NSS Opinion

Operation Christmas Child

Posted: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 by Alastair Lichten

Every year the National Secular Society is contacted by parents upset to discover that a festive charitable project in their children's school is unwittingly making them tools for evangelisation. Alastair Lichten looks at some of their concerns.

It seems to... Read More »

Tags: Faith Schools, Christmas, Christianity, Charity, Samaritans Purse

Assisted Dying: It is now a case of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’

Posted: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 by Keith Porteous Wood

On Friday 7 November the Assisted Dying Bill was debated in the House of Lords. The executive director of the National Secular Society, Keith Porteous Wood, who attended last Friday's debate, reports back about the debate and the Bill's progress.

Although the... Read More »

Tags: Assisted Dying

Remembrance Sunday should not be dominated by religion

Posted: Thu, 06 Nov 2014 by Dan Snow

Historian, broadcaster and NSS honorary associate Dan Snow on the need for an inclusive and secular remembrance ceremony that better reflects the society it serves. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, Remembrance, History

Transport to faith schools: Local authorities shouldn't be subsidising religious segregation

Posted: Thu, 06 Nov 2014 by Stephen Evans

A "hideous form of discrimination" or the justifiable removal of a religious privilege? NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans takes on Conservative MP Nigel Evans over the removal of transport subsidies to faith schools.

Last week, during Education Questions... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Transport

The rise of political Islam in Turkey: how the West got it wrong

Posted: Tue, 04 Nov 2014 by Safak Pavey

Political Islamism has undermined the Turkish Republic's secular social order, education and legal systems and Western pundits manifestly failed to see this coming, argues Turkish opposition MP, Safak Pavey. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Islam, Sharia, Turkey, Events

New data revealed on 2015 voting intentions of non-believers

Posted: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 by Benjamin Jones

The British Election Study has shed new light on the voting intentions of non-believers, and highlighted the power of religious minorities to shape elections in the future. Benjamin Jones explores how atheists, agnostics and the irreligious plan to vote in... Read More »

Tags: Politics, Conservative Party, atheism, Labour Party, UKIP, GE2015, Statistics

Free Church of Scotland attacks secularism and “sexual equality”; calls for Biblical principles in Scottish Government

Posted: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 by Benjamin Jones

The Free Church of Scotland has labelled secularism "harmful to society" and called for the new Scottish constitutional settlement to reflect Biblical principles. Benjamin Jones argues that secularism is in fact entirely impartial, and defends the rights of... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Christianity, Religious Freedom

‘Shariafication by stealth’ in the UK

Posted: Sat, 18 Oct 2014 by Pragna Patel

The state's adoption of 'faith based' approaches to address minority issues are increasingly marginalising women from minority backgrounds and denying them the right to participate in the wider political community as equal citizens, argues Pragna Patel. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Gender Equality, Sharia, Events, Religiousity policing

Secular conference created a sense of imminent and momentous change – and women will be the driving force

Posted: Wed, 15 Oct 2014 by Terry Sanderson

The passion of feminist secular activists from around the world at a recent conference inspired Terry Sanderson, who chaired a panel on religion in the state, law and politics. Read More »

Tags: Secularism, Gender Equality, Ex-Muslim

The Bishops, the Catholic vote and the Referendum

Posted: Fri, 10 Oct 2014 by Alistair McBay

Alistair McBay argues that a growing political alliance between the leadership of the Catholic Church in Scotland and SNP has implications which stretch far beyond the Referendum campaign and threaten to revive religious identity politics.

"Most people still... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Catholic Church, Scotland

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

Posted: Thu, 09 Oct 2014 by Gita Sahgal

Ahead of this weekend's conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights, Gita Sahgal highlights the importance and bravery of secular activism in the Global South. Read More »

Tags: Gender Equality, Events, Equality & Human Rights

Apostasy and blasphemy laws: an affront to human rights

Posted: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 by Alastair Lichten

Iran's execution of Mohsen Amir-Aslani on apostasy charges illustrates the injustices caused by such laws in the Middle East and around the world, argues Alastair Lichten.

This week, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran... Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Equality & Human Rights, Pakistan, Ireland, Iran, Saudi Arabia

Secularism and religious intolerance - an Ex-Muslim perspective on Karen Armstrong's essay

Posted: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 by Al-Razi

In a recent essay, Karen Armstrong diagnosed the secular impulse as a cause of religious intolerance and extremism. In a robust response, al-Razi says Armstrong's critique of secularism is a form of apologetics for fundamentalism and bigotry. Read More »

Tags: Secularism, Ex-Muslim, Islam

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

Posted: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 by Stephen Evans

Sixth form pupils can excuse themselves from acts of worship – but it appears some schools aren't so keen on recognising their students' rights to religious freedom.

Sixth form pupils over the age of sixteen have, since 2006, enjoyed the right to withdrawal... Read More »

Tags: Education, Collective Worship, sixth form

Education, not the veil, must come first in schools

Posted: Thu, 25 Sep 2014 by Maajid Nawaz

Maajid Nawaz argues that a London girls' school is right to ban the Niqab on educational grounds Read More »

Tags: Niqab

A contested subject: religious education and faith schools

Posted: Tue, 23 Sep 2014 by Alastair Lichten

Reports of a Cabinet row over plans to require faith schools to teach more than one religion at GCSE level show that even baby steps towards greater objectivity in religious education will face fierce opposition, argues Alastair Lichten.

Secularists have had... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Religious education

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Posted: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 by Stephen Evans

A Catholic diocese has made clear its intention to replace a headteacher, drafted in to save a failing school, because he isn't Roman Catholic. Stephen Evans argues that such discrimination would be totally unacceptable in almost all other areas of public life. Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Faith Schools

Rowan Williams and his ilk are not the people to decide where religion sits in public life

Posted: Sat, 13 Sep 2014 by David Voas

David Voas questions whether a commission set up to consider the role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and to "make recommendations for public life and policy" can reach a conclusion that reflects the priorities of the general public. Read More »

Tags: Religion & Belief

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 by Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant DhaliwalI

An interview with Nira Yuval-Davis and Sukhwant Dhaliwal, co-editors of the new book telling the story of Women Against Fundamentalism, set up in 1989 by women of many faiths and none to work at the interface of feminism and anti-racism. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Gender Equality, Community Cohesion, History

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

Posted: Wed, 10 Sep 2014 by Alistair McBay

Both media commentators and politicians seem keen to claim religion as a cause for good deeds but determined not to acknowledge it as a contributing factor to bad ones, argues Alistair McBay. Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Child Abuse, Scotland

The Chancel Repairs Bill 2014 (more interesting than you might imagine)

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 by Michael Hall

Michael Hall reflects on the importance of Lord Avebury's bill to abolish chancel repair liability and places it in the context of privilege and inequality. Read More »

Tags: Chancel Repair Liability

Secularism, today, now

Posted: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 by Marieme Helie Lucas

Ahead of an historic conference on the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights in London this October, Algerian secularist, Marieme Helie Lucas calls on secularists everywhere to mobilise to counter the rise of the Religious-Right – and to urge the elements of the left that support them to reconsider their stance. Read More »

Tags: Events, Equality & Human Rights

Grievous nonsense

Posted: Wed, 27 Aug 2014 by Terry Sanderson

The narrative that Christians are somehow persecuted in the UK – which the Daily Telegraph and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve were happy to promote this week – is a dishonest appeal for privilege, argues NSS president Terry Sanderson.

To... Read More »

Tags: 'Militant' secularism, Council Prayers

Principles of secularism and equality must be defended

Posted: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 by Stephen Evans

Attempts to erode equality and undermine secularist principles must be challenged, argues Stephen Evans.

Those seeking to preserve or carve out additional privileges for Christianity in the UK appear buoyed by news that the Equality and Human Rights Commission... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Equality & Human Rights

No such thing as a ‘faith child’

Posted: Tue, 19 Aug 2014 by John Sargeant

The state and society undermine children's rights, when they treat them as an extension of their parents' religious identity, argues John Sargeant. Read More »

Tags: Childrens rights & welfare