NSS Opinion

Society

Those providing public services – including religious groups – should respect reasonable boundaries

Posted: Thu, 08 Oct 2020 by Stephen Evans

Following a call for a greater role for religion in public services, Stephen Evans argues that any expansion of faith-based provision mustn't see equality and fair treatment relegated to secondary or dispensable matters. Read More »

Tags: Public Services

Lynne Featherstone

It’s time to tackle loopholes in equality law which privilege religion

Posted: Thu, 01 Oct 2020 by Lynne Featherstone

On the 10th anniversary of the Equality Act coming into force, Lynne Featherstone says reforms proposed by the NSS on education, caste discrimination and employment would make Britain fairer and more cohesive. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

Religious fundamentalists can’t be trusted with child protection

Religious fundamentalists can’t be trusted with child protection

Posted: Mon, 28 Sep 2020 by Richard Scorer

The extraordinary antics of Jehovah's Witnesses at the public inquiry on child sexual abuse show why independent oversight of religious organisations is needed to protect children from abuse, says Richard Scorer. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse

Jehovah's Witnesses Hall

NHS trusts’ cosy relationships with Jehovah’s Witness leaders could have tragic consequences

Posted: Thu, 24 Sep 2020 by Lloyd Evans

Committees of Jehovah's Witnesses who encourage patients to refuse treatments involving blood are seeking influence in hospitals – and many NHS trusts are holding the door open for them, writes Lloyd Evans. Read More »

Tags: Healthcare

Public debate

The Scottish hate crime bill is a threat to free and open debate

Posted: Mon, 21 Sep 2020 by Stephen Evans

As ministers consider changing Scotland's hate crime bill to address free expression concerns, Stephen Evans says their insistence to date that the bill won't undermine legitimate debate has been unconvincing. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Scotland

Charlie Hebdo front page 2020

The continued effort to silence Charlie Hebdo is shameful

Posted: Fri, 18 Sep 2020 by Chris Sloggett

It is outrageous to try to force this small magazine to give the 2015 killers what they wanted, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Apostasy Day

The world has abandoned freethinkers of Muslim heritage

Posted: Fri, 04 Sep 2020 by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

The first Apostasy Day has highlighted the human rights abuses facing many who leave Islam. To stand up for them we must ensure the religion isn't given special protection, says Kunwar Khuldune Shahid. Read More »

Tags: Freedom from Religion, Islam

Islamic marriage

Problems around Islamic marriage require a secular solution

Posted: Fri, 28 Aug 2020 by Megan Manson

A new report says compulsory registration for Islamic marriages is needed to tackle discrimination and abuse. Megan Manson argues broad reform to marriage laws is a better way to ensure fairness and equality for all. Read More »

Tags: Marriage

Lord Lester

Anthony Lester’s legacy for human rights and secularism

Posted: Thu, 27 Aug 2020 by Keith Porteous Wood

Keith Porteous Wood reflects on the achievements of Lord Lester, who died earlier this month, and the enduring relevance of his work. Read More »

Tags: Human rights, Secularism

Children at school

Our schools should promote social cohesion – so educate children together

Posted: Tue, 11 Aug 2020 by Megan Manson

As research shows social integration is key to fostering positive attitudes toward people of different religions and beliefs, Megan Manson says we should challenge the segregation and division inherent to faith schools. Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Education, Faith Schools

George Holyoake

It's not too late to fulfil George Holyoake's secularist vision

Posted: Thu, 30 Jul 2020 by Ray Argyle

With secularist principles under siege across much of the world, it's worth reconsidering the vision of the man who coined the term 'secularism' in the 19th century, says his biographer Ray Argyle. Read More »

Tags: History

Hand on Bible

Why make a spectacle out of religion in the courtroom?

Posted: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 by Stephen Evans

Stephen Evans argues that the current system of religious oaths and affirmations should be replaced by a universal secular declaration of the solemn duty to tell the truth. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Law

It’s time for one marriage law for all

It’s time for one marriage law for all

Posted: Tue, 07 Jul 2020 by Megan Manson

A new High Court challenge to get humanist marriages legally recognised in England and Wales gives us an opportunity to consider how to reform our marriage laws for greater simplicity, equality and freedom, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Marriage, Marriage equality

Classroom

We must protect pupils’ educational rights where schools consistently fail

Posted: Sun, 28 Jun 2020 by Stephen Evans

Religious schools that censor textbooks, teach creationism and limit pupils' chances aren't respecting the right to a quality education. The government shouldn't let them repeatedly fail inspections, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Children's rights & welfare, Education, Independent schools

Rainbow flag

Why can't Ofsted stop state schools preaching that same-sex relationships are wrong?

Posted: Thu, 25 Jun 2020 by Megan Manson

As the government considers ways to end 'gay conversion therapy' it should give Ofsted the power to stop faith schools fostering anti-LGBT attitudes in the first place, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Conversion therapy, Education, LGBT Rights, RSE, Religious education

Humza Yousaf

Does Scotland’s justice minister realise the reach of his own hate crime bill?

Posted: Tue, 16 Jun 2020 by Chris Sloggett

Humza Yousaf has claimed a bill he's proposing isn't a threat to free speech because it sets a high threshold for criminality. But his careless words suggest he isn't taking concerns seriously, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Scotland

Hospital bed

Religious campaigners shouldn't be able to veto the refusal of treatment

Posted: Mon, 15 Jun 2020 by Dr Antony Lempert

Christian campaigners have questioned a ruling that allowed a severely ill man to die. Dr Antony Lempert says they're misrepresenting the case – and patients' views are significant when determining their best interests. Read More »

Tags: Assisted dying, Healthcare

Outdoor weddings

Outdoor marriage shouldn't be restricted on religious grounds

Posted: Thu, 11 Jun 2020 by Megan Manson

The government is reportedly planning to allow couples to marry outdoors as we emerge from lockdown. This is a chance to make marriage more equal and free for all permanently, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Marriage

Church open sign

Places of worship shouldn’t reopen prematurely

Posted: Thu, 04 Jun 2020 by Stephen Evans

As a group of religious leaders threatens legal action over the closure of places of worship during the coronavirus crisis, Stephen Evans says public health must be the priority in deciding when to reopen them. Read More »

Tags: Coronavirus pandemic, Healthcare

Religion

Will Wales lead the way in reforming Religious Education?

Posted: Tue, 02 Jun 2020 by Stephen Evans

The Welsh government's plans to reform RE risk being a missed opportunity for more radical reform of the way we approach religion in schools, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Religious education, Wales

Amanda Spielman at IICSA

The state must act to protect children in unregistered faith schools

Posted: Thu, 28 May 2020 by Richard Scorer

Eye-opening evidence at a public inquiry has shown the dangers presented by unregistered schools. Richard Scorer, a lawyer at the inquiry, says the authorities mustn't leave children to languish in unsafe environments. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Unregistered schools

Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland

Scotland says it wants to clamp down on hate. But its charity law helps to promote it

Posted: Thu, 21 May 2020 by Megan Manson

The Scottish government has published a bill that threatens to outlaw the expression of hateful ideas. But meanwhile religious groups who promote harmful ideology enjoy charitable status, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Charity

Woman crying

How charity law props up ‘gay conversion therapy’

Posted: Thu, 14 May 2020 by Megan Manson

As the NSS challenges the status of a Christian charity which pushes "change oriented therapy" for gay people, Megan Manson says charity law shouldn't help religious groups to engage in exploitative behaviour. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Conversion Therapy

Scottish parliament

Scotland’s new hate speech law will be too censorious

Posted: Thu, 07 May 2020 by Chris Sloggett

A new offence of 'stirring up hatred' on religious grounds is too restrictive of free speech, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Scotland

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