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Challenging Religious Privilege


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Newsline 22 June 2018


More evidence emerged this week of the Church of England concealing the extent of sexual abuse within its ranks in order to protect its reputation. One campaigner is calling the church's conduct an "industrial scale whitewash".

The appalling revelations are another reminder of the need for a mandatory reporting law. Until those who know about or suspect abuse have to report it to the statutory authorities on pain of criminal sanctions, the churches will continue to hide embarrassing cases when it suits them.

And our country should also ask some more searching questions. Should an institution which has engaged in vast cover-ups of child abuse (and which few UK citizens belong to) be our state church? Should it have clerics in the legislature? Should it run a quarter of England's publicly-funded schools? Should it lead our national ceremonies?

If you think these questions need asking, please consider supporting us. Thank you.


News & Opinion


C of E’s “industrial-scale whitewash” of sexual abuse exposed

The C of E covered up sexual abuse by vastly reducing the number of cases it deemed to require formal action, according to a BBC report.


NHS withdraws faith-based fasting advice after NSS request for review

NHS Choices has removed advice which drew heavily on Islamic theology from its website and will consider replacing it.


NSS: Irish referendum should prompt “celebration of free speech”

The NSS has said Ireland's upcoming referendum on blasphemy should "prompt a debate about celebrating free speech as a positive value".


It’s worth knowing why more Muslims are leaving faith behind

A new book reveals a substantive movement of people choosing to leave Islam. Fiyaz Mughal, its co-editor, reflects on the... Read More »


Activists resist expansion of religious education in Turkey

A movement to resist the expansion of religious education in Turkey is coordinating activists from 20 cities around the country.


The British people deserve better than the fawning over Michael Curry

As a poll shows public ambivalence to a much-hyped sermon at the royal wedding, Chris Sloggett says the fuss around Michael... Read More »


Latest from the No More Faith Schools campaign


Report highlights scale of discrimination against non-religious in school admissions

Four in ten state faith secondary schools in England discriminate against children from non-religious families, including 60% of Catholic schools, according to a new report.


How to teach in a Catholic state school in Scotland

As the Scottish government prepares for a major increase in funding for a Catholic teaching programme, Alastair Lichten explains how the Catholic Church dominates recruitment in 'its' schools in Scotland.


Other news

The prime minister has told Shrewsbury's MP of plans for a grant to support new voluntary aided schools, which are not subject to the 50% cap on faith-based admissions.

Theresa May has also described a parliamentary event run by a Christian group as "an excellent opportunity both to celebrate Christians' ongoing contribution to this country and to reflect on the role Christianity can play in contemporary public life". At the same event, the speaker of the House of Commons praised politicians and church leaders, saying they have played a role in protecting freedom of religion.

The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry has been extended to ensure more survivors' voices are heard.

Councillors are resisting a request for prayers to be said in the chamber prior to Barry Town Council meetings in south Wales.

The UK's first Christian law charity has been set up to provide official legal advice specifically for Christian organisations.

The acting archbishop of Adelaide has said the South Australian Catholic Church will not adhere to a change in law requiring priests to report confessions of child sexual abuse.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre has apologised and agreed to pay $3.375 million to Maajid Nawaz's Quilliam Foundation after admitting to falsely labelling his advocacy organization as "extremist".

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Quotes of the week

"Something else that makes a mockery of the system is the fact that we still have clerics legislating – the 26 bishops, or lords spiritual. The only other country that has clerics who legislate is Iran. I shall let it sink in that we are part of that."
David Linden MP during a debate on the status of the House of Lords


"By removing this provision from our constitution, we can send a strong message to the world that laws against blasphemy do not reflect Irish values and that we do not believe such laws should exist."
Charlie Flanagan, Ireland's Minister for Justice and Equality

See our quotes of the week archive...


NMFS petition comment of the week

"The best we can do for our children is to teach them to think for themselves, not tell them what to think."
Christine, No More Faith Schools supporter

Tell us why you're saying No More Faith Schools by signing the petition.


Essays of the week

Iranian women fight for their right to be football fans at the World Cup
By David Cox, for Vice

A group of nine fans have travelled to the World Cup to protest against the rules banning women from stadiums back home during each of Iran's matches.


Australian schools don't need chaplains, they need qualified counsellors
By David Zyngier, for The Guardian

Australia should either remake school chaplaincy as a proper welfare programme or scrap it.


Trump is creating his American caliphate, and democracy has no defence
By Nesrine Malik, for The Guardian

If there was a dictator's playbook, Donald Trump's administration would now be on the 'Instrumentalise Religion' chapter.


Read elsewhere


Northern Ireland’s abortion ban is likely to worsen its mental health crisis

By Karen Galway and Sharon Mallon, for The Conversation

Research suggests we should be concerned about the impact of NI's abortion ban on women's mental health.


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