NSS Opinion

President Trump: American theocrat

Posted: Tue, 31 Jan 2017 by Alastair Lichten

Donald Trump may be America's latest 'atheist president', but his presidency has put Christian Nationalism at the heart of its policy agenda.

Modern theocracy whether of the Islamist, Christian Dominionist or Hindu Nationalist variety is about belief, but it.. Read More »

Tags: USA, Religious right

Faith schools mustn’t be allowed to stymie young people’s sexual health and well-being

Posted: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 by Stephen Evans

Political sensitivity about faith schools is getting in the way of providing evidence-based, age-appropriate sex and relationships education (SRE) to all children. We can't wait forever for the Government's proposals on SRE, writes Stephen Evans.

The latest.. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Sex Education

A faith ethos is no magic solution for improving schools

Posted: Sat, 07 Jan 2017 by Alistair McBay

There are success stories and failures in schools of all types, including faith schools, despite what the churches would have people believe. NSS vice president Alistair McBay debunks the myth that 'faith school' is a byword for success.

2016 was another interesting.. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Norway’s separation of Church and State: a work in progress

Posted: Wed, 04 Jan 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

Norway's supposed separation of Church and State, effective from 1 January 2017, is a very positive step, but it's still a work in progress, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

Both Norway and the United Kingdom have populations that are very secular in outlook, with.. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Norway, Secularism

Sister Sarah Kuteh: up steps the next so called victim of ‘Christian persecution’

Posted: Wed, 14 Dec 2016 by Stephen Evans

It has been another week in which we've seen Christians in the Middle East losing their lives to violence and persecution, but much media attention in the UK has instead focussed around the plight of a nurse, supposedly sacked for "offering to pray with her.. Read More »

Tags: Healthcare, Christianity, Workplace

Sabbatarians have imposed their dogma on islanders for long enough, help them put a stop to it

Posted: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 by Alistair McBay

The National Secular Society is helping campaigners on the Isle of Lewis open a sports centre on a Sunday, currently blocked by a council who won't allow it on the Sabbath. It's hardly the first time Sabbatarians on Lewis have played this game.

The attempt.. Read More »

Tags: Scotland, FiSH

The Casey Review lays bare the failure to integrate Muslim minorities

Posted: Mon, 05 Dec 2016 by Benjamin Jones

Dame Louise Casey offers a damning critique of mass immigration undertaken without serious efforts to integrate new arrivals, but she shies away from properly tackling faith schools, and the problems she identifies may be intractable.

The Casey Review is a.. Read More »

Tags: Multiculturalism, Islam

Clerics shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to publicly funded schools

Posted: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 by Stephen Evans

A progressive education policy would seek to break down barriers between people of different faiths and beliefs, not erect them, writes NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans.

The schools adjudicator recently ruled against a new policy across all Catholic schools.. Read More »

Tags: Education, admissions, Faith Schools, Fifty percent cap

Sharia reviews and the case for non-accommodation and non-regulation

Posted: Fri, 11 Nov 2016 by Sadikur Rahman

Our legal system cannot be permitted to fracture into parallel codes for different religious groups. Sadikur Rahman writes on how to avoid accommodation with sharia while also protecting the rights and interests of Muslim women.

The role of sharia law as practised.. Read More »

Tags: Sharia, Marriage, Religious Law, Law

Protecting women’s rights is the priority, but that isn’t the only legitimate concern about sharia

Posted: Thu, 03 Nov 2016 by Benjamin Jones

Gender inequality isn't the only problem with sharia councils, and non-Muslims have every right to object to the foundation of a parallel legal system in the UK, writes Benjamin Jones.

The discrimination against women inherent in sharia is its most objectionable.. Read More »

Tags: Sharia, Religiousity policing

Saudi women’s rights activist arrested – days after Saudi Arabia returned to Human Rights Council

Posted: Thu, 03 Nov 2016 by David van Rooyen

A leading women's rights activist, Mariam Nassir Al Oteebi, has been arrested in Saudi Arabia and languishes in prison, just days after the country was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, writes David van Rooyen. Read More »

Tags: Saudi Arabia, Gender Equality

Why the Ashers Bakery 'gay cake' ruling was reasonable

Posted: Tue, 01 Nov 2016 by Stephen Evans

Despite the hyperbole, the decision in the Ashers Baker case is both reasonable and straightforward, opening the door neither to a denigration of religious freedom or equality laws. Had the case gone the other way it would have undermined both, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Northern Ireland, LGBTQ rights, Equality & Human Rights

Had the Ashers ‘gay cake’ ruling gone the other way it would have seriously undermined equality law

Posted: Fri, 28 Oct 2016 by National Secular Society

Despite the outcry following this week's Ashers 'gay cake' ruling, Northern Ireland's Court of Appeal delivered a clear and logical judgment. Read More »

Tags: Ashers, Equality & Human Rights

Review: The Battle for British Islam, by Sara Khan with Tony McMahon

Posted: Thu, 27 Oct 2016 by Benjamin Jones

There are three million Muslims in the UK. The evidence shows they are becoming more religiously conservative, thousands are thought to have joined Islamic State; vast majorities would criminalise blasphemy and homosexuality. What hope is there?

'The Battle.. Read More »

Tags: Islam, Reviews

Forced cutting of young boys’ genitals violates the most fundamental medical ethics

Posted: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 by Dr Antony Lempert

Too often those who carry out forced cutting of young boys' genitals escape with gentle admonishment, rather than punishment commensurate with the severity of their actions, writes Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum. Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Secular Medical Forum, Healthcare

The new UN Secretary General must not allow religion to override human rights

Posted: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 by Keith Porteous Wood

UN Secretary General designate needs to ignore Catholic pressure to row back on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Gay Rights, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

The former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres has been officially appointed as the next.. Read More »

Tags: United Nations, Catholic Church, Abortion, Reproductive Rights

Advice for parents wanting to give the evangelical Operation Christmas Child shoebox scheme a wide berth

Posted: Wed, 12 Oct 2016 by Alastair Lichten

Alastair Lichten looks at the ethical, educational and efficiency case against the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child shoebox scheme. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Samaritans Purse, Casework focus, Christmas

The demonisation of Louis Smith: This is how a de facto blasphemy law works

Posted: Tue, 11 Oct 2016 by Stephen Evans

The castigation of a British gymnast for 'mocking Islam' is illustrative of a troubling return of blasphemy, argues Stephen Evans.

If you've been following the hounding of British Olympic gymnast Louis Smith this week, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that.. Read More »

Tags: Stephen Evans, Freedom of Expression

Channel 4’s Dispatches reveals intimidating tactics of US-inspired anti-abortion campaigners

Posted: Thu, 06 Oct 2016 by Dr Antony Lempert

Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum reacts to Channel 4 Dispatches' programme that showed the shock tactics UK anti-abortion campaigners are importing from America. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Healthcare, Secular Medical Forum, Reproductive Rights

The biter bit: Church of England suffers from Chancel Repair Liability

Posted: Wed, 05 Oct 2016 by Ed Moore

The legal requirement to repair church chancels has surprisingly started to impact the Church Commissioners. Here's what they did about it.

The National Secular Society has long campaigned to remove Chancel Repair Liability (CRL), which dates back to the time.. Read More »

Tags: Chancel Repair Liability, Church of England

Inclusive education: divisive faith schools are the elephant in the room

Posted: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 by Stephen Evans

NSS campaigns director on why progressives of all political and religious stripes should unite in opposing Theresa May's plan to open a new wave of divisive 'faith schools'

As an advocate for secular education, my hopes were raised momentarily this week when.. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Fifty percent cap, admissions

Church of England or Chancellor of the Exchequer: who’s setting the agenda?

Posted: Mon, 19 Sep 2016 by Ed Moore

NSS treasurer Ed Moore writes on the blurred lines between church and state when it comes to taxpayer funding for church repairs, and the vast sums of money being sent from the Treasury to the Church of England.

It can be hard, viewed from afar, to try and.. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, church repairs

Facilitating more religious segregation in faith schools can only harm social cohesion

Posted: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 by Stephen Evans

In a move devoid of any common sense, Theresa May's government looks set to capitulate to the demands of religious groups by relaxing admissions rules for faith-based academies, allowing them to select all pupils along religious lines. Read More »

Tags: Education, admissions, Fifty percent cap

Living better together: French secularism risks being destroyed by political ambition

Posted: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 by Terry Sanderson

Despite occasional conflicts, France's tradition of secularism has served both social cohesion and religious freedom well. Terry Sanderson argues that misusing secularism for political aims risks undermining both. Read More »

Tags: France, Events, Islam, Community Cohesion

Religious privilege undermines abuse victims’ access to justice

Posted: Mon, 22 Aug 2016 by Richard Scorer

Richard Scorer, a specialist child abuse lawyer at Slater & Gordon draws attention to organisations seeking more lenient treatment over child abuse-connected matters because they are religious and makes the case for no concessions being given. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Childrens rights & welfare, Catholic Church, Jehovah Witnesses