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NSS Opinion

Time to rethink the Church's role in state education

Time to rethink the Church's role in state education

Posted: Mon, 01 Oct 2012 by Stephen Evans

As head teachers put the Church's plan to intensify the religious input into lessons into action, Stephen Evans asks: isn't it time to rethink the role of religion in our public education system?

Tags: Faith Schools, Education

Politicians and “faith leaders” make a gruesome combination

Politicians and “faith leaders” make a gruesome combination

Posted: Tue, 25 Sep 2012 by Terry Sanderson

While many will write it off as red meat being thrown to the raving fundamentalists on the back bench of the Tory Party, Terry Sanderson says the appointment of Baroness Warsi as "Minister for Faith and Communities" is potentially threatening for secularism.

Tags: Catholic Church, Church & State

Interculturalism: The new era of cohesion and diversity

Interculturalism: The new era of cohesion and diversity

Posted: Wed, 19 Sep 2012 by National Secular Society

In an important new book, Ted Cantle argues that multiculturalism, while seeking to protect minority communities and cultures, has led to a society of plural mono-cultures living alongside each other, where groups different than oneself are identified solely by their most visible characteristics.

Tags: Community Cohesion, Multiculturalism, Reviews

These imbecilic riots must serve to reinforce our commitment to freedom

These imbecilic riots must serve to reinforce our commitment to freedom

Posted: Mon, 17 Sep 2012 by Terry Sanderson

It is estimated that throughout the Muslim world something like just ten to twenty thousand people have taken part in the rampages that have dominated the headlines for a week. Terry Sanderson says these few Islamist extremists must not lead us to to compromise our commitment to the values of democracy and freedom.

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

NSS President's speech to Secular Europe rally

NSS President's speech to Secular Europe rally

Posted: Sat, 15 Sep 2012 by National Secular Society

Terry Sanderson's speech to the Secular Europe rally: "It is time now for politicians to lose their fear of religious leaders, to accept that they can't corral their followers into a voting bloc, and to give the people what they want - a peaceful, tolerant and progressive society."

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

Hospitals axed, wages cut, frontline staff dispensed with – but Chaplains are sitting pretty

Hospitals axed, wages cut, frontline staff dispensed with – but Chaplains are sitting pretty

Posted: Sat, 15 Sep 2012 by Terry Sanderson

As our precious health services are falling one after another in the face of the recession, the Church must be very happy that the NHS is prepared to pick up the substantial wage bill for the clerics it should be paying for itself.

Tags: Chaplaincy, Healthcare

Oppose the Russian resolution on “traditional values” at Human Rights Council

Oppose the Russian resolution on “traditional values” at Human Rights Council

Posted: Sat, 15 Sep 2012 by European Women's Lobby

At the current session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Russia has tabled a resolution seeking to promote "traditional values" as a basis for human rights. If this resolution is passed, there is no doubt that governments in future will use "traditional values" to restrict human rights.

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

Those census statistics explained

Those census statistics explained

Posted: Sat, 15 Sep 2012 by Terry Sanderson

A new book attempts to answer intriguing question about why 72% of English people identified themselves as Christian in the 2001 census when less than 10 per cent regularly attends a place of worship.

Tags: Census, Statistics

Are parliament’s theocrats about to have their day?

Are parliament’s theocrats about to have their day?

Posted: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 by Terry Sanderson

Has the recent reshuffle appeased the religious lobby and are parliament's theocrats about to have their day?

Tags: Church & State, Equality & Human Rights, Marriage Equality, 'Militant' secularism, Community Cohesion, Discrimination

Time to challenge the religious slaughter of animals

Time to challenge the religious slaughter of animals

Posted: Fri, 07 Sep 2012 by Stephen Evans

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is an important right, but a qualified right, which means that an interference with the right can be justified in certain circumstances. Stephen Evans argues that ensuring the welfare of animals provides such a justification.

Tags: Religious Slaughter

Discriminatory acts have a moral significance

Discriminatory acts have a moral significance

Posted: Thu, 06 Sep 2012 by Dr Ronan McCrea

In this response to Joshua Rozenberg's piece on conscience exemptions from anti-discrimination legislation, Human rights barrister Dr Ronan McCrea argues that discriminatory acts have a moral significance beyond the deprivation of the relevant service.

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, ECtHR, Discrimination

Bishop Nazir-Ali gives a master class in hypocrisy and double-speak

Bishop Nazir-Ali gives a master class in hypocrisy and double-speak

Posted: Wed, 05 Sep 2012 by Anne Marie Waters

Anne Marie Waters argues that when it comes to freedom, prosperity and liberty, the men-who-live-in-palaces have got some serious questions to answer.

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

Here’s hoping the European Court can bring an end to this campaign of distortion over religious discrimination

Here’s hoping the European Court can bring an end to this campaign of distortion over religious discrimination

Posted: Tue, 04 Sep 2012 by Terry Sanderson

In providing one of the few "dissenting voices" in the media discussion of the cases of supposed religious discrimination being heard in the European Court of Human Rights, the most astonishing thing has been the success of the propaganda campaign conducted by Christian activists and the Daily Mailand Daily Telegraph.

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, ECtHR, 'Christianophobia'

Religious beliefs should be respected - when rights are not impeded

Religious beliefs should be respected - when rights are not impeded

Posted: Thu, 30 Aug 2012 by Joshua Rozenberg

Legal expert Joshua Rozenberg on the employment cases due to be heard at the European Court of Human Rights next week, after all four applicants ailed to convince UK courts that they had suffered religious discrimination.

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Discrimination, Religious Symbols, Law

Faith based welfare looms as local authorities ask 'Big Society' to feed the poor

Faith based welfare looms as local authorities ask 'Big Society' to feed the poor

Posted: Wed, 29 Aug 2012 by Stephen Evans

As the UK economy stagnates, church-run food banks are booming. But as local authorities draw up plans to refer people in need to food banks, Stephen Evans asks: should the welfare state force citizens to turn to the church in their hour of need?

Tags: Big Society, Charity, Public Services

Leave Citizen Khan alone! Po-faced, humourless Muslim protestors are their own worst enemy

Leave Citizen Khan alone! Po-faced, humourless Muslim protestors are their own worst enemy

Posted: Wed, 29 Aug 2012 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson says Muslims who are protesting about the new BBC sitcom Citizen Khan should calm down. The sitcom, he argues, has the potential to do a big favour for Muslims in Britain if it is allowed to develop without every episode bringing a flood of complaints from those who take offense.

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam, Community Cohesion, Multiculturalism, BBC

Ireland awaits Human Rights report on its abortion law

Ireland awaits Human Rights report on its abortion law

Posted: Tue, 28 Aug 2012 by Claire McCormack

Ireland awaits a September report on its abortion laws by a European Court of Human Rights panel of experts at a time of rising political tensions over the issue and a backdrop of steep declines in the popularity of religion.

Tags: Gender Equality, Church & State, Catholic Church, Reproductive Rights, Ireland

Springtime for defamation of religion

Springtime for defamation of religion

Posted: Thu, 16 Aug 2012 by Robert C. Blitt

Associate Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, Robert C. Blitt explains why The US Department of State and numerous human rights organizations are premature in heralding the end of attempts to entrench an international norm prohibiting blasphemy at the United Nations

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam, Blasphemy, Defamation of Religion, United Nations

Why do we allow discrimination based on culture?

Why do we allow discrimination based on culture?

Posted: Wed, 15 Aug 2012 by Anne Marie Waters

So, the Olympics has come and gone and it's been a triumph; our athletes have done us proud and the UK has a whole new raft of sporting heroes and heroines. But that's not all – Saudi Arabia got off the hook, misogyny has been normalised, and multiculturalism has been disingenuously defended … all in a few short weeks.

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

Motes and beams in banking ethics

Motes and beams in banking ethics

Posted: Tue, 07 Aug 2012 by Alistair McBay

Alistair McBay argues that the Vatican should put its own financial house in order before lecturing the financial sector on ethical banking.

Tags: Pope, Catholic Church, Finance

Women can choose to wear the burka – but can they choose not to?

Women can choose to wear the burka – but can they choose not to?

Posted: Mon, 06 Aug 2012 by By Anne Marie Waters

Anne Marie Waters argues that the burka runs counter to democratic values and norms because it designates women a different and separate existence. Should the choice to cause this harm should be restricted?

Tags: Burka/veil

Disillusion for the revolutionaries who thought the Arab Spring would bring freedom and secularism

Disillusion for the revolutionaries who thought the Arab Spring would bring freedom and secularism

Posted: Fri, 03 Aug 2012 by Terry Sanderson

The tightening of the grip of political Islam on the Middle East continues apace. Those young people who put their lives on the line to depose dictators and demagogues are now finding that, in fact, their countrymen seem to like dictators and demagogues – and have used the hard-won democratic process to swap secular tyrants for religious ones.

Tags: Islamism, Middle East

Has the BBC Trust killed vigorous debate about religion on our national broadcaster?

Has the BBC Trust killed vigorous debate about religion on our national broadcaster?

Posted: Wed, 01 Aug 2012 by Terry Sanderson

If you can't even say "hogwash" about religion, then isn't debate is restricted to the point of being impossible? With its decision this week to uphold a complaint against Jeremy Paxman, Terry Sanderson says the BBC Trust has pulled the noose about the neck of free speech a little tighter.

Tags: Freedom of Expression, BBC

Male circumcision is an unwarranted breach of a child’s integrity – just like FGM

Male circumcision is an unwarranted breach of a child’s integrity – just like FGM

Posted: Tue, 31 Jul 2012 by Kenneth Houston

The Muslim-Jewish alliance of religious 'leaders' who condemned the recent German court ruling in Cologne on male circumcision stands as a testament to the need for secularism.

Tags: Healthcare, Circumcision

Religious differences are reinforced by misguided enthusiasts like Tony Blair

Religious differences are reinforced by misguided enthusiasts like Tony Blair

Posted: Fri, 27 Jul 2012 by Terry Sanderson

Tony Blair has been on the public platform again talking about how important religion is for everybody. NSS President Terry Sanderson isn't convinced.

Tags: Community Cohesion, Tony Blair

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