NSS Opinion

Secularism and National Libraries Week #LibraryLetters

Posted: Thu, 05 Oct 2017 by Alastair Lichten

Ahead of Libraries Week 2017 Alastair Lichten argues that libraries' values of free expression and pluralism illustrate how a vibrant secular democracy should work. Read More »

Tags: Secularism, Libraries

'British values': a source of unity in polarised times

Posted: Thu, 05 Oct 2017 by Lottie Moore

Efforts to promote 'British values' in schools are being criticised, mainly on account of their name, but these four clear values already underpin our education, and are something to which we should aspire, argues Lottie Moore. Read More »

Tags: British values, Education, Community Cohesion

The legacy of decades of abuse in a Catholic children's home

Posted: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 by Mark Boules

Hundreds of children died at Smyllum Park, a home in Lanarkshire run by the Catholic Church between 1864 and 1981. Mark Boules reflects on what is left after decades of abuse at the home. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church, Scotland

Lessons from the frontline of Islamic fundamentalism

Posted: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson explores autobiographies by two Muslim secularists whose lives have been directly intertwined with Islamist extremism, and asks if the secular pluralism extremists most fear could be our best hope. Read More »

Tags: Reviews, Islam, Secularism, Education, Terrorism

Britain should embrace secularism as it loses its religion

Posted: Fri, 08 Sep 2017 by Chris Sloggett

As new data suggests non-belief is at a record high, Chris Sloggett says secularists should be more assertive in making the case for freedom of and from religion. Read More »

Tags: British values, Secularism, Religious privilege, Religious Right

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's cover-up of child abusers must be a lesson to the Catholic Church

Posted: Fri, 08 Sep 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

Cormac Murphy O'Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster, died on 1 September. NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood seeks to set the historical record straight with this alternative obituary. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Beware the drip drip of religious exemptions

Posted: Sat, 02 Sep 2017 by Stephen Evans

As a theme park lifts its ban on Sikh ceremonial swords, NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans questions the wisdom behind religious exemptions from generally applicable rules. Read More »

Tags: Multiculturalism, Secularism, One law for all

Ireland’s hospitals: some welcome secularisation

Posted: Fri, 01 Sep 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood detects a long-overdue and decisive turn towards secularism in publicly funded healthcare in Ireland, an area in which the Catholic Church has until now been predominant. Read More »

Tags: Ireland, Healthcare, Catholic Church

The confessional shouldn’t shield child abuse from reporting

Posted: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

The Australian abuse commission is right not to exempt the confessional from reporting obligations, and its rigour should provide a model to reverse the backsliding already all too clear in the UK, argues Keith Porteous Wood. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church, Australia

Newcastle: what's faith got to do with it?

Posted: Thu, 10 Aug 2017 by Yasmin Rehman

A group of mainly Muslim men has been convicted for sexual abuse in another British city. Amid a predictable response, Yasmin Rehman says child protection does not require the involvement of faith groups or 'community leaders'. Read More »

Tags: Islam, Child Abuse, Secularism, Multiculturalism, Faith groups

Food for thought! Imposing worship in Australian schools

Posted: Thu, 10 Aug 2017 by A Parent

Blinkers go on when people talk about religion. So one parent in a Queensland school thought she would use food to explain the impact of the school's version of 'inclusiveness'. The school tells her that her child can go somewhere else while the prayer is being said. The picture is of the prayer recited at the regular assembly. Read More »

Tags: Australia, Religious privilege, Collective Worship, Parents Perspective

Sam Brownback: Trump’s new man is no fan of religious freedom

Posted: Wed, 09 Aug 2017 by Chris Sloggett

The record of President Trump's new nominee exposes the hypocrisy of the US religious right. Chris Sloggett argues that its opponents must challenge the ingrained assumption that faith is a good thing. Read More »

Tags: USA, Christianity, Religion & Belief, Freedom from Religion, Religious right

The BBC is overdoing religion

Posted: Mon, 31 Jul 2017 by Terry Sanderson

New figures show that the BBC is devoting hundreds of hours of programming to religion each year. NSS president Terry Sanderson argues that more of its scarce resources should be spent elsewhere.

BBC1 - 88 hours (last year 92 hours)

Tags: BBC, Media, Statistics

Church of England’s links with insurer undermines justice for survivors of clergy abuse

Posted: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

Anglican abuse victims believe the Church's close links with its insurer results in lower settlements to victims. NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood thinks they've got a point, and offers solutions to put things right. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, Child Abuse

Intolerant religion mustn’t dictate England’s education policy

Posted: Wed, 26 Jul 2017 by Stephen Evans

The government is under fire over proposals to lift the cap on faith-based admissions in faith schools. Stephen Evans says the plans should be abandoned - and religious groups' role in education rolled back. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Church & State, Fifty percent cap, admissions

Never mind joining SACREs, we should be abolishing them

Posted: Fri, 21 Jul 2017 by Keith Sharpe

A parent's legal challenge to the exclusion of a humanist representative from the local body responsible for overseeing religious education highlights the need for urgent reform of this contested area of the curriculum, argues Keith Sharpe.

Tags: Education, Religious education, Secularism

The PM must be held to account for her faith school obsession

Posted: Thu, 20 Jul 2017 by Chris Sloggett

Theresa May's plans to expand faith schools in Britain are ill-judged. In response, Chris Sloggett argues, it is up to secularists to make a principled case: state education must be grounded in reason and free intellectual enquiry. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Community Cohesion

Separate is not equal ­– not in this ‘faith’ school

Posted: Tue, 11 Jul 2017 by Stephen Evans

Turning a blind eye to discriminatory gender discrimination in Islamic schools would be disaster for future generations of British girls growing up in Muslim communities, argues Stephen Evans.

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Gender Equality

The greater the religious fervency, the greater the homophobia

Posted: Fri, 07 Jul 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

On Pride weekend, NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood highlights the interconnectedness between the fight for secularism and equality for LGBTQ people

Tags: LGBTQ rights, Equality & Human Rights

The Church can’t be allowed to carry on marking its own homework

Posted: Sun, 25 Jun 2017 by Richard Scorer

The Church concealed evidence of criminality and colluded to protect an abusive bishop. Only external oversight will guarantee that church safeguarding practices comply with secular standards, argues Richard Scorer. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Child Abuse, George Carey

Anti-Muslim hate must be challenged. Silencing criticism of Islam won’t help

Posted: Fri, 23 Jun 2017 by Stephen Evans

Both the Government and civil-society have a role to play in challenging anti-Muslim hate, but efforts to silence criticisms of Islam will only be counterproductive, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Anti-Muslim Bigotry, sectarianism

Abortion ruling is a missed opportunity to recognise the disparity in women’s reproductive health rights across the UK

Posted: Thu, 15 Jun 2017 by Dr Antony Lempert

Ensuring that NHS abortion services are made available, free of charge, to UK citizens travelling from Northern Ireland would be a way of mitigating the harm caused by a disparity in women's reproductive health rights across the UK, argues Dr Antony Lempert. Read More »

Tags: Gender Equality, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights, Abortion

Was Tim Farron a secularist?

Posted: Thu, 15 Jun 2017 by Terry Sanderson

Tim Farron was a classic secularist, but found himself unable to reconcile his personal faith and his party's socially liberal positions and made his own choice, argues Terry Sanderson. Read More »

Tags: LibDem Party, Politics, GE2017

Scottish care provider’s decision to drop faith test should prompt a rethink over equality exceptions

Posted: Tue, 13 Jun 2017 by Stephen Evans

When religious organisations are delivering state-funded public services they should neither discriminate nor proselytize – argues Stephen Evans, looking at the case of CrossReach and its implications.

Tags: Public Services, Discrimination

“Glastonbury of Freethinkers”: conference on freedom of conscience and expression

Posted: Mon, 12 Jun 2017 by Maryam Namazie

Saturday 22 – Monday 24 July will see activists from around the world gather for a weekend of discussions and debates on freedom of conscience and expression in the 21st century. Maryam Namazie tells us why it is such an important event. Read More »

Tags: Events