NSS Opinion

St Mary's University Twickenham

The expansion of Catholic influence at St Mary’s University threatens academic freedom

Posted: Fri, 18 Jun 2021 by Keith Sharpe

A pro-vice chancellor's remarks suggest the governance of St Mary's University, Twickenham is heading in an inappropriate direction. This shows the need to oppose religious control of universities, says Keith Sharpe. Read More »

Tags: Education, Universities

Woman wearing trousers

Charity law shouldn’t enable misogyny

Posted: Thu, 17 Jun 2021 by Megan Manson

A Christian organisation which pushes misogynistic messages, including by blaming women for rape, has registered as a charity. This highlights a widespread problem which needs legal reform to address, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Women's rights

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds

The PM's Catholic wedding shows the need for a church-state divorce

Posted: Wed, 09 Jun 2021 by Megan Manson

In light of his Catholic wedding, Boris Johnson has handed over the duty of advising on the appointment of bishops. Megan Manson asks why the prime minister should have any business in church affairs in the first place. Read More »

Tags: Church and State, Disestablishment

Teenager in class

Requires improvement: Ofsted review shows need for a major rethink on RE

Posted: Wed, 02 Jun 2021 by Alastair Lichten

A review has highlighted significant problems with the way RE is taught. Alastair Lichten argues that it shows the need to ask fundamental questions about the purpose of education about religion. Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Children in class

Is the C of E ashamed of discrimination in school admissions?

Posted: Fri, 28 May 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Research suggests the Church of England downplays the extent of religious discrimination in admissions to the schools it runs. Its embarrassment shows the need to end this practice, says Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Discrimination, Education, Faith Schools

Batley Grammar School

The outcome of the Batley investigation is a surrender of liberal principles

Posted: Thu, 27 May 2021 by Stephen Evans

As an investigation into the Batley Grammar affair concludes, Stephen Evans says we should recognise the censorious precedent it has set. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Upset teenage girl

Parents’ religious wishes must not trump children’s safety and education

Posted: Thu, 20 May 2021 by Megan Manson

Every child has been withdrawn from sex education classes at an independent faith school. Megan Manson says the parental right of withdrawal is incompatible with children's right to an education that keeps them safe. Read More »

Tags: Education, Opinion Out Loud, RSE

United Nations flags

The religious threat to global human rights must be taken seriously

Posted: Thu, 20 May 2021 by Keith Porteous Wood

UN efforts to challenge violations of human rights should consider both oppressive laws which theocrats uphold in former colonies and efforts to impose similar agendas further afield, says Keith Porteous Wood. Read More »

Tags: Human rights, Opinion Out Loud, United Nations

Grotesque at Chester Cathedral

Faith universities are an anachronism

Posted: Fri, 14 May 2021 by Keith Sharpe

Churches continue to manage and govern several universities in the UK, enabling discrimination and creating tension between universities' academic purpose and the interests of those who control them, says Keith Sharpe. Read More »

Tags: Education, Universities


The drive for ‘religious literacy’ in the media would undermine press freedom

Posted: Wed, 12 May 2021 by Chris Sloggett

A parliamentary report has called for measures to promote 'religious literacy' in the media - including tighter regulation. Chris Sloggett says we should beware the risks of requiring journalists to tread on eggshells. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Media

Batley Grammar School protesters

The DfE must show leadership when religious hardliners turn on schools

Posted: Thu, 06 May 2021 by Stephen Evans

The start of an investigation into the Batley Grammar affair raises questions over the government's willingness to ensure assertive religious voices don't dictate what happens in classrooms, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression, Opinion Out Loud

Religiosity inspections National Secular Society report

Faith groups have no business inspecting schools

Posted: Fri, 30 Apr 2021 by Stephen Evans

Publicly funded school inspections which enable clerics to exert undue influence should have no place in a modern education system, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Inspections

Catholic priest

Regressive religious demands shouldn't hold sway over political decisions

Posted: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 by Stephen Evans

Much of a pre-election letter from Scotland's Catholic bishops highlights the risks of allowing religious dogma to dictate public policy, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Assisted dying, Catholic Church, Education, Election, Scotland

Women Leaving Islam

Women Leaving Islam: the rights of those who leave religion must be protected

Posted: Wed, 14 Apr 2021 by Helen Nicholls

The film Women Leaving Islam shows the risks facing those who stand up for the fundamental right to leave religion and the ongoing neglect of minorities within minorities in public life, says Helen Nicholls. Read More »

Tags: Ex-Muslim, Freedom from Religion, Opinion Out Loud, Reviews, Women's rights

Coats on pegs primary school

We must find the political will to end discriminatory school admissions

Posted: Mon, 12 Apr 2021 by Alastair Lichten

As families in England prepare to find out which primary schools their children will attend, Alastair Lichten says ending faith-based discrimination would make the admissions system fairer and simpler. Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Education, Faith Schools, admissions

Front page Christmas edition Freethinker 1882

There is nothing new about cartoons which mock religion

Posted: Thu, 08 Apr 2021 by Bob Forder

Religious leaders have long feared irreverent drawings that could challenge their authority. We should remember that amid the latest effort to prevent the use of Muhammad cartoons, says Bob Forder. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, History

Children in class

If Scotland wants to uphold children’s rights, its schools need to change

Posted: Thu, 08 Apr 2021 by Megan Manson

After the Scottish parliament's decision to sign a charter for children's rights into law, Megan Manson says parties in the upcoming election should challenge religious groups' privileged influence over education policy. Read More »

Tags: Children's rights, Education, Scotland

Batley Grammar School protesters

Western liberals’ weakness on blasphemy is letting down Muslim dissenters

Posted: Wed, 31 Mar 2021 by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

The hand-wringing in the face of a vicious campaign against a teacher sends a demoralising message to those fighting for free speech on religion globally and in British Muslim communities, says Kunwar Khuldune Shahid. Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression

Batley Grammar School

A lesson in blasphemy

Posted: Fri, 26 Mar 2021 by Stephen Evans

After a teacher was suspended for showing cartoons of Muhammad in class, NSS CEO Stephen Evans says we shouldn't accept a religious veto on critical enquiry in the classroom. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Abortion rights Northern Ireland

Women in NI should have the same abortion rights as other UK citizens

Posted: Wed, 24 Mar 2021 by Stephen Evans

Other people's religious beliefs shouldn't be allowed to continue to thwart women's access to safe and accessible abortion services in Northern Ireland, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Northern Ireland, Reproductive rights

Welsh Senedd

Ending compulsory worship in schools should be next on the agenda for Wales

Posted: Tue, 16 Mar 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Following major curriculum reforms in Wales, Alastair Lichten argues that the Senedd should now turn its attention to ending the collective worship requirement in schools. Read More »

Tags: Collective Worship, Education, Wales

Any serious counter-extremism strategy should consider religious charities

Any serious counter-extremism strategy should consider religious charities

Posted: Mon, 15 Mar 2021 by Megan Manson

As a commission calls for action to tackle hateful extremism, Megan Manson says changes in the charity sector – including legal reform – would be both helpful and compatible with fundamental liberal principles. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Extremism

School sign

Faith-based school admissions pave the way for sexist and unreasonable demands. It’s time to end them

Posted: Fri, 05 Mar 2021 by Megan Manson

An adjudicator's ruling has exposed the outrageous requirements a state-funded faith school places on pupils and their families. This shows the need to end faith-based discrimination in admissions, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Education, Faith Schools

Boy walking to school

Joint campuses are a cop out in efforts to tackle sectarianism

Posted: Wed, 03 Mar 2021 by Neil Barber

As the Scottish government confirms funding for a new joint campus between a non-denominational school and a Catholic one, Neil Barber says ministers should instead seek a unified, secular education system. Read More »

Tags: Education, Scotland, Sectarianism

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