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National Secular Society

For Freedom And Fairness


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Your daily media briefing - Friday 16 March


In the Media, our daily collection of news and commentary related to secularism, is one of the most popular features on our website and now available delivered to your inbox.


Secularism in the media


Church's approach to abuse was to 'stonewall' and 'say nothing', says Rowan Williams's former aide

Rowan Williams's former spin doctor yesterday admitted to the IICSA child abuse inquiry that the Church of England's policy was to "stonewall" victims.

Christian Today


‘A shambles is no safeguard’

This editorial says the IICSA inquiry is creating "the overriding impression of continued defensiveness" in the Church of England.

Church Times


Church didn’t report bishop’s sexual abuse crimes because he was gay, says Williams

The former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has suggested that the C of E neglected to take action over a bishop's sexual misconduct because he was gay.

Christian Post


Backlash against BBC’s decision to broadcast from Buckfast Abbey

An MSP has urged the BBC to abandon plans to film Antiques Roadshow at Buckfast Abbey, citing concerns over the tonic wine that bears its name.

The Times (£)


Religious groups claim faith schools are not divisive

Leaders from the Church of England and Catholic, Methodist and Jewish groups have united to claim their schools are "impressive drivers of community cohesion".



Four Catholic secondary schools in Northern Ireland to be merged

Plans to merge four Catholic secondary schools in Northern Ireland have emerged. It is believed De La Salle, St Mary's and St Patrick's Grammar in Downpatrick and St Columba's in Portaferry are to be merged in one 'all-ability' school that will have around 1,600 pupils.

Belfast Live


Why three far-right activists were refused entry to the UK

Three activists with big social media followings from Austria, Canada and the US have been barred from entering the United Kingdom, in a move that some say is part of a crackdown on the far right.



‘We must have the right to call Allah gay’

Brendan O'Neill criticises the decision to ban far-right activists from the UK. Some reports suggest one of them was banned on the grounds that she had handed out leaflets mocking Islam.



Child sex offender who belongs to ‘enclosed religious community’ avoids prison

A paedophile who is part of an 'enclosed religious community' and tried to lure a 12-year-old girl to a hotel has avoided jail. The judge in Luke Simpson's case said he was "persuaded, just, that you are capable of rehabilitation and that the best place for that to take place is in the community".

Daily Mail


The number of ex-Muslims in America is rising

According to the Pew Research Centre, 23% of Americans raised as Muslims no longer identify with the faith. But, The Economist says, "even in the land of the free, apostasy isn't easy".

The Economist


Let us behead killers, urge Sharia rulers in Aceh

The religious authorities in Aceh, on the island of Sumatra, are canvassing public opinion on whether to introduce beheading as a punishment for murder.

The Times (£)


Sri Lanka lifts ban on Facebook imposed amid anti-Muslim violence

Sri Lankan officials said on Thursday they had lifted a ban on Facebook after discussions with the social network, a week after blocking access on the grounds it was being used to fuel communal violence.



Latest from the NSS


Tackling unregistered schools ‘a priority’, says DfE

The Department for Education has said unregistered schools are limiting children's life chances and tackling them is a priority.


Tickets are now on sale for Secularist of the Year 2018. The awards ceremony and social reception will be held on Saturday 24 March in central London. Member tickets are £40. Join us to celebrate the outstanding groups and inspiring individuals advancing secularism and related human rights.

Find out more...


Conference on 21st Century RE for All

Thirty years after the introduction of a national curricular entitlement for all pupils, the religious education syllabus is still decided locally by committees of faith representatives, or worse, by religious bodies responsible for running faith schools.

This one day conference will explore the future of religion and belief education in schools, and how we can create a truly balanced and non-partisan approach.

Find out more...


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