NSS Opinion

Jehovah's Witnesses Hall

The harm caused by Jehovah’s Witnesses shows charity law reform is urgently needed

Posted: Tue, 26 Mar 2019 by Lloyd Evans

The Jehovah's Witnesses organisation causes serious abuse and harm, says Lloyd Evans. Its charitable status should be revoked – and society should stop assuming religious organisations only have good intentions. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Jehovah's Witnesses

Religion and public benefit – why it’s time to rethink charity law

Religion and public benefit – why it’s time to rethink charity law

Posted: Fri, 22 Mar 2019 by Stephen Evans

An NSS report says 'the advancement of religion' should be removed as a charitable purpose. Stephen Evans says the law should align with public opinion and only support charities that deliver a genuine public benefit. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Church & State

Razor blade

Let’s face facts: FGM has something to do with religion

Posted: Thu, 14 Mar 2019 by Megan Manson

Politicians who insist female genital cutting has nothing to do with religion set a dangerous precedent that undermines campaigns to combat it and other religious harms, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: FGM, Circumcision

Sudan flag

Sudan deserves a secular democracy

Posted: Wed, 06 Mar 2019 by Nahla Mahmoud

As protesters demand the end of Sudan's Islamist regime, Nahla Mahmoud says a secular democracy is the only way to protect the rights of the Sudanese people. Read More »

Tags: Islamism, Democracy

Classroom

The government should stand up to parents who want religious opt-outs

Posted: Wed, 27 Feb 2019 by Chris Sloggett

Giving ground to religious groups' individualistic demands for opt-outs from relationships & sex education undermines children's rights and teachers' ability to do their job, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Education, RSE, Children's rights & welfare

Medical scissors

The BMA’s genital cutting guidance is a disturbing departure from evidence-based, patient-centred policy making

Posted: Wed, 27 Feb 2019 by Dr Antony Lempert

The body which represents doctors has missed the opportunity to take a stand against medically unnecessary child circumcision in its new guidance on the subject, says Dr Antony Lempert. Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Healthcare

Ealing Abbey

IICSA's Ealing hearings showed the Catholic Church can't be trusted to police itself

Posted: Mon, 25 Feb 2019 by Keith Porteous Wood

An inquiry has highlighted the Catholic Church's lamentable failings over child abuse at an abbey and school in west London. Keith Porteous Wood says the episode has shown the need for mandatory reporting of abuse. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church

Pope

21 steps the pope would take if he was committed to tackling child abuse

Posted: Fri, 22 Feb 2019 by Keith Porteous Wood

As the Catholic Church unveils another inadequate plan to tackle child abuse, this open letter from Keith Porteous Wood highlights some steps the pope could take if he was committed to taking effective action. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse, Pope

Ballymena church

Northern Ireland: where Protestants and Catholics don’t need to be Protestants or Catholics

Posted: Tue, 19 Feb 2019 by Roy Fisher

Northern Ireland's equalities practices are furthering the harmful narrative that the country is made up of two communities and restricting citizens' ability to decide their own religious identities, says Roy Fisher. Read More »

Tags: Northern Ireland, Census

Faith schools protest

Integrated communities require inclusive, secular schools

Posted: Tue, 12 Feb 2019 by Alastair Lichten

A government plan on integration sets out a positive vision on education - but faith schools remain the elephant in the room. Alastair Lichten asks if ministers' actions will match their rhetoric. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, unregistered schools, Independent schools, admissions

Doctor and patient

Religious dogma still clouds assisted dying debate

Posted: Thu, 07 Feb 2019 by Stephen Evans

As the Royal College of Physicians consults its members over assisted dying, Stephen Evans says we should be aware of often well-disguised theological objections to reform. Read More »

Tags: Assisted dying

Catholic abuse scandals: why self policing always fails

Catholic abuse scandals: why self policing always fails

Posted: Mon, 04 Feb 2019 by Richard Scorer

The IICSA inquiry has turned its attention to child abuse at two Catholic schools. Abuse lawyer and NSS vice president Richard Scorer delivered the following opening statement on behalf of several victims. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church

Barbara Smoker

Barbara Smoker’s remarkable life should inspire us all

Posted: Thu, 17 Jan 2019 by Helen Nicholls

Former NSS president Barbara Smoker's book My Godforsaken Life: Memoir of a Maverick reminds us of the value of ordinary people's principled activism and provides a link to secularists of the past, says Helen Nicholls. Read More »

Tags: History, Secularism, Reviews

Prayers

Institutionalised prayer doesn't belong in parliament

Posted: Wed, 16 Jan 2019 by Stephen Evans

As MPs launch a motion against parliamentary prayers, NSS CEO Stephen Evans says ending the anachronistic custom would strike a blow for modernity, equality and freedom of conscience. Read More »

Tags: Prayers, Church & State

Hospital A&E

The NHS’s pastoral support shouldn’t be based on religiosity

Posted: Fri, 11 Jan 2019 by Dr Antony Lempert

Moves to introduce humanist chaplaincy services in some NHS hospitals paper over the cracks in a discriminatory service, Dr Antony Lempert argues. Read More »

Tags: Chaplaincy, Healthcare

Pope Francis

The pope's empty words and meaningless gestures won't tackle clerical abuse

Posted: Mon, 07 Jan 2019 by Keith Porteous Wood

One of the pope's Christmas messages urged clerical abusers to hand themselves in. Keith Porteous Wood asks how effective it will be in bringing perpetrators to the courts and assesses the pope's progress over abuse. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Hand holding

Weaponised unreasonableness: father claims school standards violate his rights

Posted: Mon, 07 Jan 2019 by Alastair Lichten

After a father threatens the government with legal action over a requirement to teach about LGBT people in independent schools, Alastair Lichten argues the focus should remain on protecting pupils' rights. Read More »

Tags: Independent schools, Education, LGBTQ rights

Relativism is undermining liberalism from within

Relativism is undermining liberalism from within

Posted: Mon, 17 Dec 2018 by Terri Murray

In her book Identity, Islam and the Twilight of Liberal Values, Terri Murray explores attacks on liberalism from the left and right – and the failure to defend it. Here she explains what motivated her to write the book. Read More »

Tags: Cultural relativism, Islam

Students should be free to excuse themselves from worship

Students should be free to excuse themselves from worship

Posted: Fri, 14 Dec 2018 by Stephen Evans

After two students pushed the Welsh government for a response to a petition to remove schools' obligation to hold acts of worship, Stephen Evans says pupils should be free to opt out of religious practices in schools. Read More »

Tags: Collective worship, Education

My children’s school has become Christian by default

My children’s school has become Christian by default

Posted: Fri, 14 Dec 2018 by Lee Harris

Lee Harris didn't choose a faith school for his children. But when he challenged evangelism at his local school, he learnt that community school status doesn't necessarily prevent religion from being imposed on children. Read More »

Tags: Education, Academisation, Collective worship

Unravelling the choice delusion

Unravelling the choice delusion

Posted: Mon, 10 Dec 2018 by Alastair Lichten

We often hear that faith schools improve choice. But an NSS report shows that this narrative mischaracterises the challenges facing families and public education's role in a diverse society, says Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, admissions

The gatekeepers of public debate can’t patronise away anti-Muslim bigotry

The gatekeepers of public debate can’t patronise away anti-Muslim bigotry

Posted: Wed, 28 Nov 2018 by Chris Sloggett

A parliamentary group's proposal that the government define 'Islamophobia' is a misguided power grab, says Chris Sloggett. If we want to end anti-Muslim bigotry, we should stop telling people what to think about Islam. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Peterloo’s heroes represented the finest traditions of secular democracy

Peterloo’s heroes represented the finest traditions of secular democracy

Posted: Fri, 23 Nov 2018 by Bob Forder

The film Peterloo is a reminder of the close links between the campaign for church-state separation and the push for a truly democratic society in the 19th century and beyond, writes Bob Forder.

Mike Leigh's keenly anticipated, ambitious and long film, Peterloo... Read More »

Tags: History, Secularism, Democracy

Genital cutting and the laws of unintended consequences

Genital cutting and the laws of unintended consequences

Posted: Thu, 22 Nov 2018 by Dr Antony Lempert

This week's developments on ritual genital cutting in the US and Denmark highlight the need to adopt a consistent application of human rights principles for everybody, regardless of gender, argues Dr Antony Lempert.

International legal conventions and agreements... Read More »

Tags: FGM, circumcision, Children's rights and welfare

How secularism protects people who have religious faith

How secularism protects people who have religious faith

Posted: Wed, 14 Nov 2018 by Megan Manson

For Interfaith Week 2018, campaigns officer Megan Manson explains how the National Secular Society's work protects those who are religious as well as those who are not.

One of the most common misconceptions about the National Secular Society is that we are... Read More »

Tags: Secularism, Conversion therapy, Caste, One law for all, Freedom of Expression, Child Abuse, Circumcision, FGM

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