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Newsline 8 September 2017

People who say they have 'no religion' are now in a majority in Britain, according to the highly-respected British Social Attitudes survey. This is a useful opportunity to say, once again, that Britain's institutions and public life are out of touch with the views of most of its people.

But the argument for secularism does not lie in the figures. Even if everyone in a country shared the same religious views, the fundamentalists would have no right to impose their views on the moderates. The separation between religion and power is an essential aspect of any free society, and it is a principle we should stand for on its own merits. This week, we've been making that case across national and local media.

Global events, such as the treatment of the Rohingya Muslims, also remind us of the need to defend freedom of religion. This is why we've spoken out against China's crackdown on religious freedom. Very often the religious lobby plays the victim to try to gain undue concessions. But events such as these illustrate that genuine persecution does exist, and those with the voice to do so have a duty to highlight it.

If you believe in defending both freedom from religion and freedom of religion, please support us.

Britain should embrace secularism as it loses its religion

Britain should embrace secularism as it loses its religion

Opinion | Fri, 08 Sep 2017

As new data suggests non-belief is at a record high, Chris Sloggett says secularists should be more assertive in making the case for freedom of and from religion.

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's cover-up of child abusers must be a lesson to the Catholic Church

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's cover-up of child abusers must be a lesson to the Catholic Church

Opinion | Fri, 08 Sep 2017

Cormac Murphy O'Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster, died on 1 September. NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood seeks to set the historical record straight with this alternative obituary.

Beware the drip drip of religious exemptions

Beware the drip drip of religious exemptions

Opinion | Sat, 02 Sep 2017

As a theme park lifts its ban on Sikh ceremonial swords, NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans questions the wisdom behind religious exemptions from generally applicable rules.

NSS criticises Chinese crackdown on religious freedom

NSS criticises Chinese crackdown on religious freedom

News | Thu, 31 Aug 2017

The National Secular Society has joined Amnesty International in condemning the Chinese government's crackdown on religious freedom.

How a teacher and a Virgin Mary statue drew attention to religious bias in the Irish education system

How a teacher and a Virgin Mary statue drew attention to religious bias in the Irish education system

News | Fri, 01 Sep 2017

A humanist teacher who objected to a statue of the virgin Mary being displayed at a state-funded school with a "religious ethos" in Ireland has lost a claim of discrimination at a Workplace Relations Commission hearing.

Ireland’s hospitals: some welcome secularisation

Ireland’s hospitals: some welcome secularisation

Opinion | Fri, 01 Sep 2017

NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood detects a long-overdue and decisive turn towards secularism in publicly funded healthcare in Ireland, an area in which the Catholic Church has until now been predominant.

NSS welcomes Conway Hall launch of 'Victorian Blogging' project

NSS welcomes Conway Hall launch of 'Victorian Blogging' project

News | Wed, 06 Sep 2017

The National Secular Society has welcomed a new project from Conway Hall which will highlight the work of Victorian radicals on major issues of the 19th century, including secularism.

NSS Speaks Out

Our response to the religion survey data was quoted in The Guardian and mentioned in The Times. Our staff responded to the figures across several local radio programmes, including Stephen Evans's appearance on BBC London (he is introduced after 10:44). Stephen also made the case for clearer labelling of halal meat on several local radio stations.

Keith Porteous Wood argued against Aldi's decision to accommodate a Muslim employee who refused to serve alcohol on BBC Three Counties Radio (he is introduced after 26:03). And Alistair McBay had letters published in The Scotsman and The Herald about church buildings' exemption from business rates and clerical appearances at official events.

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