The latest British Social Attitudes survey has revealed that only 12% of Britons are affiliated to the Church of England. The C of E's privileged position in
public life has always been unjustifiable – and this is just the latest study which suggests it's increasingly unsustainable.
We're calling for a rethink of religion's relationship in the UK's public life. The Church of England should be disestablished. The automatic right of 26 Anglican bishops to sit in the House of Lords should
be rescinded. State funding for faith schools should
end. And the deference to religion which characterises
much of our public policy and public discourse should be challenged.
We're working towards a secular, fairer society – and if you think this sounds worthwhile, please consider joining or donating to us today. Thank you for your support.
Ofsted penalises schools that refuse to teach about LGBT people, but seems to ignore other schools that teach same-sex relationships are morally wrong. Megan
Manson says this double standard needs to end.
The press regulator is consulting on guidelines which will inform the way stories about Islam and Muslims are reported. It must not endorse taboos which shut
down debate and harm social cohesion, says Chris Sloggett.
It's high time for parents to demand an end to religious groups' control of children's education, says Simon from West Yorkshire.
LGBT-inclusive education latest
Anti-LGBT protests have re-started at the gates of Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, despite the fact the school has modified its 'No
Outsiders' programme, so it's now 'No Outsiders for a faith community'.
Meanwhile Muslim parents in east London have urged a school not
to "encourage" gay relationships.
And over 50 MPs have written to the
education secretary, urging the
government to give stronger backing to schools on teaching about same-sex relationships.
IICSA inquiry latest
Abuse survivor Matthew Ineson has told the
Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse that his disclosures about being sexually abused as a teenager were ignored by senior Church of England clerics.
He has described the archbishops of Canterbury and York as "not fit for office".
He has also said he had
never received an apology letter which Justin Welby said he had sent him and Welby had never apologised to him in person, despite his claim to the contrary.
The NSS has welcomed moves from MPs to
liberalise Northern Ireland's abortion laws and extend
same-sex marriage rights to NI.
A doctor has taken the government to court, claiming he
was sacked because his Christian beliefs stopped him addressing transgender claimants by the pronouns they prefer. The NSS has said professional expectations must apply equally regardless of religion.
A change in the Church of England's rules will mean the prime minister no longer influences
the choice of bishops and archbishops. The NSS has said
politicians shouldn't choose religious leaders - and by the same logic the ties between church & state should be cut.
The Royal College of GPs has said GP practices can hire chaplains
to provide 'religious support' for patients. The NSS has questioned whether this is this a sensible use of resources and said any publicly-funded
pastoral support for patients must be provided in a secular context.
You cannot adjudicate on the row over teaching about gay relationships on the basis of weighing individuals' feelings of hurt or offence. You must make a judgement
about who is right.
Quotes of the week
"If a community or a group of people do genuinely have their belief that I am perverted and that I am going to hell, eternal damnation, I can live with that.
That's fine but go and think about it on your own turf. You do that in your churches. You do that in your mosques. You do that wherever you want. Don't you dare
do that anywhere near a place of education." Mhairi Black MP on
religious groups' views on gay people
"Keeping the government free from religion does not stifle religious freedom. Quite the opposite — religious freedom is stifled when the government takes sides
on religious issues." Ryan Jayne of the US-based Freedom From Religion Foundation
NSS speaks out
We were widely cited in response to the British Social Attitudes Survey's findings that affiliation to the Church of England has rapidly declined. Our CEO
Stephen Evans discussed the survey on Sky News, LBC, talkRADIO and BBC Three Counties Radio (listen from 1:21). He was also quoted in outlets including ITV News and the
Express. His appearance on LBC was given a favourable write-up by The
Freethinker on Patheos.
Our spokesperson Chris Sloggett discussed the same topic on talkRADIO (listen from 8:51am).
Stephen also commented on the Scottish government's spending on private divinity students in The
Our education and schools officer Alastair Lichten was quoted in the Rotherham Advertiser in a follow-up piece on a vicar who stepped down from his role as a school governor over an anti-LGBT
Our interest in the case of a man sacked from his job at Asda for sharing a comic sketch mocking religion was mentioned extensively on Patheos.
Our recent report on religious charities was the subject of a favourable letter from Neil Barber of Edinburgh Secular Society in The National (scroll
Petition comment of the week: disestablish the Church of England
"A single branch of a religion should not have any influence over the government of such a diverse society. Religion is a personal thing and rules and
regulations should be based on logic, not beliefs." Neil, West Yorkshire
A free exhibition exploring the political and social background to the Peterloo massacre and parliament's reaction to it has opened at the Parliamentary
Archives. Find out more on
the parliament.uk website. You can also read more about the close links between the campaign for church-state separation and the democrats of Peterloo in
this blog from
our council member Bob Forder.
A report commissioned by the Foreign Office has called for a definition of anti-Christian discrimination. In this piece written after the Sri Lanka attacks
in April, Stephen Evans said there should be no hierarchy of importance when it comes to protecting people from persecution.
Twenty-two members of the UN Human Rights Council have condemned China's mass detention of Uighur Muslims. In this blog from 2018 Stephen Evans said the
intensifying religious persecution in the repressive state must be condemned.
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