NSS Opinion

The Christmas nativity: Let it go! Let it go!

The Christmas nativity: Let it go! Let it go!

Posted: Tue, 02 Dec 2014 by Stephen Evans

After it this week emerged that some school nativity plays are losing their religion, Stephen Evans argues that schools should be free to innovate and have a bit of fun with their festive plays without po-faced nativity police telling them they can't.

Predictable... Read More »

Tags: Christmas, Education

Tower Hamlets and the Dangers of Communal Politics

Tower Hamlets and the Dangers of Communal Politics

Posted: Thu, 20 Nov 2014 by Rumy Hasan

Last week, the accountancy firm PwC, in its audit of Tower Hamlets Council and its Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, catalogued very serious failings. The case sheds light on a troubling phenomenon: communal politics. We are well aware of the divisive, sectarian politics... Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Multiculturalism, Politics

Mission creep in the anti-war left

Mission creep in the anti-war left

Posted: Wed, 19 Nov 2014 by Benjamin Jones

Video has emerged of the Left Unity political party voting on whether to endorse the Islamic State. Although the amendment was easily defeated, Benjamin Jones argues that this is just the latest flirtation in a long courtship between elements of the British... Read More »

Tags: ISIS, Iraq, Islamism, Middle East

Parent's perspective: The Collective Worship dilemma

Parent's perspective: The Collective Worship dilemma

Posted: Tue, 18 Nov 2014 by A Parent

One parent speaks out about the damaging impact of excluding her young child from mandatory collective worship in school, and how withdrawal isn't really an option at all.

My four year old son has just started primary school. Starting school was a very exciting... Read More »

Tags: Childrens rights & welfare, Christianity, Collective Worship, Education, Parents Perspective

Who are the true Muslims – all or none?

Who are the true Muslims – all or none?

Posted: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 by Matthew Syed

Moderate believers argue that Isis has misinterpreted the Koran. But no one can determine who is right or wrong, argues Matthew Syed.

Who are the real Muslims? Who are the bona fide, authentic, true-to-the-core followers of the Islamic faith? Now, that might... Read More »

Tags: ISIS, Islam, Islamism, Tony Blair

Operation Christmas Child

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

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

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

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.

It is one of the most important events of the year. I remember my dad taking me when I was a... Read More »

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

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

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

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.

The end of the Cold War did not free the world of... Read More »

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

New data revealed on 2015 voting intentions of non-believers

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

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

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: Christianity, Church & State, Religious Freedom

‘Shariafication by stealth’ in the UK

‘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.

In... Read More »

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

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

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 has inspired Terry Sanderson, who chaired a panel on religion's role in the state, law and politics.

Last weekend's conference organised in London by Maryam Namazie and her... Read More »

Tags: Ex-Muslim, Gender Equality, Secularism

The Bishops, the Catholic vote and the Referendum

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: Catholic Church, Church & State, Scotland

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

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.

The issue of secularism is a controversial one in international human rights organisations.... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Events, Gender Equality

Apostasy and blasphemy laws: an affront to 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, Iran, Ireland, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia

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

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

Posted: Mon, 29 Sep 2014 by Al-Razi

In an essay written to coincide with the publication of her new book, Karen Armstrong diagnoses the secular impulse as a cause of religious intolerance and extremism. Ex-Muslim al-Razi argues that the secular movement is in-fact responsible for the good things... Read More »

Tags: Ex-Muslim, Islam, Secularism

Sixth formers: You have the right to withdraw!

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: Collective Worship, Education, sixth form

Education, not the veil, must come first in schools

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.

British Muslims are facing yet another controversy. Camden School for Girls in London has introduced a strict dress code for its pupils. Part of the code states... Read More »

Tags: Niqab

A contested subject: religious education and faith schools

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

Teachers shouldn’t be the victims of religious discrimination

Posted: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 by Stephen Evans

The degree to which we tolerate discrimination against teachers in state-funded faith schools would be totally unacceptable in almost all other areas of public life, argues Stephen Evans.

Parents with children at a primary school in East Sussex expressed outrage... Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Faith Schools

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

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

The Woolf Institute has convened a commission to consider the place and role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, and to "make recommendations for public life and policy." David Voas questions whether this review can reach a conclusion that reflects... Read More »

Tags: Religion & Belief

25 years: women working against fundamentalism in the UK

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, an organisation set up in 1989 by women of many faiths and none to work at the interface of feminism and anti-racism. The... Read More »

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

Religion “mustn't cause violence”

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.

An article in the Scotsman in May by Joyce McMillan ran with the... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Community Cohesion, Scotland

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