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Newsline 6 October 2017

  

We've been saying for 151 years that separating religion from politics makes societies fairer and protects everyone's rights. Our critics often say we want to place unreasonable restrictions on people's ability to practice their religion. But this week the Pew Research Center has again made clear that the true threat to religious people's rights – like those of non-believers – comes from theocrats, not secularists.

Secularism is the only way to protect rationalism in public policy, freedom from the demands of religious authorities and the right to practice religion freely for those that wish to. It is in everyone's interests, and we hope you will continue to support our promotion of it.

  

News & Opinion

 

Restrictions on religion higher in countries with official religions - report

Countries with official or preferred religions are more likely to restrict religious activity, research suggests.

 

City of London asks for secular message at official dinner

The City of London asked for a religiously-neutral message, rather than a Christian grace, at an official dinner last week.

 

NSS seeks end to religious exemption amid sharp rise in non-stun slaughter

The NSS has urged the Environment Secretary to end the religious exemption from animal welfare laws after a rise in non-stun slaughter.

 

Secularism and National Libraries Week #LibraryLetters

Ahead of Libraries Week 2017 Alastair Lichten argues that libraries' values of free expression and pluralism illustrate how a vibrant secular democracy should work.

 

Book review: ‘The Jesus Candidate: Political religion in a secular age’

Megan Manson considers the importance of the Christian secularist view in James Paul Lusk's book. Lusk argues that attempts to re-establish Christian religious privilege, and roll back equalities, undermine religious freedom.

 

'British values': a source of unity in polarised times

Efforts to promote 'British values' in schools are being criticised, mainly on account of their name, but these four clear values already underpin our education, and are something to which we should aspire, argues Lottie Moore.

  

Quotes of the week

"States that have an official or preferred religion tend to behave differently from states that do not. Not only are they more likely to provide financial or legal benefits to a single religion, but they also are more likely to place a high level of government restrictions on other religious groups."
The Pew Research Center finds secular states are fairer than religious ones

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
Journalist Simon Kelner responds to Justin Welby's criticism of the BBC over child abuse

  

Re-establishment of the Manchester Secular Society

At the social following the inaugural Bradlaugh Lecture (held at Manchester Art Gallery) enthusiasm was expressed for the Re-establishment of Manchester Secular Society. The original MSS was an important part of the early secularist movement, and donated a large painting of our founder by Walter Sickert which was unveiled at the same lecture.

An initial meeting of those interested in actively helping to re-form Manchester Secular Society has been held (with a second planned in November) but further volunteers are still needed. If you would like to help, please contact Kenny Ingram.

  

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