NSS Opinion

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

Time to end criminality and cover-up in the Catholic Church

Time to end criminality and cover-up in the Catholic Church

Posted: Mon, 12 Nov 2018 by Richard Scorer

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has turned its attention to abuse in the Catholic Church's archdiocese of Birmingham. Richard Scorer delivered the following opening statement on behalf of several victims.

I represent 29 victims of sexual abuse... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church

Review: The Children Act

Review: The Children Act

Posted: Thu, 08 Nov 2018 by Emma Park

Emma Park says Ian McEwan's book and the film it has inspired prompt the questions of what the state should do when a young person's religion conflicts with their welfare, and how this affects religious freedom.

This review contains spoilers.

Does the state... Read More »

Tags: Religious freedom, Children's rights & welfare, Reviews, Jehovah's Witnesses

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

Posted: Fri, 26 Oct 2018 by Stephen Evans

Just as Irish citizens strike a blow for the right to freedom of expression, the European Court has fundamentally undermined it, argues Stephen Evans.

Irish voters decided this week to remove the 'crime' of blasphemy from its constitution. The majority of citizens,... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Blasphemy, Islam

We must resist both religious hatred and its weaponisation

We must resist both religious hatred and its weaponisation

Posted: Thu, 18 Oct 2018 by Alastair Lichten

After a sharp rise in reported crimes in which religious hatred was a factor, Alastair Lichten says liberal democracies should challenge hatred and bigotry while resisting attempts to silence ideas.

According to new figures from the Home Office there were 94,098... Read More »

Tags: Hate crime, Anti-Muslim bigotry, Anti-Semitism, Ex-Muslim, Freedom of Expression

Why are harmful charities registered at all?

Why are harmful charities registered at all?

Posted: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 by Megan Manson

The revelation that Amazon funds extremist religious charities is the tip of the iceberg. Our charity system has deep problems, in part stemming from the presumption that religion is a public good, says Megan Manson.

On paper, it's hard to find fault with Amazon... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Extremism

The questionable ethics of evangelical debt advice

The questionable ethics of evangelical debt advice

Posted: Fri, 05 Oct 2018 by Stephen Evans

The good deeds of faith-based organisations shouldn't lead us to turn a blind eye to their more ethically dubious practices, argues Stephen Evans.

Personal debt in the UK has reached epic proportions. Millions of households are living beyond their means with... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Christianity, Public services

Don’t let mixed-sex civil partnerships distract from the need for marriage reform

Don’t let mixed-sex civil partnerships distract from the need for marriage reform

Posted: Wed, 03 Oct 2018 by Chris Sloggett

Campaigners' elation at the arrival of opposite-sex civil partnerships is understandable, says Chris Sloggett. But beware politicians using it to excuse their failure to loosen the Church of England's grip on marriage.

It's hard to begrudge Rebecca Steinfeld... Read More »

Tags: Marriage, Marriage Equality

Genital cutting: the search for ‘health benefits’ is disingenuous and inconsistent

Genital cutting: the search for ‘health benefits’ is disingenuous and inconsistent

Posted: Thu, 27 Sep 2018 by Brian D. Earp

The principle of bodily autonomy is enough reason to end genital cutting, says Brian D. Earp. Allowing 'health benefits' to dictate its acceptability risks legitimising inconsistent, pseudo-scientific justifications. Read More »

Tags: Healthcare, Circumcision, FGM

Stop reflexively saying yes to religious groups

Stop reflexively saying yes to religious groups

Posted: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 by Chris Sloggett

As councils in north London, police in West Yorkshire and politicians in Westminster pander to religious groups' demands, Chris Sloggett says public bodies should stop taking the line of least resistance.

When you're up against someone who wants something,... Read More »

Tags: Public Services, Community Cohesion

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