Tomorrow we're hosting our
AGM at Conway Hall in central London, for attendance by our members only. Registration opens at 1pm and the meeting begins at 1:30.
Before the AGM our council member Bob Forder will also deliver a talk on the life and legacy of the 19th century secularist Richard Carlile. Non-members are welcome to attend the talk. We
look forward to seeing as many people as possible tomorrow.
With the election just 13 days away, this week our campaigns officer Megan Manson has delved into the major UK-wide parties' manifestos to study their positions on
secularist issues. As her long read below outlines, there are occasional encouraging signs and policies but unfortunately no party is consistently committed to
secularism as a principle. In an age of identity politics, religion looks set to continue being a source of division.
This once again demonstrates the urgency of our work. If you're not a member, please join
us and add your voice to our call for an end to religious privilege. Thank you.
This week, Emma Park is joined by Stephen Evans and Chris Sloggett for a general election special.
The NSS recently outlined 11 secularist policies it would like to see under the next government. But which of these are on the parties' agendas? Will any of
them make it onto the statute book any time soon? And is religion stifling political debate? Join Stephen, Chris and Emma for comment and analysis.
Religious opposition to proposals to decriminalise abortion
A religious backlash has been growing after Labour and the Liberal Democrats made proposals to decriminalise abortion in their election manifestos.
Dozens of clergy and lay members of the Church of England have signed an open letter calling on C of E bishops to oppose the idea. The NSS has said the letter is a reminder that bishops shouldn't sit in the Lords by right.
Meanwhile the Council of Bishops of The Society, which promotes Catholic teaching within the C of E, has pledged to oppose attempts to further
liberalise abortion. And 80 candidates to become MPs have signed a pledge proposed by anti-choice
campaigners which partly aims to lower the upper time limit for abortions.
An evangelical Church schools' network – the OneSchool Global network, which was established by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church – plans to open a
voluntary grammar school in Northern Ireland. The NSS will oppose
A debate has taken place on Catholic schools in the Scottish parliament – with every single contributor praising denominational schooling. The NSS has
described this as an effort to silence and marginalise legitimate
Two parents have been found guilty of allowing their daughter to undergo
female genital mutilation in Ireland, while a boy has had the tip of his penis cut off during a cultural circumcision in Canada.
Our No More Faith Schools campaign coordinator Alastair Lichten discussed our opposition to plans to open a new discriminatory Catholic school in Peterborough on
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
Our communications officer Chris Sloggett discussed the archbishop of Canterbury's comments on the election campaign on BBC Radio Kent. Chris said Justin Welby
is free to speak out but his views should be judged on substance, and there should be no deference to him on the basis of his religious status.
NSS out and about
Alastair Lichten and our president Keith Porteous Wood ran a public meeting in Peterborough to discuss the plan to open a Catholic school there. Alastair also
addressed Cambridge Humanists on our No More Faith Schools campaign.
By Emma Graham-Harrison & Juliette Garside, for The Guardian
Documents confirm the largest mass incarceration of an ethnic-religious minority since second world war.
Quote of the week
"The protest against him is stupid and arbitrary. India is a democratic and secular country - the selection of a professor can't be based on religion or
caste." Rashmi Singh, student, on students' attempts to
prevent a Muslim from teaching Sanskrit in an Indian university
In your own words: why religious appointees on Scottish council education committees should go
"It's a disgrace that religion gets a free pass here. Totally undemocratic." Brian, South Lanarkshire
Sign one of our petitions to let us know why you support our campaigning. We aim to
feature some of the best comments in Newsline.
Support our work
Please support our work so we can make the case for a fairer secular democracy for all.