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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege


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Newsline 4 May 2018


The government seems to realise that learning about sex and relationships is a vital part of growing up. Last year it legislated to ensure all schools teach Relationships and Sex Education. But it's also added an important caveat: it will continue to allow faith schools to teach the subject "in accordance with the tenets of the faith". This makes its stance alarmingly incoherent.

And our Unsafe Sex Education report, published this week, shows the harm it can do. More than three-quarters of faith schools with an SRE policy are teaching the subject in line with religious scripture. In many cases that means they are promoting guilt and condemning homosexual sex, sex outside marriage, contraception, abortion and masturbation. In some cases they are even promoting taboos around menstruation.

It was only possible to produce this report thanks to the donations of our members and supporters. If you value our work, please consider supporting us today. Thank you.


News & Opinion


Most faith schools distorting sex education, NSS study finds

More than three-quarters of state-funded secondary faith schools in England are failing to teach Sex and Relationships Education... Read More »


Court rules against coroner’s ‘cab rank’ policy

The NSS has said religion must not "automatically entitle people to expedited access to public services" after a coroner's court defeat.


We’ll all suffer if we let religion dictate how public servants do their jobs

Politicians have hung a coroner who stood up to religious groups out to dry, says Chris Sloggett. And they've revealed how... Read More »


Church forces school to close rather than join secular academy trust

A school in Surrey is to close after the local Church of England diocese refused to allow it to join a secular multi-academy trust.


Christian groups coordinating anti-rights campaigns across Europe

An effort by Christian groups to restrict LGBT+ and women's rights across Europe has already had some success, a report has revealed.


NSS criticises Surrey Police for ‘engaging in evangelism’

The NSS has criticised Surrey Police after it accepted 1,000 branded bibles for distribution amongst officers and staff.


Other news

A bill to liberalise abortion laws in the Isle of Man has been overwhelmingly approved by the House of Keys (the lower house of its legislature). If the Legislative Council (the upper chamber) passes it, the bill will become law.

This week the Supreme Court convened in Belfast to hear an appeal in the case of Ashers bakery, which refused to bake a pro-gay marriage cake. There will now be up to eight months' wait before the judgment is delivered.

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Read elsewhere


Should Pagans demand privileges or equal rights for all?

By Megan Manson, for Patheos

Two recent news stories have shown Pagans jumping on the religious privilege bandwagon.


Visit our No More Faith Schools site

No More Faith Schools is a national campaign dedicated to bringing about an end to state funded faith schools. Visit the site and see how you can show your support.


Quotes of the week

"Unacceptable," "against the natural order," "objectively disordered," "morally wrong"
Catholic schools describe same-sex relationships, attraction or sex in their SRE policies

"When I wear robes, I have no religion."
Deepika Rajawat, lawyer in a religiously-charged rape and murder case in India, responds to criticism and threats she's faced for taking the case on

See our quotes of the week archive...


Essays of the week

The battle over Alfie Evans should be a lesson for us all
By Kathy Sheridan, for The Irish Times

Religious groups' exploitation of the Alfie Evans case should serve as a warning ahead of Ireland's abortion referendum.

Onward, Christian soldiers: Right-wing religious nationalists' dramatic new power play in the US
By Paul Rosenberg, for Salon

A covert campaign is attempting to re-create a Christian America that never existed.


NSS speaks out

Our Unsafe Sex Education report was widely covered in the education and LGBT press. It was featured in Tes, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Dutch publication Holebi.

Our vice-president Terry Sanderson discussed the Ashers bakery case extensively on BBC Talkback (he is introduced after nine and a half minutes).

Our communications officer Chris Sloggett responded to the ruling against coroner Mary Hassell on BBC London News.

Our No More Faith Schools campaign was featured in The Freethinker.

The Law & Religion UK blog responded to one of our blogs, by campaigns officer Megan Manson, by comparing Scottish and English law on religious issues.


Support our work

Please support our work so we can make the case for a fairer secular democracy for all.


Event coming up this week


Chiltern Humanists meeting

Date: Tuesday 8 May 2018

Time: 8:00pm

Venue: Small Barn Hall, Amersham Community Centre, Chiltern Avenue, Amersham HP6 5AH

Jason Stretch, a musician and new member of Chiltern Humanists, will describe how... Read More »


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