NSS Opinion

Front page Christmas edition Freethinker 1882

There is nothing new about cartoons which mock religion

Posted: Thu, 08 Apr 2021 by Bob Forder

Religious leaders have long feared irreverent drawings that could challenge their authority. We should remember that amid the latest effort to prevent the use of Muhammad cartoons, says Bob Forder. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, History

Children in class

If Scotland wants to uphold children’s rights, its schools need to change

Posted: Thu, 08 Apr 2021 by Megan Manson

After the Scottish parliament's decision to sign a charter for children's rights into law, Megan Manson says parties in the upcoming election should challenge religious groups' privileged influence over education policy. Read More »

Tags: Children's rights, Education, Scotland

Batley Grammar School protesters

Western liberals’ weakness on blasphemy is letting down Muslim dissenters

Posted: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

The hand-wringing in the face of a vicious campaign against a teacher sends a demoralising message to those fighting for free speech on religion globally and in British Muslim communities, says Kunwar Khuldune Shahid. Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression

Batley Grammar School

A lesson in blasphemy

Posted: Fri, 26 Mar 2021 by Stephen Evans

After a teacher was suspended for showing cartoons of Muhammad in class, NSS CEO Stephen Evans says we shouldn't accept a religious veto on critical enquiry in the classroom. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Abortion rights Northern Ireland

Women in NI should have the same abortion rights as other UK citizens

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 by Stephen Evans

Other people's religious beliefs shouldn't be allowed to continue to thwart women's access to safe and accessible abortion services in Northern Ireland, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Northern Ireland, Reproductive rights

Welsh Senedd

Ending compulsory worship in schools should be next on the agenda for Wales

Posted: Tue, 16 Mar 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Following major curriculum reforms in Wales, Alastair Lichten argues that the Senedd should now turn its attention to ending the collective worship requirement in schools. Read More »

Tags: Collective Worship, Education, Wales

Any serious counter-extremism strategy should consider religious charities

Any serious counter-extremism strategy should consider religious charities

Posted: Mon, 15 Mar 2021 by Megan Manson

As a commission calls for action to tackle hateful extremism, Megan Manson says changes in the charity sector – including legal reform – would be both helpful and compatible with fundamental liberal principles. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Extremism

School sign

Faith-based school admissions pave the way for sexist and unreasonable demands. It’s time to end them

Posted: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 by Megan Manson

An adjudicator's ruling has exposed the outrageous requirements a state-funded faith school places on pupils and their families. This shows the need to end faith-based discrimination in admissions, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Education, Faith Schools

Boy walking to school

Joint campuses are a cop out in efforts to tackle sectarianism

Posted: Wed, 03 Mar 2021 by Neil Barber

As the Scottish government confirms funding for a new joint campus between a non-denominational school and a Catholic one, Neil Barber says ministers should instead seek a unified, secular education system. Read More »

Tags: Education, Scotland, Sectarianism

Northern Ireland education review inclusion children at school

NI’s education review is a golden chance to take a stand for inclusion

Posted: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Alastair Lichten says a review of education provision in Northern Ireland must be willing to challenge entrenched religious interests to deliver on ambitions for a more efficient and inclusive system. Read More »

Tags: Education, Northern Ireland

Children at school faith schools

The evidence against faith schools is overwhelming

Posted: Tue, 23 Feb 2021 by Steven Kettell and Rebecca Vernon

A comprehensive new bank of academic research shows how shaky the main arguments for faith schools are, say its authors Steven Kettell and Rebecca Vernon. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Tuam Bon Secours mother and baby home mass grave

Ireland's mother and baby homes scandal shows the necessity of separating church and state

Posted: Fri, 05 Feb 2021 by Keith Porteous Wood

The misery which women and children faced for decades highlights the damage that can be done when states leave religious authority unchecked, says NSS president Keith Porteous Wood. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child abuse, Ireland, Women's rights

Tandav film

Religious censorship is about ownership

Posted: Tue, 02 Feb 2021 by Megan Manson

Theocratic demands for censorship in India and Pakistan reflect attempts to grab power which undermine everyone's religious freedom, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Hindu Nationalism, Islamism

Christian nationalism in US Capitol riot

Christian nationalism is a key part of Trump’s legacy

Posted: Thu, 21 Jan 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Alastair Lichten argues that understanding Christian nationalism is essential to understanding the presidency of Donald Trump and its consequences for the world. Read More »

Tags: Christian Right, Opinion Out Loud, USA

Children in class

Our school – and community – were severely disadvantaged by our C of E status

Posted: Wed, 20 Jan 2021 by John Mapperley

Former headteacher John Mapperley says the school he ran was given a vastly reduced range of options when considering academy status – and he believes the church puts its own interests above those of pupils. Read More »

Tags: Faith schools, academisation

Religious conversion

Religious conversion isn’t a charitable endeavour

Posted: Thu, 14 Jan 2021 by Megan Manson

Some registered charities exist primarily to convert members of one religion to another. Megan Manson says such activity is harmful to community cohesion – and shouldn't be treated as a valid charitable purpose. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Community Cohesion, Opinion Out Loud

Charlie Hebdo cartoon

"Being offended is the price we pay for living in a free society": NSS CEO talks to Charlie Hebdo

Posted: Thu, 14 Jan 2021 by Charlie Hebdo

NSS chief executive Stephen Evans was interviewed in a recent edition of Charlie Hebdo which marked six years since the attack on its staff. The interview is reproduced here in English. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Church open sign

The lockdown exemption for communal worship represents a dangerous double standard

Posted: Tue, 05 Jan 2021 by Stephen Evans

With the country again plunged into a strict lockdown, Stephen Evans questions the rationale behind and wisdom of an exemption for religious worship in England. Read More »

Tags: Coronavirus pandemic, Healthcare

Freedom of and from religion

All I want for Christmas is freedom of and from religion

Posted: Fri, 18 Dec 2020 by Stephen Evans

Opponents often erect a straw man of secularism to justify demands for religious privilege. But freedom of religion must come with freedom from religion, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Christmas, Freedom from Religion, Religious freedom

Understanding Christianity and the study of religion and worldviews

RE shouldn’t be a vehicle for the Church of England’s interests

Posted: Thu, 17 Dec 2020 by Chris Selway

A new study of a widely-used set of RE resources illustrates the way powerful groups control the subject to accommodate the evangelical mission of the Church of England, says Chris Selway. Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Janet Daby MP

Religion is not a justification for discrimination

Posted: Tue, 08 Dec 2020 by Stephen Evans

A shadow minister was wrong to say religious registrars should be able to opt out of providing same-sex marriages. And her comments are a reminder that we don't need a ministerial office for faith, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Equality & Human Rights

Girl walking away from school

Allowing religious discrimination in school admissions opens the door to other forms of discrimination

Posted: Thu, 03 Dec 2020 by Megan Manson

A state-funded faith school recently rejected a child because her mother isn't Jewish. This shows the absurdity of religious discrimination in admissions, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Discrimination, Faith Schools

Blood transfusion

The state mustn’t allow children to die for their stated religious beliefs

Posted: Thu, 26 Nov 2020 by Dr Antony Lempert

As the High Court considers whether to let a girl from a Jehovah's Witness community refuse blood transfusions, Dr Antony Lempert says the precedent of overriding a child's refusal of lifesaving treatment should be upheld. Read More »

Tags: Children's rights & welfare, Healthcare, Jehovah's Witnesses, Law

Poland women's strike abortion protests

The Catholic Church’s control over abortion policy has sparked a furious backlash in Poland

Posted: Thu, 12 Nov 2020 by Aleksandra Myslek

A ruling on abortion in Poland has again highlighted the government's damagingly close relationship with the Catholic Church. But many Poles are now questioning the church's power, says Aleksandra Myslek. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Europe, Healthcare, Opinion Out Loud, Reproductive Rights

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