1. Skip to content

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

Taxpayer-funded Catholic schools should only be for Catholics, says Archbishop of Liverpool

Taxpayer-funded Catholic schools should only be for Catholics, says Archbishop of Liverpool

Thu, 04 May 2017 11:24

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon has said that Catholic schools "are different" and "for the Catholic community", despite their being funded by all taxpayers.

European Court of Justice: Employers can require staff to wear religiously neutral clothing

European Court of Justice: Employers can require staff to wear religiously neutral clothing

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 11:17

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has advised that employers can ask their staff to "dress neutrally" provided rules are consistent and apply to all religious symbols equally.

Freedom of Thought report highlights the right to freedom from religion

Freedom of Thought report highlights the right to freedom from religion

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 08:10

The Freedom of Thought report highlights cases of individuals who have been targeted for expressing non-religious views, for 'blasphemy' or for promoting secularism.

Major new equality report rejects opening the door to religious discrimination

Major new equality report rejects opening the door to religious discrimination

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:15

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a major new report on religion and belief in the workplace, with recommendations which have been strongly welcomed by the National Secular Society.

Ashers Bakery loses appeal over cake with “Support Gay Marriage” slogan

Ashers Bakery loses appeal over cake with “Support Gay Marriage” slogan

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 13:32

A bakery firm which cancelled an order for a cake with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" has lost its appeal against the ruling that they had unlawfully discriminated.