NSS Opinion

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


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

Elizabeth I

Why respect religious demands to keep pupils in the dark?

Posted: Tue, 28 Apr 2020 by Stephen Evans

After a select committee chair urged more leeway for a faith school which has long censored textbooks, Stephen Evans says politicians with responsibility for education should stop pandering to religious interests. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Orthodox Judaism

Gay men

Charity and homophobia shouldn’t mix

Posted: Wed, 15 Apr 2020 by Megan Manson

The proliferation of religious charities openly expressing anti-LGBT views should prompt us to rethink religion's privileged position in charity law, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Charity

George Pell

Cardinal Pell’s conviction has been overturned – but there are uncomfortable moments to come

Posted: Wed, 08 Apr 2020 by Keith Porteous Wood

Australia's top court has overturned the conviction of the Vatican's former treasurer for sexually assaulting two boys. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's plain sailing from here for him, says Keith Porteous Wood. Read More »

Tags: Australia, Catholic Church, Child abuse

Plague protection oil

Charities can’t sell snake oil. Or can they?

Posted: Tue, 07 Apr 2020 by Megan Manson

If we want to protect vulnerable people from being duped into buying 'miracle cures' from religious charities we should start by reforming charity law, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Healthcare

Church closed during coronavirus outbreak

Secular attitudes and laws are assets against coronavirus

Posted: Fri, 03 Apr 2020 by Chris Sloggett

Religious fanaticism is hindering the fight against coronavirus across much of the world. But in Britain, claims to religious exceptionalism are thankfully relatively isolated, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Religious freedom

NSS at home

Stuck at home? Here’s how you can learn about and support secularism

Posted: Fri, 27 Mar 2020 by National Secular Society

Most NSS supporters will now be confined to their homes over the coming weeks. But there's still plenty you can do to learn about secularism and promote our campaign for secular democracy. Read More »

Tags: Secularism

Worried woman

Northern Ireland’s new abortion guidelines are welcome but should have gone further

Posted: Fri, 27 Mar 2020 by Dr Antony Lempert

As the government publishes a framework for the extension of abortion rights in NI, Dr Antony Lempert welcomes politicians' belated willingness to defend women's right to choose but laments several missed opportunities. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Northern Ireland, Reproductive rights

Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips’s suspension is another blow to robust public debate

Posted: Wed, 11 Mar 2020 by Chris Sloggett

You don't need to agree with everything Trevor Phillips has said about Muslims or Islam to be concerned at the attempt to render his ideas beyond the pale, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam


Don’t let religious interests make divorce any harder than it needs to be

Posted: Thu, 05 Mar 2020 by Chris Sloggett

The Church of England and its supporters are opposing plans to make it easier for couples to divorce without assigning blame. Chris Sloggett says parliamentarians should resist their lobbying. Read More »

Tags: Marriage


Most Brits don’t pray. It’s time for our institutions to stop imposing worship

Posted: Tue, 03 Mar 2020 by Megan Manson

As figures show most people in Britain never pray, Megan Manson says institutionalised prayer has no place in our parliament, councils, schools or public ceremonies. Read More »

Tags: Collective Worship, Council Prayers, Parliament, Prayers, Remembrance

Can chaplaincy ever be fit for the 21st century?

Can chaplaincy ever be fit for the 21st century?

Posted: Mon, 02 Mar 2020 by Dr Antony Lempert

A report highlighting the institutional bias towards Christianity in NHS chaplaincy services should prompt us to ask whether taxpayers should fund chaplaincy in the health service at all, says Dr Antony Lempert. Read More »

Tags: Chaplaincy, NHS

Clasped hands

Faith groups should practice without preaching when helping the vulnerable

Posted: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 by Megan Manson

As a report shows some religious groups are helping survivors of modern slavery without proselytising, Megan Manson says public sector bodies must ensure all organisations that provide services adopt similar policies. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Evangelism in schools, Public services

BBC Big Questions debate on Islamophobia

Don’t let religious advocates define the boundaries of acceptable thought

Posted: Thu, 20 Feb 2020 by Chris Sloggett

A BBC debate on defining 'Islamophobia' was a reminder of the risks of giving too much ground to religious identity politics and empowering 'community groups' to police public discussion, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Faith schools sign

Denying a judicial review over a faith school’s expansion was a lamentable decision

Posted: Fri, 14 Feb 2020 by James Brunt

After he was refused permission for a judicial review against Vale of Glamorgan Council, James Brunt says its decision to expand a faith school was based on dubious methodology and defied reasonable logic. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Wales

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin

The Cardinal Barbarin case highlights the need for well-drafted mandatory reporting laws

Posted: Thu, 06 Feb 2020 by Keith Porteous Wood

The conviction of France's most senior Catholic cleric for failing to report child abuse has been overturned. Keith Porteous Wood says this should be a warning to those charged with responding to abuse in the UK. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse, France

Bishops' bench

The bishops’ bench is an affront to democracy. Let’s scrap it

Posted: Fri, 31 Jan 2020 by Stephen Evans

A new bill proposes to end Church of England bishops' automatic right to sit in parliament. This religious privilege is part of an unjust status quo and should be addressed, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Bishops' bench, Church & State, Church of England

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