NSS Opinion

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

China's religious persecution is a secularist issue

China's religious persecution is a secularist issue

Posted: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 by Stephen Evans

China may be the most godless country in the world, but it is far from being a secular one. Stephen Evans says the intensifying religious persecution in the repressive state must be condemned.

China is by far the most godless country in the world. According... Read More »

Tags: Religious freedom, Freedom of Religion, China, Secularism

Why we must reclaim religious freedom

Why we must reclaim religious freedom

Posted: Wed, 12 Sep 2018 by National Secular Society

There is an urgent case for resisting those who claim the mantle of 'religious freedom' without regard for others' rights and freedoms. Here's why our Secularism 2019 conference will be held under the tagline 'reclaiming religious freedom'.

"Everyone has the... Read More »

Tags: Secularism 2019, Religious freedom, Freedom from Religion, Freedom of Expression, Healthcare, LGBTQ rights

The Catholic Church’s record on abuse demands accountability, not more meaningless apologies

The Catholic Church’s record on abuse demands accountability, not more meaningless apologies

Posted: Fri, 24 Aug 2018 by Keith Porteous Wood

As the pope prepares to visit Ireland, NSS president Keith Porteous Wood says the international community must confront the Vatican over its shameful record on child abuse and demand action to bring secular justice.

Forty years ago, mass attendance per capita... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church

Religious power and privilege failed the victims in the Peter Ball affair

Religious power and privilege failed the victims in the Peter Ball affair

Posted: Sat, 11 Aug 2018 by Keith Porteous Wood

In this long read NSS president Keith Porteous Wood explains how all arms of the law co-operated to protect the now former bishop Peter Ball for decades and refutes claims that "it couldn't happen now".

Peter Ball started misusing his religious power to sexually... Read More »

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

Child protection must come before the reputation of institutions like Ampleforth and Downside

Child protection must come before the reputation of institutions like Ampleforth and Downside

Posted: Thu, 09 Aug 2018 by Richard Scorer

Richard Scorer says a damning report on two leading Catholic schools' approach to safeguarding is a reminder of the need for a law mandating the reporting of suspected child abuse to the secular authorities.

At the end of 2017 the Independent Inquiry into Child... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Do burka bans do more harm than good?

Do burka bans do more harm than good?

Posted: Thu, 02 Aug 2018 by Stephen Evans

As Denmark's ban on face coverings in public comes into force, Stephen Evans says standing up for fundamental rights and freedoms is the best way to push back against the oppression the burka represents.

Denmark became the latest country to "ban the burka"... Read More »

Tags: Burka/veil, Islam

Universities must commit to free expression – and they should stop hiring religious chaplains

Universities must commit to free expression – and they should stop hiring religious chaplains

Posted: Thu, 02 Aug 2018 by Chris Sloggett

A chaplain should not have been sacked for criticising Pride off campus, says Chris Sloggett. But universities can strike a blow for free speech and critical enquiry if they stop appointing religious representatives.

It is both impossible and undesirable to... Read More »

Tags: Universities, Chaplaincy, Freedom of Expression

Anglicanism's 'purple circle' of bishops cannot be trusted over child abuse

Anglicanism's 'purple circle' of bishops cannot be trusted over child abuse

Posted: Sat, 28 Jul 2018 by Keith Porteous Wood

NSS president Keith Porteous Wood reflects on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse's hearings into the case of the abusive bishop Peter Ball.

Under the guise of schemes with names such as "Give a Year to God", former Church of England bishop Peter... Read More »

Tags: Church of England, Child Abuse

Pakistan’s elections will mean little for minorities and secularists

Pakistan’s elections will mean little for minorities and secularists

Posted: Wed, 25 Jul 2018 by Basit Mahmood

Religious hardliners have pushed both frontrunners in Pakistan's elections to the right – and neither is prepared to stand up to them, says Basit Mahmood.

Change is in the air according to those campaigning in Pakistan's elections, as Imran Khan campaigns... Read More »

Tags: Pakistan, Blasphemy, Religious freedom

The Church of England provided the perfect cover for Peter Ball’s offending

The Church of England provided the perfect cover for Peter Ball’s offending

Posted: Mon, 23 Jul 2018 by Richard Scorer

Opening statement by lawyer Richard Scorer of Slater and Gordon, also an NSS vice president, at the IICSA inquiry's hearings into the case of Peter Ball, the former bishop of Gloucester.

Chair and members of the panel: Mr O'Donnell and I represent five survivors... Read More »

Tags: Church of England, Child Abuse

Church schools are faith schools. Pretending otherwise is dishonest

Church schools are faith schools. Pretending otherwise is dishonest

Posted: Fri, 20 Jul 2018 by Alastair Lichten

The Church of England's pretence that 'its' schools aren't faith schools is a dishonest attempt to avoid association with the unpopularity of faith-based schooling, and at odds with their actual policy, argues Alastair Lichten.

When the term 'faith school'... Read More »

Tags: Education, Church of England, Faith Schools

Sectarian schooling is nothing to celebrate

Sectarian schooling is nothing to celebrate

Posted: Fri, 13 Jul 2018 by Stephen Evans

Integrating schools isn't a magic bullet to end sectarianism, but no serious attempt to address the issue can ignore the role of religiously segregated schools, argues Stephen Evans.

Last week, as Catholic worshippers were leaving Saturday evening Mass in Glasgow... Read More »

Tags: Faith Schools, Sectarianism

I was concerned about proselytisation on a school trip – and the school listened

I was concerned about proselytisation on a school trip – and the school listened

Posted: Thu, 12 Jul 2018 by A Parent

Sometimes concerns regarding religious interference in education can be easily resolved, simply through clear and polite conversations with the school. A parent shares her recent experiences working together with her school to stop educational trips to a church... Read More »

Tags: Education, Evangelism in schools

Ten years on from the abolition of blasphemy, free speech still needs defending

Ten years on from the abolition of blasphemy, free speech still needs defending

Posted: Wed, 11 Jul 2018 by Stephen Evans

Marking ten years since the criminal offence of blasphemy was abolished in England and Wales, Stephen Evans argues that the freedom to speak critically about beliefs others hold sacred is far from assured.

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the abolition... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Seven secularist steps that would strengthen democracy in the UK

Seven secularist steps that would strengthen democracy in the UK

Posted: Wed, 04 Jul 2018 by Megan Manson

In recognition of National Democracy Week 2018, Megan Manson reflects on what still needs to be changed to make the UK a truly democratic, secular state.

This year's National Democracy Week is special because it also commemorates the 90th anniversary of the... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Secularism, Church of England, Faith Schools, Council prayers, Head of state, One law for all, Freedom of Expression

The seal of the confessional and child abuse: a religious privilege too far

The seal of the confessional and child abuse: a religious privilege too far

Posted: Mon, 25 Jun 2018 by Richard Scorer

Some clerics want exemptions from reporting requirements on abuse when it's revealed in the confessional. Accommodating their demands would undermine efforts to tackle child abuse, says Richard Scorer.

The controversy over the seal of confessional in clerical... Read More »

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

A Christian theatre company promoted abstinence in my daughter’s school. It was worth challenging it

A Christian theatre company promoted abstinence in my daughter’s school. It was worth challenging it

Posted: Mon, 25 Jun 2018 by A Parent

A parent says it was important to challenge a school's decision to invite a Christian charity to perform a show with a pro-abstinence message under the guise of sex education.

Recently I received a letter from my daughter's school (a local authority-run comprehensive... Read More »

Tags: Education, RSE, Evangelism in schools

The British people deserve better than the fawning over Michael Curry

The British people deserve better than the fawning over Michael Curry

Posted: Thu, 21 Jun 2018 by Chris Sloggett

As a poll shows public ambivalence to a much-hyped sermon at the royal wedding, Chris Sloggett says the fuss around Michael Curry has distracted from an opportunity to ask critical questions about religion's public role.

In March the Independent Inquiry into... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England

It’s worth knowing why more Muslims are leaving faith behind

It’s worth knowing why more Muslims are leaving faith behind

Posted: Tue, 19 Jun 2018 by Fiyaz Mughal

A new book reveals a substantive movement of people choosing to leave Islam. Fiyaz Mughal, its co-editor, reflects on the stories it tells and the importance of mutual respect and empathy between Muslims and ex-Muslims.

I have worked with communities for over... Read More »

Tags: Ex-Muslim, Islam

God, Guys and Guns. A review of The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

God, Guys and Guns. A review of The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Posted: Thu, 14 Jun 2018 by Emma Park

Emma Park on what Margaret Atwood's modern dystopian classic (and its TV adaptation) tells us about the relationship between theocracy, gender and self-identity.

The Handmaid's Tale is Margaret Atwood's contribution to the twentieth-century tradition of dystopian... Read More »

Tags: Reviews, Theocracy

Bishop Rachel’s prejudiced thinking highlights the problem of state-sponsored religion

Bishop Rachel’s prejudiced thinking highlights the problem of state-sponsored religion

Posted: Wed, 13 Jun 2018 by Stephen Evans

The bishop of Gloucester is entitled to question whether atheists can truly have deep love or hope, writes Stephen Evans. But the state shouldn't indulge the view that the religious are morally superior to others.

The bishop of Gloucester drew criticism this... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, Disestablishment, Christianity

Religion and politics – the discrepancy at the heart of our schools

Religion and politics – the discrepancy at the heart of our schools

Posted: Tue, 12 Jun 2018 by Alastair Lichten

Schools are forbidden from promoting, showing favouritism to or discriminating on the grounds of partisan politics. Alastair Lichten asks why partisan religious beliefs are treated so differently.

Sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996 (applying to... Read More »

Tags: Education, Politics, Faith Schools

Just how equal is marriage now?

Just how equal is marriage now?

Posted: Sun, 10 Jun 2018 by Megan Manson

After the NSS revealed the extra hassle and expense involved in arranging same-sex and non-religious weddings in England and Wales, Megan Manson calls for marriage to be made a civil affair in the eyes of the law.

The institution of marriage has radically transformed.... Read More »

Tags: Marriage, Marriage Equality

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