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NSS Opinion

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, Religious Right

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, Statistics

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, Religious education, 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

The Church can’t be allowed to carry on marking its own homework

The Church can’t be allowed to carry on marking its own homework

Posted: Sun, 25 Jun 2017 by Richard Scorer

The Church concealed evidence of criminality and colluded to protect an abusive bishop. Only external oversight will guarantee that church safeguarding practices comply with secular standards, argues Richard Scorer.

Tags: Church & State, Child Abuse, George Carey

Anti-Muslim hate must be challenged. Silencing criticism of Islam won’t help

Anti-Muslim hate must be challenged. Silencing criticism of Islam won’t help

Posted: Fri, 23 Jun 2017 by Stephen Evans

Both the Government and civil-society have a role to play in challenging anti-Muslim hate, but efforts to silence criticisms of Islam will only be counterproductive, argues Stephen Evans.

Tags: Anti-Muslim Bigotry, sectarianism

Abortion ruling is a missed opportunity to recognise the disparity in women’s reproductive health rights across the UK

Abortion ruling is a missed opportunity to recognise the disparity in women’s reproductive health rights across the UK

Posted: Thu, 15 Jun 2017 by Dr Antony Lempert

Ensuring that NHS abortion services are made available, free of charge, to UK citizens travelling from Northern Ireland would be a way of mitigating the harm caused by a disparity in women's reproductive health rights across the UK, argues Dr Antony Lempert.

Tags: Gender Equality, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights, Abortion

Was Tim Farron a secularist?

Was Tim Farron a secularist?

Posted: Thu, 15 Jun 2017 by Terry Sanderson

Tim Farron was a classic secularist, but found himself unable to reconcile his personal faith and his party's socially liberal positions and made his own choice, argues Terry Sanderson.

Tags: LibDem Party, Politics, GE2017

Scottish care provider’s decision to drop faith test should prompt a rethink over equality exceptions

Scottish care provider’s decision to drop faith test should prompt a rethink over equality exceptions

Posted: Tue, 13 Jun 2017 by Stephen Evans

When religious organisations are delivering state-funded public services they should neither discriminate nor proselytize – argues Stephen Evans, looking at the case of CrossReach and its implications.

Tags: Public Services, Discrimination

“Glastonbury of Freethinkers”: conference on freedom of conscience and expression

“Glastonbury of Freethinkers”: conference on freedom of conscience and expression

Posted: Mon, 12 Jun 2017 by Maryam Namazie

Saturday 22 – Monday 24 July will see activists from around the world gather for a weekend of discussions and debates on freedom of conscience and expression in the 21st century. Maryam Namazie tells us why it is such an important event.

Tags: Events

What happens next? Some thoughts on the election and the challenges to come

What happens next? Some thoughts on the election and the challenges to come

Posted: Fri, 09 Jun 2017 by National Secular Society

The dust is beginning to settle. Whether you're delighted, dismayed or just surprised by last night's results there are challenges and opportunities to come.

Tags: Politics, GE2017

We need to defend both our lives and our way of life

We need to defend both our lives and our way of life

Posted: Thu, 08 Jun 2017 by Stephen Evans

Terrorist atrocities have a way of bringing the nation together, albeit temporarily. We need a glue to keep us together, to protect our lives and our way of life, writes Stephen Evans.

Tags: Community Cohesion, Terrorism, Islam

Irish National Maternity Hospital: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!”

Irish National Maternity Hospital: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!”

Posted: Mon, 05 Jun 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

The determination to give a hospital to a disgraced religious order, in spite of public outrage, is the very antithesis of secularism. But the episode has prompted calls for fundamental changes in the relationship between church and state, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

Tags: Catholic Church, Ireland, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights

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