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NSS Opinion

To spank or not to spank – a biblical right?

To spank or not to spank – a biblical right?

Posted: Sat, 21 Oct 2017 by Alistair McBay

With Christian groups leading the opposition to Scotland's new smacking ban, Alistair McBay explores the many instances of Christian schools and campaigners demanding the ability to spank children as a religious or even biblical right.

Tags: Scotland

Book review: ‘The rage: the vicious circle of Islamist and far-right extremism’

Book review: ‘The rage: the vicious circle of Islamist and far-right extremism’

Posted: Tue, 17 Oct 2017 by Dale Claridge

Julia Ebner's new book explores the symbiotic relationship between Islamist and (other) far right extremism, how Islamist and anti-Muslim narratives feed each other, and how we can challenge both.

Tags: Reviews, Extremism, Anti-Muslim bigotry, Sectarianism

Al-Hijrah School ruling: The fight to end segregation has only just begun

Al-Hijrah School ruling: The fight to end segregation has only just begun

Posted: Sat, 14 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

The ruling that an Islamic faith school's policy of gender segregation is unlawful should force us to have have a broader conversation about the religious segregation and inequality our children face in UK schools, argues Megan Manson

Tags: Education, Gender Equality

Religious Right supports state backed prayers, until they’re Islamic

Religious Right supports state backed prayers, until they’re Islamic

Posted: Thu, 12 Oct 2017 by Paul Lusk

Claims of ecumenicalism and pluralism are often used to smuggle exclusively Christian privilege into public institutions. Christian secularist Paul Lusk asks what we should do about that.

Tags: Council Prayers, Islam, Christianity, Religious Right

UNESCO: Putting religious privilege above gender equality

UNESCO: Putting religious privilege above gender equality

Posted: Wed, 11 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

UNESCO says gender equality is one of its top priorities. But Megan Manson says it is protecting misogynistic attitudes by awarding World Heritage Status to religious sites that practise sexual discrimination.

Tags: Gender Equality, United Nations, Discrimination

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

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

Posted: Fri, 06 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

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.

Tags: Reviews, Christianity

Secularism and National Libraries Week #LibraryLetters

Secularism and National Libraries Week #LibraryLetters

Posted: Thu, 05 Oct 2017 by Alastair Lichten

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

Tags: Secularism, Libraries

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

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

Posted: Thu, 05 Oct 2017 by Lottie Moore

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.

Tags: British values, Education, Community Cohesion

The legacy of decades of abuse in a Catholic children's home

The legacy of decades of abuse in a Catholic children's home

Posted: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 by Mark Boules

Hundreds of children died at Smyllum Park, a home in Lanarkshire run by the Catholic Church between 1864 and 1981. Mark Boules reflects on what is left after decades of abuse at the home.

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church, Scotland

Lessons from the frontline of Islamic fundamentalism

Lessons from the frontline of Islamic fundamentalism

Posted: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson explores autobiographies by two Muslim secularists whose lives have been directly intertwined with Islamist extremism, and asks if the secular pluralism extremists most fear could be our best hope.

Tags: Reviews, Islam, Secularism, Education, Terrorism

Britain should embrace secularism as it loses its religion

Britain should embrace secularism as it loses its religion

Posted: Fri, 08 Sep 2017 by Chris Sloggett

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.

Tags: British values, Secularism, Religious privilege

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

Posted: Fri, 08 Sep 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

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.

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Beware the drip drip of religious exemptions

Beware the drip drip of religious exemptions

Posted: Sat, 02 Sep 2017 by Stephen Evans

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.

Tags: Multiculturalism, Secularism, One law for all

Ireland’s hospitals: some welcome secularisation

Ireland’s hospitals: some welcome secularisation

Posted: Fri, 01 Sep 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

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.

Tags: Ireland, Healthcare, Catholic Church

The confessional shouldn’t shield child abuse from reporting

The confessional shouldn’t shield child abuse from reporting

Posted: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

The Australian abuse commission is right not to exempt the confessional from reporting obligations, and its rigour should provide a model to reverse the backsliding already all too clear in the UK, argues Keith Porteous Wood.

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church, Australia

Newcastle: what's faith got to do with it?

Newcastle: what's faith got to do with it?

Posted: Thu, 10 Aug 2017 by Yasmin Rehman

A group of mainly Muslim men has been convicted for sexual abuse in another British city. Amid a predictable response, Yasmin Rehman says child protection does not require the involvement of faith groups or 'community leaders'.

Tags: Islam, Child Abuse, Secularism, Multiculturalism, Faith groups

Food for thought! Imposing worship in Australian schools

Food for thought! Imposing worship in Australian schools

Posted: Thu, 10 Aug 2017 by A Parent

Blinkers go on when people talk about religion. So one parent in a Queensland school thought she would use food to explain the impact of the school's version of 'inclusiveness'. The school tells her that her child can go somewhere else while the prayer is being said. The picture is of the prayer recited at the regular assembly.

Tags: Australia, Religious privilege, Collective Worship, Parents Perspective

Sam Brownback: Trump’s new man is no fan of religious freedom

Sam Brownback: Trump’s new man is no fan of religious freedom

Posted: Wed, 09 Aug 2017 by Chris Sloggett

The record of President Trump's new nominee exposes the hypocrisy of the US religious right. Chris Sloggett argues that its opponents must challenge the ingrained assumption that faith is a good thing.

Tags: USA, Christianity, Religion & Belief, Freedom from Religion, Religious right

The BBC is overdoing religion

The BBC is overdoing religion

Posted: Mon, 31 Jul 2017 by Terry Sanderson

New figures show that the BBC is devoting hundreds of hours of programming to religion each year. NSS president Terry Sanderson argues that more of its scarce resources should be spent elsewhere.

Tags: BBC, Media

Church of England’s links with insurer undermines justice for survivors of clergy abuse

Church of England’s links with insurer undermines justice for survivors of clergy abuse

Posted: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

Anglican abuse victims believe the Church's close links with its insurer results in lower settlements to victims. NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood thinks they've got a point, and offers solutions to put things right.

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, Child Abuse

Intolerant religion mustn’t dictate England’s education policy

Intolerant religion mustn’t dictate England’s education policy

Posted: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 by Stephen Evans

The government is under fire over proposals to lift the cap on faith-based admissions in faith schools. Stephen Evans says the plans should be abandoned - and religious groups' role in education rolled back.

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Church & State

Never mind joining SACREs, we should be abolishing them

Never mind joining SACREs, we should be abolishing them

Posted: Fri, 21 Jul 2017 by Keith Sharpe

A parent's legal challenge to the exclusion of a humanist representative from the local body responsible for overseeing religious education highlights the need for urgent reform of this contested area of the curriculum, argues Keith Sharpe.

Tags: Education, RE, Secularism

The PM must be held to account for her faith school obsession

The PM must be held to account for her faith school obsession

Posted: Thu, 20 Jul 2017 by Chris Sloggett

Theresa May's plans to expand faith schools in Britain are ill-judged. In response, Chris Sloggett argues, it is up to secularists to make a principled case: state education must be grounded in reason and free intellectual enquiry.

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Community Cohesion

Separate is not equal ­– not in this ‘faith’ school

Separate is not equal ­– not in this ‘faith’ school

Posted: Tue, 11 Jul 2017 by Stephen Evans

Turning a blind eye to discriminatory gender segregation in Islamic schools would be a disaster for future generations of British girls growing up in Muslim communities, argues Stephen Evans.

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Gender Equality

The greater the religious fervency, the greater the homophobia

The greater the religious fervency, the greater the homophobia

Posted: Fri, 07 Jul 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

On Pride weekend, NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood highlights the interconnectedness between the fight for secularism and equality for LGBTQ people

Tags: LGBTQ rights, Equality & Human Rights

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