religious freedom

Secularism and religious freedom

Posted: Wed, 06 Jun 2012 10:51 by Anne Marie Waters

An overview of a talk given to a Religious Discrimination and Symbolism workshop. The issue of religious discrimination — including with regard to religious symbolism and expression — is very current, and very popular.

A message from Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society and Simon Calvert of The Christian Institute

A message from Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society and Simon Calvert of The Christian Institute

Posted: Wed, 23 May 2012 13:08

A week ago we launched Reform Section 5 with a press conference in the House of Commons. The reaction was exactly what we hoped for: within hours everyone was talking about how ridiculous it is to outlaw insults.

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