NSS Opinion

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, Reproductive Rights

School sign

Why was the Church of England allowed to influence the direction of our local secular schools?

Posted: Mon, 09 Nov 2020 by Chris Leng

The church was given a key role on the board of our local multi-academy trust – even though there were no faith schools in it. Chris Leng questions the assumptions which lay behind this arrangement. Read More »

Tags: Academisation

France flag burning

The onus should be on theocrats, not liberal democracies, to change

Posted: Wed, 04 Nov 2020 by Chris Sloggett

Liberal equivocation on whether to stand up to jihadist murder and Islamist intimidation is morally wrong, misguided and counter-productive, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam, Islamism, Terrorism

Church and state should be separate

Church and state should be separate

Posted: Tue, 03 Nov 2020 by Stephen Evans

Ahead of the NSS's 2020 Bradlaugh Lecture on the subject, Stephen Evans says the disestablishment of the Church of England is right in principle and could benefit church and state alike. Read More »

Tags: Church and State, Disestablishment

Pope Francis

Human rights should not be at the mercy of the pope’s pontifications

Posted: Wed, 28 Oct 2020 by Megan Manson

Amid widespread interest in the pope's views on same-sex civil unions, Megan Manson says states shouldn't allow themselves to be used to further the Catholic Church's agendas. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Catholic Church, Human rights, LGBT Rights, Reproductive Rights

Assisted dying

The BMA’s opportunity to rethink its position on assisted dying

Posted: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 by Dr Antony Lempert

The British Medical Association's opposition to assisted dying is at odds with its members' views. There's now a chance for the BMA and parliamentarians to stand up to religious obstructionism, says Dr Antony Lempert. Read More »

Tags: Assisted dying, Healthcare

Bishops' bench

The Church of England’s culture of entitlement has to end

Posted: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 by Richard Scorer

The furore over John Sentamu not being handed a life peerage reveals an ugly culture of entitlement that has not served church or state well, argues Richard Scorer. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England

Samuel Paty

Brutally murdered for doing his job

Posted: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 by National Secular Society

The beheading of Samuel Paty, a teacher in France targeted for showing Charlie Hebdo cartoons to his students, was an appalling attack on critical enquiry. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Society

Those providing public services – including religious groups – should respect reasonable boundaries

Posted: Thu, 08 Oct 2020 by Stephen Evans

Following a call for a greater role for religion in public services, Stephen Evans argues that any expansion of faith-based provision mustn't see equality and fair treatment relegated to secondary or dispensable matters. Read More »

Tags: Public Services

Lynne Featherstone

It’s time to tackle loopholes in equality law which privilege religion

Posted: Thu, 01 Oct 2020 by Lynne Featherstone

On the 10th anniversary of the Equality Act coming into force, Lynne Featherstone says reforms proposed by the NSS on education, caste discrimination and employment would make Britain fairer and more cohesive. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

Religious fundamentalists can’t be trusted with child protection

Religious fundamentalists can’t be trusted with child protection

Posted: Mon, 28 Sep 2020 by Richard Scorer

The extraordinary antics of Jehovah's Witnesses at the public inquiry on child sexual abuse show why independent oversight of religious organisations is needed to protect children from abuse, says Richard Scorer. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse

Jehovah's Witnesses Hall

NHS trusts’ cosy relationships with Jehovah’s Witness leaders could have tragic consequences

Posted: Thu, 24 Sep 2020 by Lloyd Evans

Committees of Jehovah's Witnesses who encourage patients to refuse treatments involving blood are seeking influence in hospitals – and many NHS trusts are holding the door open for them, writes Lloyd Evans. Read More »

Tags: Healthcare

Public debate

The Scottish hate crime bill is a threat to free and open debate

Posted: Mon, 21 Sep 2020 by Stephen Evans

As ministers consider changing Scotland's hate crime bill to address free expression concerns, Stephen Evans says their insistence to date that the bill won't undermine legitimate debate has been unconvincing. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Scotland

Charlie Hebdo front page 2020

The continued effort to silence Charlie Hebdo is shameful

Posted: Fri, 18 Sep 2020 by Chris Sloggett

It is outrageous to try to force this small magazine to give the 2015 killers what they wanted, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Apostasy Day

The world has abandoned freethinkers of Muslim heritage

Posted: Fri, 04 Sep 2020 by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

The first Apostasy Day has highlighted the human rights abuses facing many who leave Islam. To stand up for them we must ensure the religion isn't given special protection, says Kunwar Khuldune Shahid. Read More »

Tags: Freedom from Religion, Islam

Islamic marriage

Problems around Islamic marriage require a secular solution

Posted: Fri, 28 Aug 2020 by Megan Manson

A new report says compulsory registration for Islamic marriages is needed to tackle discrimination and abuse. Megan Manson argues broad reform to marriage laws is a better way to ensure fairness and equality for all. Read More »

Tags: Marriage

Lord Lester

Anthony Lester’s legacy for human rights and secularism

Posted: Thu, 27 Aug 2020 by Keith Porteous Wood

Keith Porteous Wood reflects on the achievements of Lord Lester, who died earlier this month, and the enduring relevance of his work. Read More »

Tags: Human rights, Secularism

Children at school

Our schools should promote social cohesion – so educate children together

Posted: Tue, 11 Aug 2020 by Megan Manson

As research shows social integration is key to fostering positive attitudes toward people of different religions and beliefs, Megan Manson says we should challenge the segregation and division inherent to faith schools. Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Education, Faith Schools

George Holyoake

It's not too late to fulfil George Holyoake's secularist vision

Posted: Thu, 30 Jul 2020 by Ray Argyle

With secularist principles under siege across much of the world, it's worth reconsidering the vision of the man who coined the term 'secularism' in the 19th century, says his biographer Ray Argyle. Read More »

Tags: History

Hand on Bible

Why make a spectacle out of religion in the courtroom?

Posted: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 by Stephen Evans

Stephen Evans argues that the current system of religious oaths and affirmations should be replaced by a universal secular declaration of the solemn duty to tell the truth. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Law

It’s time for one marriage law for all

It’s time for one marriage law for all

Posted: Tue, 07 Jul 2020 by Megan Manson

A new High Court challenge to get humanist marriages legally recognised in England and Wales gives us an opportunity to consider how to reform our marriage laws for greater simplicity, equality and freedom, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Marriage, Marriage equality

Classroom

We must protect pupils’ educational rights where schools consistently fail

Posted: Sun, 28 Jun 2020 by Stephen Evans

Religious schools that censor textbooks, teach creationism and limit pupils' chances aren't respecting the right to a quality education. The government shouldn't let them repeatedly fail inspections, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Children's rights & welfare, Education, Independent schools

Rainbow flag

Why can't Ofsted stop state schools preaching that same-sex relationships are wrong?

Posted: Thu, 25 Jun 2020 by Megan Manson

As the government considers ways to end 'gay conversion therapy' it should give Ofsted the power to stop faith schools fostering anti-LGBT attitudes in the first place, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Conversion therapy, Education, LGBT Rights, RSE, Religious education

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