NSS Opinion

Prayer Spaces in Schools

Posted: Thu, 01 Aug 2013 by Alistair McBay

As church attendance continues to plummet along with the numbers of Britons professing religious belief, the Prayer Spaces in Schools initiative is turning schools into churches — and turning teaching increasingly into preaching, writes Alistair McBay. Read More »

Tags: Education, Church of England, Church of Scotland, Evangelism in schools

A right for one is a right for all

Posted: Tue, 30 Jul 2013 by Charles C. Haynes

Charles C. Haynes argues that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution must be vigorously defended from religious attacks. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, USA

It may be a new velvet glove, but it’s the same old iron fist at the Vatican

Posted: Tue, 30 Jul 2013 by Terry Sanderson

You've got to give the Vatican credit for having installed a Pope who appears to be nice and cuddly and says all the right things. But as with everything pertaining to the Vatican, one needs to keep a sceptical antenna waving. Nothing is as it seems in that... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Pope

It’s not culture, it’s a crime against humanity

Posted: Fri, 26 Jul 2013 by Anne Marie Waters

Women's rights are being ignored and side-stepped under the guise of 'culture', 'tradition' and religion, argues Anne Marie Waters. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

Convictions for female genital mutilation: France - 100; Britain 0

Posted: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 by Joan Smith

This country has a very poor record on the prevention of female genital mutilation. A new approach from the police could change that. But they need help, writes Joan Smith. Read More »

Tags: Gender Equality, Reproductive Rights, FGM, Violence against Women

Muslims must be protected. Islam must not.

Posted: Wed, 24 Jul 2013 by Terry Sanderson

The Muslim Council of Britain has called for a "serious national response" from the government to attacks against Muslims and mosques.

MCB leader Farooq Murad, said people were living in fear. He said that following the events in Woolwich, there has been a... Read More »

Tags: Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Community Cohesion

Same Sex Marriage Act - time to separate religion from politics

Posted: Tue, 23 Jul 2013 by Keith Porteous Wood

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has passed with overwhelming support. It has done little more than re-brand civil partnerships, but symbolically its passing was a breath-taking moment of the zeitgeist, writes Keith Porteous Wood. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Marriage Equality

How do we keep religious education out of the hands of the evangelists?

Posted: Mon, 22 Jul 2013 by Terry Sanderson

How can schools tell children about religion in a way that is fair, objective, unbiased and, most important, doesn't close them off to alternatives?

How do we best explain to them that while some religious believers find comfort in their faith — as well... Read More »

Tags: Religious education, Education

Free speech?

Posted: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 by Calum Grant

The controversy arising from Rowan Atkinson's comic relief sketch back in March, in which he poked fun at the newly anointed Archbishop of Canterbury, has this month been cleared of breaking any broadcasting guidelines by Ofcom. However, it is a stark reminder... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression

Human rights are for humans, not for ideologies

Posted: Mon, 15 Jul 2013 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson argues that human rights are not there to fulfill religious demands; but to protect individuals. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Religion & Belief

Will the UN finally bring the Vatican to account for its child abuse crimes?

Posted: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 by Keith Porteous Wood

As a United Nations Committee on children's rights confronts the Vatican on its abysmal record on clerical paedophilia and criminal cover-ups, Keith Porteous Wood describes his role in bringing the Holy See to account. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Pope, Catholic Church

Public perceptions and reality - have we got it wrong?

Posted: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 by Terry Sanderson

An Ipsos-Mori poll for the Royal Statistical Society tried to measure what people's perception of issues were as opposed to the reality (according to the official figures).

On religion, the survey found that people vastly overestimated the number of Muslims... Read More »

Tags: statistics, Islam, Christianity

Our secular society is wiser than the Church

Posted: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 by Oliver Kamm

Oliver Kamm reflects on how our secular society moves forward whilst the Church struggles to catch up. Read More »

Tags: Church & State Secularism

Channel 4’s call to prayer during Ramadan is more of the same old, same old

Posted: Tue, 09 Jul 2013 by Maryam Namazie

Maryam Namazie argues that if Channel 4 wants to do something really provocative; it should show Muslims as 21st century human beings and citizens with countless characteristics like everyone else. Read More »

Tags: Islam, Religious Observance

Three cheers for Channel 4 for trying to move Muslims into the mainstream

Posted: Tue, 02 Jul 2013 by Terry Sanderson

Channel 4 has set the cat among the pigeons — as I suspect it intended to do — with its announcement that it will broadcast the Muslim call to prayer every day during the month of Ramadan.

If what the chief of Channel 4 says about the network's... Read More »

Tags: Islam, Religion & Belief

The “cutting season” and FGM in the UK: A national disgrace, a national shame

Posted: Tue, 02 Jul 2013 by Elizabeth O’Casey

After teenager Soheir Mohamed died whilst undergoing female genital mutilation in Egypt last month, Elizabeth O'Casey looks at the practice within the UK context and examines how little is being done about it. Read More »

Tags: FGM, Reproductive Rights, Gender Equality, Violence against Women

New EU guidelines on religion and belief make plain that no religion is entitled to special rights

Posted: Thu, 27 Jun 2013 by Terry Sanderson

The EU Foreign Affairs Council this week adopted a report with 71 Guidelines to promote the right to freedom of religion and belief worldwide. Terry Sanderson highlights here some notable quotes. Read More »

Tags: Europe, Religion & Belief

A secular society is the key

Posted: Mon, 24 Jun 2013 by Oliver Kamm

Oliver Kamm explains why a Charedi faith schools' refusal to teach evolution doesn't just impoverish children's minds, but also violates their rights. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Creationism

Why the Guides’ new Promise is something to be celebrated

Posted: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 by Stephen Evans

With the uproar over the Girlguides omitting 'God' from its new Promise; Stephen Evans blogs on why this is a step in the right direction. Read More »

Tags: Girl Guides

Multiculturalism and Cultural Relativism

Posted: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 by Maryam Namazie

Maryam Namazie argues why we must oppose the far-tight of all varieties, but also the pro-Islamist left and side with universalism, equality for all and secularism, irrespective of beliefs. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Islam

Conscientious objection in Scotland: a worrying precedent

Posted: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 by Louise Finer

With NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde seeking to appeal the ruling for the allowance of conscientious exemption from abortion procedures, Louise Finer of Reproductive Health Matters argues that judges must not forget the rights of women – to health, autonomy, dignity and respect Read More »

Tags: Scotland, Reproductive Rights, Religion & Belief

Reaction to Woking parking challenge reveals national implications

Posted: Thu, 13 Jun 2013 by Terry Sanderson

By Terry Sanderson

There has been some interesting reaction to our challenge to Woking Borough Council's policy of providing free parking for worshippers in the town.

The Kentish Gazette, for instance, revealed that there is also subsidised parking for worshippers:... Read More »

Tags: Parking

Secular petitions highlight the sectarian issues in Scottish education

Posted: Thu, 13 Jun 2013 by Alistair McBay

The last few weeks have seen the topic of religious observance (RO) in schools hit the headlines in Scotland. Two petitions have been lodged, one at central government and one at local government level.

Secular Scotland, a group of Glasgow secularists, launched... Read More »

Tags: Scotland, Religious Observance, Education, Collective Worship

Woking: equal treatment vs. religious privilege

Posted: Wed, 05 Jun 2013 by Stephen Evans

This week, The National Secular Society launched legal action against Woking Borough Council over its policy of offering free parking to worshippers, while charging others.

Woking Borough Council, like Bideford Town Council before it, has come out fighting.... Read More »

Tags: Parking, Discrimination

Turkey: What would Ataturk think?

Posted: Wed, 05 Jun 2013 by Octavia Nasr

Middle East commentator Octavia Nasr on why the founder of the modern secular Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, must be turning in his grave from the turn of events throughout Turkey and the political implications they usher in. Read More »

Tags: Turkey