We have a series of exciting events around the country coming up this autumn. Next month we'll be hosting our annual Bradlaugh Lecture in Manchester, where Gita Sahgal will discuss the growing threat of
Hindu nationalism. Tickets are just £10,
or £5 for members.
The following day our historian Bob Forder will talk about
our longest-serving president, Chapman Cohen, in Leicester. And in October we're hosting our Healthcare & Secularism conference in Birmingham, which will look at issues including circumcision, LGBT 'conversion
therapy' and reproductive rights.
Our main content this week focuses on: a shocking ruling on a Jewish state school's policy on how its pupils' families should live; a devastating report on child
abuse in Catholic schools; and an attempt to introduce prayers at a council in south Wales.
But we're acutely aware that supporters may be trying to navigate the very prominent media stories over both burkas and anti-semitism which have been in the press
this week. We realise secularists will have varying political affiliations and a range of views on these particular rows.
In our view the response should always be guided by two important principles. Defending free expression means standing for the right to offend and to use imperfect
language. We are acutely aware of, and must resist, religious groups' attempts to cry bigotry to shut people up. But with free expression comes the responsibility
to challenge genuine bigotry. Criticism of religion, religious groups and religious practices is a vital part of a liberal society, but so is criticism of those
who show an unhealthy interest in lambasting particular groups of people.
This tricky balance is best struck by standing for human rights and the common citizenship of everyone in our society. And that is what we plan to do. If you think
that's worthwhile, please consider showing us your support. Thank you.