NSS Opinion

Secularism is a challenge to religion’s political power and privilege, not people of faith

Secularism is a challenge to religion’s political power and privilege, not people of faith

Posted: Fri, 22 Dec 2017 by Stephen Evans

Some Christians use the Christmas period to attack secularism for its challenge to their sense of entitlement. But Stephen Evans says the faithful have far more to fear from religious fanatics than secularists.

Buying a copy of the Christmas edition of the... Read More »

Tags: Christmas, Christianity, Secularism

Only reform of the law can tackle the Church's temptation to cover up abuse

Only reform of the law can tackle the Church's temptation to cover up abuse

Posted: Fri, 15 Dec 2017 by Richard Scorer

Richard Scorer reflects on three weeks of damning evidence at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. He says mandatory reporting of institutional abuse is necessary to prevent churches from covering it up to protect their reputation.

For the past... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church

The Christian ‘legal army’ in hundreds of court battles worldwide

The Christian ‘legal army’ in hundreds of court battles worldwide

Posted: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 by Claire Provost & Ella Milburn

Women's rights advocates say the US legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom is "exporting extreme ideologies worldwide" against sexual and reproductive rights. Claire Provost and Ella Milburn investigate.

The international wing of a controversial US... Read More »

Tags: Gender Equality, Equality & Human Rights, Christianity

Pakistan’s capitulation to extremists sets a dangerous precedent

Pakistan’s capitulation to extremists sets a dangerous precedent

Posted: Thu, 07 Dec 2017 by Basit Mahmood

Pakistan's government, military and opposition parties have given in to the demands of a fundamentalist mob. Basit Mahmood says this is a blow to those who wish to remain true to the secular vision of Pakistan's founder.

"You are free; you are free to go to... Read More »

Tags: Pakistan, Islamism, Theocracy

Only secularism can defeat the emboldened Hindu right

Only secularism can defeat the emboldened Hindu right

Posted: Fri, 01 Dec 2017 by Chris Sloggett

Violent threats look set to censor a film which was due for UK release today. It's the latest sign of rising Hindu fundamentalism. In response, Chris Sloggett says, we must make sure no religion gets special treatment.

The makers of the Bollywood historical... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Secularism, Hindu Nationalism, Caste

Home schooling debate must prompt wider discussion of children’s rights

Home schooling debate must prompt wider discussion of children’s rights

Posted: Thu, 30 Nov 2017 by Alastair Lichten

As supporters of a new Bill aim to see home schooling in England registered for the first time, education and schools campaigner Alastair Lichten says children's independent rights must receive greater focus.

NSS honorary associate Lord Soley aims to register... Read More »

Tags: Education, Home schooling, Unregistered schools

A lesson in silencing dissent: the controversy of hijab in schools

A lesson in silencing dissent: the controversy of hijab in schools

Posted: Tue, 28 Nov 2017 by Yasmin Rehman

Yasmin Rehman was among campaigners who recently met Ofsted's chief inspector to discuss veiling in schools. Now, she writes, some powerful Muslims are making sinister efforts to silence her and her fellow activists.

As I prepared to mark the International... Read More »

Tags: Education, Islam, Gender Equality

Big ideas for religious education?

Big ideas for religious education?

Posted: Thu, 23 Nov 2017 by Alastair Lichten

The latest report into the problems with religious education reiterates the need to start with a fundamental examination of the subject's purpose. But, Alastair Lichten wonders, do the proposals go far enough?

The Commission on RE is currently consulting on... Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Our business was harassed by Christian fundamentalists – now it’s the best known in Lewis

Our business was harassed by Christian fundamentalists – now it’s the best known in Lewis

Posted: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 by Martin Flett

The National Secular Society recently reported the case of Leona Rawlinson, the owner of TweedTastic in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Leona was being harassed by sabbatarians over her decision to open her shop on Sundays. The story was picked up by several... Read More »

Tags: Scotland, Sabbatarianism

State recognition of Islamic nikah marriages is no way to empower Muslim women

State recognition of Islamic nikah marriages is no way to empower Muslim women

Posted: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 by Sadikur Rahman

Most women in the UK who have Islamic weddings are missing out on their legal rights. The solution to this problem must not lie in the automatic registration of Islamic marriages, argues Sadikur Rahman.

Channel 4's documentary The Truth about Muslim Marriage... Read More »

Tags: Islam, Marriage

Who controls religious education?

Who controls religious education?

Posted: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 by Stephen Evans

Necessary reforms of religious education are being frustrated by religion's lingering influence. It's time to liberate RE from the vested interests, argues Stephen Evans.

Religious education in England faces "a perilous future" unless it is subject to "strategic,... Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

De facto blasphemy laws are alive and well

De facto blasphemy laws are alive and well

Posted: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 by Chris Sloggett

It is now 38 years since Monty Python's Life of Brian was released in November 1979, despite protests. But Chris Sloggett says we aren't truly free to engage in blasphemy today.

It is now 38 years since Monty Python's Life of Brian was released in November... Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Blasphemy

The folly of the civil service’s ‘faith and belief champion’

The folly of the civil service’s ‘faith and belief champion’

Posted: Wed, 15 Nov 2017 by Chris Sloggett

A new civil service appointment may be intended to promote 'inclusion'. But insistently bringing religion into the workplace will only serve to promote it and encourage an assertive form of selfishness at public expense, says Chris Sloggett.

If a decision is... Read More »

Tags: Public Services, Religion & Belief, Religious privilege

Interfaith must embrace secularism

Interfaith must embrace secularism

Posted: Mon, 13 Nov 2017 by Megan Manson

Interfaith Week is underway. Megan Manson says interfaith dialogue must embrace secularist principles to remain relevant, effective and inclusive.

Interfaith, the constructive dialogue between people of different faiths in order to promote mutual understanding,... Read More »

Tags: Secularism, Religion & Belief

The 'war on Christmas' is coming

The 'war on Christmas' is coming

Posted: Fri, 10 Nov 2017 by Alastair Lichten

The myth of a culture war on Christmas may be comical and its claims endlessly debunked, but its promotion is part of a campaign for Christian supremacy, argues Alastair Lichten.

It's coming… the 'WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!' You've been warned: the seasonal... Read More »

Tags: Christmas, 'Militant' Secularism, 'Christianophobia', Christianity

Whence secularism in Africa?

Whence secularism in Africa?

Posted: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 by Leo Igwe

Secularism and controversies regarding the relationship between religion and state have deep roots in Africa's socio–political history, but are increasingly relevant to many pressing human rights issues, argues Leo Igwe.

Recently, the relationship between... Read More »

Tags: Secularism, Africa, Religious Freedom, Freedom from Religion

Abuse Inquiry to investigate Benedictine institutions

Abuse Inquiry to investigate Benedictine institutions

Posted: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 by Richard Scorer

An upcoming hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse will be an opportunity to examine the reality behind the Catholic Church's claims that it has transformed its approach to child protection, says Richard Scorer.

At the end of November, the... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Protecting freedom of belief for the many and the few

Protecting freedom of belief for the many and the few

Posted: Mon, 23 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

Ahead of International Freedom of Religion or Belief Day, Megan Manson looks at democratic secularism's changing role in an age of the non-religious minority and rising diversity.

In the past, those who have given their greatest support for secularism have... Read More »

Tags: Religious Freedom, Freedom from Religion, Religion & Belief, Secularisation

To spank or not to spank – a biblical right?

To spank or not to spank – a biblical right?

Posted: Sat, 21 Oct 2017 by Alistair McBay

With Christian groups leading the opposition to Scotland's new smacking ban, Alistair McBay explores the many instances of Christian schools and campaigners demanding the ability to spank children as a religious or even biblical right.

This week the Scottish... Read More »

Tags: Scotland

Book review: ‘The rage: the vicious circle of Islamist and far-right extremism’

Book review: ‘The rage: the vicious circle of Islamist and far-right extremism’

Posted: Tue, 17 Oct 2017 by Dale Claridge

Julia Ebner's new book explores the symbiotic relationship between Islamist and (other) far right extremism, how Islamist and anti-Muslim narratives feed each other, and how we can challenge both.

While its roots predate 2001, Islamist terrorism has plagued... Read More »

Tags: Reviews, Extremism, Anti-Muslim bigotry, Sectarianism

Al-Hijrah School ruling: The fight to end segregation has only just begun

Al-Hijrah School ruling: The fight to end segregation has only just begun

Posted: Sat, 14 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

The ruling that an Islamic faith school's policy of gender segregation is unlawful should force us to have have a broader conversation about the religious segregation and inequality our children face in UK schools, argues Megan Manson

Make no mistake: the ruling... Read More »

Tags: Education, Gender Equality

Religious Right supports state backed prayers, until they’re Islamic

Religious Right supports state backed prayers, until they’re Islamic

Posted: Thu, 12 Oct 2017 by Paul Lusk

Claims of ecumenicalism and pluralism are often used to smuggle exclusively Christian privilege into public institutions. Christian secularist Paul Lusk asks what we should do about that.

Christian Concern has criticised Oldham council for holding Islamic prayers... Read More »

Tags: Council Prayers, Islam, Christianity, Religious Right

UNESCO: Putting religious privilege above gender equality

UNESCO: Putting religious privilege above gender equality

Posted: Wed, 11 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

UNESCO says gender equality is one of its top priorities. But Megan Manson says it is protecting misogynistic attitudes by awarding World Heritage Status to religious sites that practise sexual discrimination.

As the UK's United Nations Universal Periodic Review... Read More »

Tags: Gender Equality, United Nations, Discrimination

Book review: ‘The Jesus Candidate: Political religion in a secular age’

Book review: ‘The Jesus Candidate: Political religion in a secular age’

Posted: Fri, 06 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson and Alastair Lichten consider the importance of the Christian secularist view in James Paul Lusk's book. Lusk argues that attempts to re-establish Christian religious privilege and roll back equalities, undermine true religious freedom.

Thoughts... Read More »

Tags: Reviews, Christianity

Secularism and National Libraries Week #LibraryLetters

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.

Our public services – the majority of which are thankfully free from religious discrimination... Read More »

Tags: Secularism, Libraries

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