Freedom of expression
The National Secular Society robustly challenges religious threats to free expression. The Society's 140 year campaign to abolish the blasphemy law in England succeeded in 2008 and we continue to campaign to resist blasphemy laws in other parts of the world where in some places conviction can carry the death penalty.
Our latest campaign sets out to reform Section 5 of the Public Order Act to remove the word 'insulting'. We believe the removal of 'insulting' would afford greater protection to freedom of expression – for both the religious and non-religious.
We campaign vigorously against all attempts to restrict free speech and artistic expression, and in 2006 were instrumental in ensuring the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill was amended to protect free speech.
We campaigned when attempts were made to ban the showing of Jerry Springer the Opera on the BBC, and the show was eventually broadcast.
The NSS has been in the forefront of efforts to oppose the modification of the United Nations Human Rights Charter by Islamic nations that would render it ineffective, and even counterproductive, in the area of free speech.
The current attempt to make 'defamation of religion' a crime would prevent and punish any criticism or questioning of religious belief and practices - even those that contravene current Human Rights.
If religion — any religion — is off-limits for open debate we are in a very dangerous situation. And if it is off-limits because of perceived threats from radicals, then it is even more dangerous. It is capitulation to terrorism.
Everyone should be allowed to speak freely, whatever their beliefs as only in the public arena can contentious ideas be debated and, if necessary, exposed and countered.
Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:57
The National Secular Society and the Christian Institute have joined together to launch a new campaign, Defend Free Speech, in opposition to proposed 'Extremism Disruption Orders'.
Wed, 30 Sep 2015 15:02
The US-based Centre for Inquiry (CFI) has launched a new website for their campaign to promote and defend free expression, in time to celebrate International Blasphemy Rights Day.
Mon, 28 Sep 2015 09:40
The National Secular Society has welcomed Warwick Student Union's decision to host secular campaigner Maryam Namazie. The Union reversed their ban on her speaking following huge public pressure.
Fri, 25 Sep 2015 12:35
Maryam Namazie has been blocked from speaking to the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists' Society after the Student Union said the ex-Muslim campaigner could 'insult' religion.
Wed, 23 Sep 2015 16:19
Secular writers are defiant after Bangladeshi Islamists stepped up their campaign of murders with a global death list.