NSS Opinion

Relativism is undermining liberalism from within

Relativism is undermining liberalism from within

Posted: Mon, 17 Dec 2018 by Terri Murray

In her book Identity, Islam and the Twilight of Liberal Values, Terri Murray explores attacks on liberalism from the left and right – and the failure to defend it. Here she explains what motivated her to write the book. Read More »

Tags: Cultural relativism, Islam

Students should be free to excuse themselves from worship

Students should be free to excuse themselves from worship

Posted: Fri, 14 Dec 2018 by Stephen Evans

After two students pushed the Welsh government for a response to a petition to remove schools' obligation to hold acts of worship, Stephen Evans says pupils should be free to opt out of religious practices in schools. Read More »

Tags: Collective worship, Education

My children’s school has become Christian by default

My children’s school has become Christian by default

Posted: Fri, 14 Dec 2018 by Lee Harris

Lee Harris didn't choose a faith school for his children. But when he challenged evangelism at his local school, he learnt that community school status doesn't necessarily prevent religion from being imposed on children. Read More »

Tags: Education, Academisation, Collective worship

Unravelling the choice delusion

Unravelling the choice delusion

Posted: Mon, 10 Dec 2018 by Alastair Lichten

We often hear that faith schools improve choice. But an NSS report shows that this narrative mischaracterises the challenges facing families and public education's role in a diverse society, says Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, admissions

The gatekeepers of public debate can’t patronise away anti-Muslim bigotry

The gatekeepers of public debate can’t patronise away anti-Muslim bigotry

Posted: Wed, 28 Nov 2018 by Chris Sloggett

A parliamentary group's proposal that the government define 'Islamophobia' is a misguided power grab, says Chris Sloggett. If we want to end anti-Muslim bigotry, we should stop telling people what to think about Islam. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Peterloo’s heroes represented the finest traditions of secular democracy

Peterloo’s heroes represented the finest traditions of secular democracy

Posted: Fri, 23 Nov 2018 by Bob Forder

The film Peterloo is a reminder of the close links between the campaign for church-state separation and the push for a truly democratic society in the 19th century and beyond, writes Bob Forder.

Mike Leigh's keenly anticipated, ambitious and long film, Peterloo... Read More »

Tags: History, Secularism, Democracy

Genital cutting and the laws of unintended consequences

Genital cutting and the laws of unintended consequences

Posted: Thu, 22 Nov 2018 by Dr Antony Lempert

This week's developments on ritual genital cutting in the US and Denmark highlight the need to adopt a consistent application of human rights principles for everybody, regardless of gender, argues Dr Antony Lempert.

International legal conventions and agreements... Read More »

Tags: FGM, circumcision, Children's rights and welfare

How secularism protects people who have religious faith

How secularism protects people who have religious faith

Posted: Wed, 14 Nov 2018 by Megan Manson

For Interfaith Week 2018, campaigns officer Megan Manson explains how the National Secular Society's work protects those who are religious as well as those who are not.

One of the most common misconceptions about the National Secular Society is that we are... Read More »

Tags: Secularism, Conversion therapy, Caste, One law for all, Freedom of Expression, Child Abuse, Circumcision, FGM

Time to end criminality and cover-up in the Catholic Church

Time to end criminality and cover-up in the Catholic Church

Posted: Mon, 12 Nov 2018 by Richard Scorer

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has turned its attention to abuse in the Catholic Church's archdiocese of Birmingham. Richard Scorer delivered the following opening statement on behalf of several victims.

I represent 29 victims of sexual abuse... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church

Review: The Children Act

Review: The Children Act

Posted: Thu, 08 Nov 2018 by Emma Park

Emma Park says Ian McEwan's book and the film it has inspired prompt the questions of what the state should do when a young person's religion conflicts with their welfare, and how this affects religious freedom.

This review contains spoilers.

Does the state... Read More »

Tags: Religious freedom, Children's rights & welfare, Reviews, Jehovah's Witnesses

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

Posted: Fri, 26 Oct 2018 by Stephen Evans

Just as Irish citizens strike a blow for the right to freedom of expression, the European Court has fundamentally undermined it, argues Stephen Evans.

Irish voters decided this week to remove the 'crime' of blasphemy from its constitution. The majority of citizens,... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Blasphemy, Islam

We must resist both religious hatred and its weaponisation

We must resist both religious hatred and its weaponisation

Posted: Thu, 18 Oct 2018 by Alastair Lichten

After a sharp rise in reported crimes in which religious hatred was a factor, Alastair Lichten says liberal democracies should challenge hatred and bigotry while resisting attempts to silence ideas.

According to new figures from the Home Office there were 94,098... Read More »

Tags: Hate crime, Anti-Muslim bigotry, Anti-Semitism, Ex-Muslim, Freedom of Expression

Why are harmful charities registered at all?

Why are harmful charities registered at all?

Posted: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 by Megan Manson

The revelation that Amazon funds extremist religious charities is the tip of the iceberg. Our charity system has deep problems, in part stemming from the presumption that religion is a public good, says Megan Manson.

On paper, it's hard to find fault with Amazon... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Extremism

The questionable ethics of evangelical debt advice

The questionable ethics of evangelical debt advice

Posted: Fri, 05 Oct 2018 by Stephen Evans

The good deeds of faith-based organisations shouldn't lead us to turn a blind eye to their more ethically dubious practices, argues Stephen Evans.

Personal debt in the UK has reached epic proportions. Millions of households are living beyond their means with... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Christianity, Public services

Don’t let mixed-sex civil partnerships distract from the need for marriage reform

Don’t let mixed-sex civil partnerships distract from the need for marriage reform

Posted: Wed, 03 Oct 2018 by Chris Sloggett

Campaigners' elation at the arrival of opposite-sex civil partnerships is understandable, says Chris Sloggett. But beware politicians using it to excuse their failure to loosen the Church of England's grip on marriage.

It's hard to begrudge Rebecca Steinfeld... Read More »

Tags: Marriage, Marriage Equality

Genital cutting: the search for ‘health benefits’ is disingenuous and inconsistent

Genital cutting: the search for ‘health benefits’ is disingenuous and inconsistent

Posted: Thu, 27 Sep 2018 by Brian D. Earp

The principle of bodily autonomy is enough reason to end genital cutting, says Brian D. Earp. Allowing 'health benefits' to dictate its acceptability risks legitimising inconsistent, pseudo-scientific justifications.

This article was originally published by... Read More »

Tags: Healthcare, Circumcision, FGM

Stop reflexively saying yes to religious groups

Stop reflexively saying yes to religious groups

Posted: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 by Chris Sloggett

As councils in north London, police in West Yorkshire and politicians in Westminster pander to religious groups' demands, Chris Sloggett says public bodies should stop taking the line of least resistance.

When you're up against someone who wants something,... Read More »

Tags: Public Services, Community Cohesion

China's religious persecution is a secularist issue

China's religious persecution is a secularist issue

Posted: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 by Stephen Evans

China may be the most godless country in the world, but it is far from being a secular one. Stephen Evans says the intensifying religious persecution in the repressive state must be condemned.

China is by far the most godless country in the world. According... Read More »

Tags: Religious freedom, Freedom of Religion, China, Secularism

Why we must reclaim religious freedom

Why we must reclaim religious freedom

Posted: Wed, 12 Sep 2018 by National Secular Society

There is an urgent case for resisting those who claim the mantle of 'religious freedom' without regard for others' rights and freedoms. Here's why our Secularism 2019 conference will be held under the tagline 'reclaiming religious freedom'.

"Everyone has the... Read More »

Tags: Secularism 2019, Religious freedom, Freedom from Religion, Freedom of Expression, Healthcare, LGBTQ rights

The Catholic Church’s record on abuse demands accountability, not more meaningless apologies

The Catholic Church’s record on abuse demands accountability, not more meaningless apologies

Posted: Fri, 24 Aug 2018 by Keith Porteous Wood

As the pope prepares to visit Ireland, NSS president Keith Porteous Wood says the international community must confront the Vatican over its shameful record on child abuse and demand action to bring secular justice.

Forty years ago, mass attendance per capita... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church

Religious power and privilege failed the victims in the Peter Ball affair

Religious power and privilege failed the victims in the Peter Ball affair

Posted: Sat, 11 Aug 2018 by Keith Porteous Wood

In this long read NSS president Keith Porteous Wood explains how all arms of the law co-operated to protect the now former bishop Peter Ball for decades and refutes claims that "it couldn't happen now".

Peter Ball started misusing his religious power to sexually... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Church of England, Church & State

Child protection must come before the reputation of institutions like Ampleforth and Downside

Child protection must come before the reputation of institutions like Ampleforth and Downside

Posted: Thu, 09 Aug 2018 by Richard Scorer

Richard Scorer says a damning report on two leading Catholic schools' approach to safeguarding is a reminder of the need for a law mandating the reporting of suspected child abuse to the secular authorities.

At the end of 2017 the Independent Inquiry into Child... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Do burka bans do more harm than good?

Do burka bans do more harm than good?

Posted: Thu, 02 Aug 2018 by Stephen Evans

As Denmark's ban on face coverings in public comes into force, Stephen Evans says standing up for fundamental rights and freedoms is the best way to push back against the oppression the burka represents.

Denmark became the latest country to "ban the burka"... Read More »

Tags: Burka/veil, Islam

Universities must commit to free expression – and they should stop hiring religious chaplains

Universities must commit to free expression – and they should stop hiring religious chaplains

Posted: Thu, 02 Aug 2018 by Chris Sloggett

A chaplain should not have been sacked for criticising Pride off campus, says Chris Sloggett. But universities can strike a blow for free speech and critical enquiry if they stop appointing religious representatives.

It is both impossible and undesirable to... Read More »

Tags: Universities, Chaplaincy, Freedom of Expression

Anglicanism's 'purple circle' of bishops cannot be trusted over child abuse

Anglicanism's 'purple circle' of bishops cannot be trusted over child abuse

Posted: Sat, 28 Jul 2018 by Keith Porteous Wood

NSS president Keith Porteous Wood reflects on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse's hearings into the case of the abusive bishop Peter Ball.

Under the guise of schemes with names such as "Give a Year to God", former Church of England bishop Peter... Read More »

Tags: Church of England, Child Abuse

Subscribe to RSS Feed Help for RSS Feeds