NSS Opinion

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

Being called a ‘fundamentalist secularist’ is an insult I would welcome

Being called a ‘fundamentalist secularist’ is an insult I would welcome

Posted: Thu, 03 Apr 2014 by George Gillett

George Gillett defends the fundamentals of secularism against the persistent attempts by some politicians and media commentators to misrepresent the term. The debate on how to create a society that protects and is fair to people of all faiths and none can... Read More »

Tags: 'Militant' secularism, Church & State, Parliament, atheism

Secular values, not religion, make us a tolerant society

Secular values, not religion, make us a tolerant society

Posted: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 by Oliver Kamm

When trying to reach reasoned and compassionate judgments, religion is frequently a source of confusion rather than light, argues Oliver Kamm.

The secular mind is better equipped than religion to reach reasoned and compassionate judgments. That was the argument... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Secularism

Diversity? No, the Law Society’s Sharia guidance has created division

Diversity? No, the Law Society’s Sharia guidance has created division

Posted: Thu, 27 Mar 2014 by Charlie Klendjian

Charlie Klendjian, secretary of the Lawyers Secular Society, argues that the Law Society, a secular organisation representing solicitors in a secular legal system, has gone beyond its remit and created division with its Practice Note on sharia wills.

A couple... Read More »

Tags: Law, Religious Law

Why it would have been invidious to put the Mormon Church on trial

Why it would have been invidious to put the Mormon Church on trial

Posted: Thu, 27 Mar 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson clarifies the threat to freedom of religion and belief when secular courts rule on theological matters.

Last week we reported a decision by a judge at Westminster Magistrates' Court not to hear a case of alleged fraud against the Mormon Church... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Mormonism, Religion & Belief

Gender segregation: Universities and Student Representatives continue to fail their students miserably

Gender segregation: Universities and Student Representatives continue to fail their students miserably

Posted: Wed, 26 Mar 2014 by Chris Moos

In reflection of the anniversary of the first publicised case of forced gender segregation at a British university, Chris Moos gives an update on the present situation within British universities.

This March 10th marked the anniversary of the first publicised... Read More »

Tags: Campus, Education, Religiousity policing, segregation

Sharia law is well and truly operating in the UK – thanks to the Law Society

Sharia law is well and truly operating in the UK – thanks to the Law Society

Posted: Fri, 21 Mar 2014 by Sadikur Rahman

Sadikur Rahman, of the Lawyers Secular Society, fears a practice note issued by the Law Society could compromise the Code of Conduct for solicitors and increase the application of Sharia law in the UK.

It was with incredulity that I saw this practice note ... Read More »

Tags: Law, Sharia

The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis

The English Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse Crisis

Posted: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 by Richard Scorer

In England, Catholic leaders have fostered the impression that the English church has been relatively scandal-free, and that such problems as did exist were eliminated by the Nolan reforms. A new book by Richard Scorer, head of the abuse unit at Slater &... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse, Reviews

We must give up our faith in religious schools

We must give up our faith in religious schools

Posted: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 by Philip Collins

If social integration is the aspiration, we should start in schools and remove faith schools' right to religious selection, argues Philip Collins.

The task of living together well is the dilemma of the diverse modern city. I saw this at its most acute in the... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Pope's first year of papacy has been a failure on child abuse

Pope's first year of papacy has been a failure on child abuse

Posted: Thu, 13 Mar 2014 by Keith Porteous Wood

This week marks the first anniversary of the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina as Pope Francis. But as far as far as child abuse is concerned, it's just business as usual at the Vatican – but with better PR, argues Keith Porteous... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

No, Mr Clegg, there is no "liberal dilemma" when animal rights and religious beliefs conflict

No, Mr Clegg, there is no "liberal dilemma" when animal rights and religious beliefs conflict

Posted: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 by John Stephenson

Nick Clegg's reasoning behind his opposition to a ban on Kosher and Halal slaughter is inherently contradictory when set aside his views on LGBT rights, argues John Stephenson, who says when animal rights and religious beliefs conflict, it is religion that... Read More »

Tags: Religious Slaughter

The bishop’s fantasy secularism

The bishop’s fantasy secularism

Posted: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 by Terry Sanderson

The Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, has given a lecture at King's College in London in which he launched a full frontal attack on secularism. But the secularism the Bishop denounces, argues Terry Sanderson, is simply a figment of his imagination.... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Secularism

Faith schools: whose education is it anyway?

Faith schools: whose education is it anyway?

Posted: Thu, 06 Mar 2014 by Stephen Evans

Education policy and practice should focus more on children's independent interests and building a shared society rather than pandering to religious groups motivated by self-preservation, argues NSS campaigns manager, Stephen Evans.

According to a comprehensive... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Is the Religious Right responsible for America’s fading allegiance to religion?

Is the Religious Right responsible for America’s fading allegiance to religion?

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson on the Religious Right's baneful attempts to desecularize the United States with a raft of "religious freedom" bills.

There seems to be something of a disconnect in America between the rising number of people who profess to have no religion... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, USA

Fundamentalist Christians seek to use Council of Europe to entrench religious privilege

Fundamentalist Christians seek to use Council of Europe to entrench religious privilege

Posted: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 by European Humanist Federation

A new report from the Council of Europe which uses anti-discrimination rhetoric to justify discrimination and obscurantism, poses a potential threat to democracy and secularism in Europe, argues the European Humanist Federation.

In January, Mr Valeriu Ghiletchi... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Europe

Australia shows the way in removing evangelists from schools

Australia shows the way in removing evangelists from schools

Posted: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 by Terry Sanderson

With widespread apathy about what passes for religious education in schools, our classrooms are increasingly being used by religious groups to carry out their missionary work. Terry Sanderson explains how Australian parents have led the way in removing evangelists... Read More »

Tags: Education, Evangelism in schools

Secular or bust

Secular or bust

Posted: Tue, 18 Feb 2014 by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

Reflecting on the extremist wings of Pakistani politics and ideology, Kunwar Khuldune Shahid describes the dire need for Pakistan to place the secular narrative at the centre of its political agenda and mainstream media.

Before Pierre Gassendi gave Epicureanism... Read More »

Tags: Islamism, Pakistan, Secularism

Church of England is kept alive only by its presence in our schools

Church of England is kept alive only by its presence in our schools

Posted: Thu, 13 Feb 2014 by Terry Sanderson

With the Church of England is on its last legs, it's about time its continued involvement in state education was called into question, argues Terry Sanderson.

The Church Times has been carrying a series of supplements over the last few weeks taking a "heath... Read More »

Tags: Church of England, Education

Publish and be damned

Publish and be damned

Posted: Sat, 08 Feb 2014 by Abhishek Phandis

The media's refusal to show the Jesus & Mo cartoon emboldens professional offense takers at the expense of inoffensive satirists –and seriously undermines the principle of free expression, argues Abhishek Phadnis.

The Danish scholar Jytte Klausen's... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression

Vatican’s attack on its critics is a familiar tactic

Vatican’s attack on its critics is a familiar tactic

Posted: Fri, 07 Feb 2014 by David Clohessy

After hearing the UN's scathing attack on its child abuse record, the Vatican's counter-attack against its critics is a familiar tactic, argues David Clohessy

Inadvertently, by their comments over the past day, Vatican officials are essentially proving what... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse, United Nations

Ethnic mixing is good for communities – so why are we discouraging it in schools?

Ethnic mixing is good for communities – so why are we discouraging it in schools?

Posted: Tue, 04 Feb 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson reflects upon some recent findings on mixed communities and integration, and the implication of those findings for our education system.

A large-scale study published in the journal Sociology has found that when people from ethnic communities... Read More »

Tags: Education, Multiculturalism

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