NSS Opinion

Grotesque at Chester Cathedral

Faith universities are an anachronism

Posted: Fri, 14 May 2021 by Keith Sharpe

Churches continue to manage and govern several universities in the UK, enabling discrimination and creating tension between universities' academic purpose and the interests of those who control them, says Keith Sharpe. Read More »

Tags: Education, Universities


The drive for ‘religious literacy’ in the media would undermine press freedom

Posted: Wed, 12 May 2021 by Chris Sloggett

A parliamentary report has called for measures to promote 'religious literacy' in the media - including tighter regulation. Chris Sloggett says we should beware the risks of requiring journalists to tread on eggshells. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Media

Batley Grammar School protesters

The DfE must show leadership when religious hardliners turn on schools

Posted: Thu, 06 May 2021 by Stephen Evans

The start of an investigation into the Batley Grammar affair raises questions over the government's willingness to ensure assertive religious voices don't dictate what happens in classrooms, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression, Opinion Out Loud

Religiosity inspections National Secular Society report

Faith groups have no business inspecting schools

Posted: Fri, 30 Apr 2021 by Stephen Evans

Publicly funded school inspections which enable clerics to exert undue influence should have no place in a modern education system, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Inspections

Catholic priest

Regressive religious demands shouldn't hold sway over political decisions

Posted: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 by Stephen Evans

Much of a pre-election letter from Scotland's Catholic bishops highlights the risks of allowing religious dogma to dictate public policy, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Assisted dying, Catholic Church, Education, Election, Scotland

Women Leaving Islam

Women Leaving Islam: the rights of those who leave religion must be protected

Posted: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 by Helen Nicholls

The film Women Leaving Islam shows the risks facing those who stand up for the fundamental right to leave religion and the ongoing neglect of minorities within minorities in public life, says Helen Nicholls. Read More »

Tags: Ex-Muslim, Freedom from Religion, Reviews, Women's rights

Coats on pegs primary school

We must find the political will to end discriminatory school admissions

Posted: Mon, 12 Apr 2021 by Alastair Lichten

As families in England prepare to find out which primary schools their children will attend, Alastair Lichten says ending faith-based discrimination would make the admissions system fairer and simpler. Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Education, Faith Schools, admissions

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

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