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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege


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Newsline 9 August 2019


Laws which require schools to hold acts of worship are archaic, widely flouted, unsupported by the public and unjustifiable. We're continuing to make the case for abolishing them, and we're asking for your help as we do so. You can write to your MP today using our template letter, and help to get this issue on the political agenda.

And although schools have been on holiday, we also have updates from our No More Faith Schools campaign this week. If you'd like to help us to make the case for rolling back religious groups' control of education, please consider getting involved in the campaign. Thank you for your support.


News & Opinion


The government must respond to pressure to end compulsory school worship

As opposition to compulsory worship gathers and its defenders grow increasingly out of touch, Alastair Lichten says ministers should reconsider the law and its implementation.


Jewish school considers split to avoid treating children equally

A Jewish school which unlawfully segregated pupils could split into three schools so it can continue to avoid treating children equally.


Parent’s perspective: Why should my children have religion imposed on them at a Catholic school?

I'm worried my children's freedom to make their own choices on religion will be undermined at a local Catholic college, says... Read More »


From the archive


Never mind joining SACREs – we should be abolishing them

A London council is to allow a Humanist representative to sit on the body which decides its RE curriculum. In 2017 Keith Sharpe made the case for ending local determination of the way religion and belief are taught.


Help us end compulsory worship

We want to see the law that requires schools to hold acts of worship abolished. You can use our template letter to write to your MP and help us make the case.


Other news

The Church of England has launched a £12m drive to attract new people to church through sporting activities. The NSS has said this should be a reminder that it has money to spend on mission when it asks for money for building repairs.

The NSS has criticised calls for schools in Lincolnshire to encourage girls to wear hijabs for a day.

A Mauritanian blogger released last week after more than five years in jail on blasphemy charges has said he only "saw the sun six times" during his incarceration, according to Amnesty International. The NSS campaigns for the repeal of blasphemy laws everywhere they exist.


Bradlaugh Lecture 2019: tickets on sale

There is now less than a month to go until our 2019 Bradlaugh Lecture in Manchester. Andrew Moffat will address the subject 'No Outsiders: reclaiming radical ideas in schools' on Saturday 7 September. Tickets are on sale now.


NSS speaks out

Our opposition to council prayers in Flintshire was covered extensively in The Leader and, with our CEO Stephen Evans quoted.

Our head of education Alastair Lichten discussed public opposition to collective worship on talkRADIO.

Stephen Evans's criticism of the Church of England's defence of collective worship was also mentioned in The Freethinker on Patheos.


Essay of the week

Orthodox Jewish protests against LGBT-inclusive education will only cause more pain
By Daniel Sugarman, for The Jewish Chronicle

Anti-LGBT protests from Orthodox Jews will only make already hidden LGBT people feel more helpless.


Quote of the week

"A devastating blow for the right to freedom of expression."
Lynn Maalouf, of Amnesty International, on the cancellation of a concert in Lebanon after pressure from church leaders and death threats from Facebook users claiming to be "God's soldiers"


In your own words: end compulsory worship in schools

"Schools should be places of learning, not indoctrination."
John, Derbyshire


"Children have a right to attend school and be part of whole school celebrations without being coerced into participating in any form of religious doctrine. A school should be an inclusive community."
Carol, Norfolk

Sign the petition and explain why collective worship in schools should end.

Or sign one of our other petitions to highlight a secularist cause you care about.


NSS scholarship

The NSS scholarship supports research which:
- makes a significant contribution to the evidence base of one of our existing campaigns; and
- has the ability to improve understanding of secularism among both academics and the wider public.

The latest round of applications for funding close on 1 September. Find out more and apply on our research & scholarships page.


Read elsewhere


The nuns who bought and sold human beings

By Rachel Swarns, for The New York Times

America's nuns are beginning to confront their ties to slavery, but it's still a long road to repentance.


Dying the Christian Science way: the horror of my father’s last days

By Caroline Fraser, for The Guardian

The anti-medical dogma of Christian Science led my father to an agonising death. Now the church itself is in decline – and it can't happen fast enough.


Support our work

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


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