NSS Opinion

Terry Sanderson’s speech to the Religious Freedom Conference, Chatham

Terry Sanderson’s speech to the Religious Freedom Conference, Chatham

Posted: Tue, 24 Jun 2014 by Terry Sanderson

On 21 June 2014, NSS President Terry Sanderson spoke at the Chatham Unitarian Church, about the importance of equalities protections and secularism to religious freedom. This is a transcript of his speech.

The first problem I have is with a definition of "religious... Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Equality & Human Rights, Freedom of Expression

Pope’s zero tolerance pledge on child abuse is not enough

Pope’s zero tolerance pledge on child abuse is not enough

Posted: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 by David McClenaghan

Words are not enough: David McClenaghan argues that if the Church wants to deal with its record on child abuse it must root out both the offenders and enablers.

The church must not only root out offenders but also those who have allowed crimes to happen by... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

A “religious ethos” is not why faith schools succeed – it’s selection that does it

A “religious ethos” is not why faith schools succeed – it’s selection that does it

Posted: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Rather than a faith-based ethos, Terry Sanderson argues that it's selection that allows faith schools to outperform other schools – and calls for fairer admissions policies to ensure a level playing field for all.

The headline in the Coventry Telegraph... Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Education, Faith Schools

Schools and the failure of multiculturalism and multifaithism

Schools and the failure of multiculturalism and multifaithism

Posted: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 by Rumy Hasan

Rumy Hasan argues, faith based identity politics have contributed to an increasingly divisive school system, which undermines children's right to a broad, critical and tolerant secular education.

The spat between Michael Gove and Theresa May focuses on the... Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Education, Multiculturalism

Yes, “faith schools” really are the problem

Yes, “faith schools” really are the problem

Posted: Wed, 11 Jun 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Politicians are in denial over the problems caused by "faith schools" and religious influence in education, argues Terry Sanderson.

The National Secular Society has been saying it for years – "faith schools" are a bad idea. And despite the events of the... Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Education, Faith Schools

BBC poll shows that religious people give more to charity than non-religious. Maybe...

BBC poll shows that religious people give more to charity than non-religious. Maybe...

Posted: Sun, 08 Jun 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Here we go again – the BBC has commissioned a survey that apparently shows that religious people are more likely to give to charity than non-religious people.

If you look at the results, you see that the difference in charitable giving between believers... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Statistics

The choice of when to die should be that of the individual – not religious leaders

The choice of when to die should be that of the individual – not religious leaders

Posted: Thu, 05 Jun 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Speaking from personal experience, Terry Sanderson argues that religious opposition to a new law on assisted dying causes needless suffering to the terminally ill and their families.

The campaigning group Dignity in Dying has launched a campaign aimed at the... Read More »

Tags: Assisted Dying

The choice of when to die should be that of the individual – not religious leaders

The choice of when to die should be that of the individual – not religious leaders

Posted: Thu, 05 Jun 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Speaking from personal experience, Terry Sanderson argues that religious opposition to a new law on assisted dying causes needless suffering for the terminally ill and their families.

The campaigning group Dignity in Dying has launched a campaign aimed at the... Read More »

Tags: Assisted Dying

School chaplains: the Church of England's latest plan to evangelise in schools

School chaplains: the Church of England's latest plan to evangelise in schools

Posted: Tue, 03 Jun 2014 by Stephen Evans

With the majority church schools now employing Christian chaplains, Stephen Evans questions whether public money intended for education should be used to fund the Church of England's missionary work.

A new study on school chaplaincy, published last week by... Read More »

Tags: Church of England, Education

A woman is stoned. We politely look away

A woman is stoned. We politely look away

Posted: Fri, 30 May 2014 by Matthew Syed

Our reluctance to fight 'small' battles – over forced marriage and the burka – merely emboldens the fundamentalists, argues Matthew Syed

I guess I should start by saying that I am half Pakistani. My dad grew up there, has dual citizenship (British... Read More »

Tags: Burka/veil, Gender Equality

Five reasons why secularism is linked to development

Five reasons why secularism is linked to development

Posted: Thu, 15 May 2014 by Daphne Holmes

In the Indian election campaign Modi supporters sought frame a choice between development and secularism. While closer to home, the "One of us" campaign has attempted to push Christian beliefs into the EU's international aid policies. Daphne Holmes argues... Read More »

Tags: Development, Secularisation

The Law Society should stay out of the theology business

The Law Society should stay out of the theology business

Posted: Tue, 13 May 2014 by Sadikur Rahman

Sadikur Rahman, of the Lawyers' Secular Society, argues that the Law Society's response to criticism of its sharia guidance misses the point that the society has gone beyond its mandate and given credibility to discriminatory practices.

The Law Society's response... Read More »

Tags: Lawyers Secular Society, Sharia

Embedded religious privilege triumphs on Scottish education issues

Embedded religious privilege triumphs on Scottish education issues

Posted: Mon, 12 May 2014 by Alistair McBay

National Secular Society's spokesperson for Scotland, Alistair McBay, argues that the Scottish Parliament has helped entrench religious privilege in the country's education system.

Tuesday 6 May was a busy day in the Scottish Parliament which saw a triumph... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Education, Scotland

‘Halal hysteria’: Religious exemption from animal welfare law is the real issue

‘Halal hysteria’: Religious exemption from animal welfare law is the real issue

Posted: Thu, 08 May 2014 by Stephen Evans

Food retailers should be upfront about what they're serving up, but the main issue is one of animal welfare, and the religious exemption that allows animals to be slaughtered without being stunned, argues Stephen Evans.

Halal again hit the headlines this week,... Read More »

Tags: Religious Slaughter

Secularization is best thing that ever happened to religion

Secularization is best thing that ever happened to religion

Posted: Thu, 01 May 2014 by Douglas Todd

Douglas Todd argues that, properly understood, secularism is the best thing that has happened for modern religion and religious believers, and that secular societies can be breeding grounds for religious pluralism.

Secularization is the best thing that's ever... Read More »

Tags: Religion & Belief, Secularism

Why religions, too, would benefit from embracing secularism

Why religions, too, would benefit from embracing secularism

Posted: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

In a debate at the Nottingham Secular Society on 28 April, National Secular Society president, Terry Sanderson, argued that the time has come for all religions to embrace secularism. These are his opening remarks:

I think one of the most poignant headlines... Read More »

Tags: Secularism

Council prayers: Eric Pickles rewrites history again

Council prayers: Eric Pickles rewrites history again

Posted: Sat, 26 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Rather than being a voice for "moderation and reasonableness" over prayers at council meetings, the partisan and dictatorial Mr Pickles is pursuing an agenda to impose his religion on public life, argues Terry Sanderson.

You will remember that the Communities... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Council Prayers

The debate over David Cameron’s call to Christianity has taken a wrong turn

The debate over David Cameron’s call to Christianity has taken a wrong turn

Posted: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson argues that the debate over David Cameron's assertions that the UK is a "Christian Nation" has led away from the important question of whether it should be.

The controversy over David Cameron's Christian chauvinism and the reaction it has prompted... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, David Cameron, Equality & Human Rights, Public Services

Cameron's courting of Christianity: divisive, inappropriate, cynical and shallow

Cameron's courting of Christianity: divisive, inappropriate, cynical and shallow

Posted: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 by Elizabeth O'Casey

Following David Cameron's call in recent statements for British Christians to be more evangelical, Elizabeth O'Casey questions the appropriateness of his comments and reiterates the need for a secular state.

Hearing David Cameron's recent collection of 'Easter... Read More »

Tags: Big Society, Church & State, Church of England, David Cameron

'Trojan horses' in Birmingham schools should come as no surprise

'Trojan horses' in Birmingham schools should come as no surprise

Posted: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 by Rumy Hasan

With powerful religious agendas which reach far beyond faith schools and insufficient protections for community schools, Rumy Hasan argues, the so called 'Operation Trojan Horse' should come as no surprise.

The 'Trojan Horse' plot in Birmingham - where some... Read More »

Tags: Community Cohesion, Education, Multiculturalism

Religion as a human rights liability

Religion as a human rights liability

Posted: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 by Nida Kirmani

While human rights movements must engage people of all religions and none, Nida Kirmani argues that explicitly linking religion to human rights can lead to the exclusion and persecution of minority groups and undermine human rights' claims to universality.... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Gender Equality, Religion & Belief

Religious schools are the problem, not the answer

Religious schools are the problem, not the answer

Posted: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

One could almost be tempted to say "Hallelujah" to the news that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has at last recognised that there is a problem with dangerous religious proselytising in schools – particularly, but certainly not only, in Muslim-dominated... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Government funding to creationist nurseries has to stop

Government funding to creationist nurseries has to stop

Posted: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 by Jonny Scaramanga

The Government may prohibit schools from teaching creationism as scientific theory, but as Jonny Scaramanga argues, public funds are still being used to introduce pre-school children to religious pseudoscience.

The Government has a clear policy on teaching... Read More »

Tags: Creationism, nurseries, segregation

The Big Society – to be run by churches - is Mr Cameron’s pipe dream

The Big Society – to be run by churches - is Mr Cameron’s pipe dream

Posted: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

First the Communities Minister and now the Prime Minister have declared Britain to be a "Christian nation".

In a speech to "faith leaders" gathered at Downing Street Mr Cameron said that his Government intended to see that religious groups play a much bigger... Read More »

Tags: Big Society, Church & State, David Cameron

Eric Pickles’ dictatorial disregard for the law is dangerous in a democracy

Eric Pickles’ dictatorial disregard for the law is dangerous in a democracy

Posted: Mon, 07 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Eric Pickles, the Dickensian-style Communities Minister, has announced that Britain is a "Christian nation" and anyone who disagrees needs to "get over it".

He has the usual easy pop at "militant atheists" and dismisses anyone who opposes what he does as "politically... Read More »

Tags: 'Militant' secularism, Church & State, Council prayers

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