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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Equality & Human Rights

"The National Secular Society upholds the universality of individual Human Rights, which should never be overridden on the grounds of religion, tradition or culture."
Policy statement approved by the 2014 AGM

We campaign for the law and the administration of justice to be based on equality, respect for human rights, and on objective evidence.

Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights ensures everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this includes the freedom to change one's religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest religion or belief.

However, this is a qualified right, which means that an interference with the right can be justified in certain circumstances. We believe that the right to manifest religion or belief does not permit interference with the fundamental rights of others. The right of all members of society to live free from discrimination and to have equal access to employment, to education and services always comes first.

We seek to ensure that Human Rights do not lose out to religious demands, and challenge the exemptions religious groups are granted, or demand, from laws others must follow.

Key issues

Related News

MPs express support for secularism in Bangladesh

MPs express support for secularism in Bangladesh

Mon, 22 Jun 2015 15:36

Several Members of Parliament have praised secularism in a debate on Bangladesh, and the NSS is calling on them to support secularist principles in the UK as well.

Tribunal finds that Christian nursery worker was victim of religious discrimination

Tribunal finds that Christian nursery worker was victim of religious discrimination

Sun, 07 Jun 2015 11:11

An employment tribunal has found that an evangelical Christian woman working at a nursery in Highbury, north London was a victim of religious discrimination after she was fired for upsetting a lesbian colleague.

LibDem leadership contender calls for secular state

LibDem leadership contender calls for secular state

Wed, 20 May 2015 17:00

Tim Farron, one of two candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats, has called for the Church of England to be disestablished and has also expressed his opposition to faith schools.

'Gay cake' ruling: “no exceptions” to equality laws for religious beliefs

'Gay cake' ruling: “no exceptions” to equality laws for religious beliefs

Tue, 19 May 2015 11:47

Belfast County Court has ruled that the Ashers Bakery, run by a Christian family, unlawfully discriminated against a gay customer who ordered a cake featuring a slogan in support of marriage equality.

Former High Court judge compares secularism to religious repression of the Tudors

Former High Court judge compares secularism to religious repression of the Tudors

Fri, 15 May 2015 10:55

The National Secular Society has strongly rejected the comments of a former High Court judge, who said atheists and secularists exhibit an attitude to "freedom of speech which is as restrictive of that of Elizabeth I or Burghley."