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Newsline 9 January 2015
Collection of Charlie Hebdo front covers reprinted in solidarity

Not a member? The most tangible way of supporting our work is by becoming a member and contributing funds to enable us to campaign effectively; the more we have, the more we can do. If you believe, as we do, that a secular Britain is our best chance to achieve true equality for all citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs, then please join us and become part of what is possibly the most important debate of the 21st century. Together we can create a fairer and more equal society.

NSS statement following Charlie Hebdo attack

NSS statement following Charlie Hebdo attack

Opinion | Wed, 07 Jan 2015

Restrictions on criticising or satirising religion, especially Islam, have hugely increased since Salman Rushdie was burned in effigy and driven into hiding over The Satanic Verses in 1988. That he was reviled and those attempting his murder not even charged showed Governmental contempt for freedom of expression.

The abolition of (Christian) blasphemy in England in 2008 became irrelevant with the introduction of protection from criticism or mockery of all religion when 'religiously aggravated offences' were criminalised with a seven year tariff. These offences dangerously go beyond protecting individuals to protecting their beliefs.

The extremists try increasingly to terrorise us into silence and often the state conspires with them, blaming the victims for 'bringing it upon themselves'.

But in an open society, free expression is more important than any religious dogma. Without free expression, our democracy will not function, as it does not in many Muslim countries. Religion will be permitted to go unexamined, even when it is a threat to life and limb.

We must stand together and refuse to be cowed into silence by the threats of terrorists and the cowardice of politicians. We cannot, as a society, place religion beyond the reach of satire or critical examination.

GP Taylor: Why faith has no place in our schools

GP Taylor: Why faith has no place in our schools

Opinion | Thu, 08 Jan 2015

Many principled people of faith oppose religious privilege in state schools. Former Anglican priest GP Taylor makes an impassioned case for secularism as a basis for equally inclusive education.

Churches, charity and the conferring of privilege

Churches, charity and the conferring of privilege

Opinion | Tue, 06 Jan 2015

There are many ways to do good, including campaigning for human rights and equality over discrimination and prejudice, but charitable work is not a bargaining chip for special privileges, argues Alistair McBay.

If we exempt ritual slaughter from animal welfare laws we open the door to far worse crimes

If we exempt ritual slaughter from animal welfare laws we open the door to far worse crimes

Opinion | Mon, 05 Jan 2015

Matthew Syed argues that the right to religious freedom is not an absolute right to do what you like, and that religious exemptions for ritual slaughter are a slippery slope into far worse crimes.

Who should be the next Secularist of the Year?

Who should be the next Secularist of the Year?

News | Wed, 17 Dec 2014

Tickets are now on sale for Secularist of the Year 2015 and the National Secular Society is seeking the public's nominations to receive the prize.

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