NSS Opinion

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child: Does its charity benefit the public?

Posted: Wed, 25 Sep 2019 by Megan Manson

Samaritan's Purse is again launching its Christmas shoebox scheme in parts of the UK. The harm done by Operation Christmas Child should prompt a rethink of this Evangelical group's charitable status, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Samaritans Purse

Ephraim Mirvis

The chief rabbi has made an anti-democratic attempt to shut down criticism

Posted: Wed, 18 Sep 2019 by Chris Sloggett

The chief rabbi has asked secularists to stop campaigning against practices such as faith schools and infant circumcision. His apparently polite request should be firmly rejected, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Faith Schools, Freedom of Expression

Baby

A woman is convicted over circumcision. What happens next?

Posted: Fri, 06 Sep 2019 by Megan Manson

A pharmacist has been convicted for having a baby boy circumcised against his parents' wishes. Megan Manson says the case raises alarming questions over our willingness to defend children's bodily integrity consistently. Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Healthcare

Ballot box

Beware moving election dates for religious reasons

Posted: Wed, 04 Sep 2019 by Chris Sloggett

The proposed date for a general election has moved to accommodate a Jewish festival. Chris Sloggett asks whether the government has weighed up all competing considerations before reaching this decision. Read More »

Tags: Politics

Justin Welby

Don't expect the Church of England to unify the country

Posted: Thu, 29 Aug 2019 by Chris Sloggett

The archbishop of Canterbury has been asked to help unify the country during Brexit. Chris Sloggett warns left-leaning MPs against buttressing the power of the Church of England to further their agenda. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England

Remove religious reps

Religious reps’ influence over education is an affront to democracy

Posted: Tue, 27 Aug 2019 by Neil Barber

An NSS report has called for an end to religious appointees on council education committees in Scotland. Neil Barber says it's long past time for these positions to go. Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious reps, Scotland

Defend free speech

Islam, like any other religion, must be fair game for criticism

Posted: Thu, 22 Aug 2019 by Stephen Evans

The disqualification of a GCSE student who criticised halal meat is a reminder of the need to resist censorious offence-taking on Islam and the normalisation of the idea of 'Islamophobia', says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Islamophobia defined

The gatekeepers of public debate can’t patronise away anti-Muslim bigotry

Posted: Thu, 22 Aug 2019 by Chris Sloggett

Adopting a proposed definition of 'Islamophobia' would restrict legitimate speech on Islam and embed a failing approach to anti-Muslim hate. This is the NSS's submission to a series of essays criticising the definition. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam

Child praying

The government must respond to pressure to end compulsory school worship

Posted: Mon, 05 Aug 2019 by Alastair Lichten

As opposition to compulsory worship gathers and its defenders grow increasingly out of touch, Alastair Lichten says ministers should reconsider the law and its implementation. Read More »

Tags: Collective worship, Education, statistics

Lamb

Non-stun slaughter must end on animal welfare grounds

Posted: Thu, 01 Aug 2019 by Dr Joyce D'Silva

Dr Joyce D'Silva of Compassion in World Farming says the organisation campaigns for an end to religious exemptions that allow non-stun slaughter so farm animals are treated as humanely as possible. Read More »

Tags: Animal Welfare, Halal, Kosher, Religious Slaughter

No Outsiders

‘No Outsiders’ offers a vision of tolerance and equality

Posted: Wed, 31 Jul 2019 by Megan Manson

The current wave of religious protests outside schools began with objections to the No Outsiders scheme of work. As its author prepares to give the NSS's Bradlaugh Lecture, Megan Manson asks what the fuss was about. Read More »

Tags: Education, LGBTQ rights, RSE

Nick Bourne

The ‘minister for faith’ shouldn’t be replaced

Posted: Tue, 30 Jul 2019 by Stephen Evans

After the minister for faith's resignation, Stephen Evans says this unnecessary role enables the government to promote a positive view of religion and should be abandoned. Read More »

Tags: Religious privilege

Classroom

The new education secretary must resist the reactionary campaign against RSE

Posted: Thu, 25 Jul 2019 by Alastair Lichten

The campaign against inclusive relationships and sex education risks spreading from the school gates to sympathetic faith school authorities. Alastair Lichten argues the government must act now to save the subject. Read More »

Tags: Education, LGBTQ rights, RSE

Council meeting

Prayers aren't appropriate in the public realm

Posted: Thu, 25 Jul 2019 by Stephen Evans

As Brighton's new mayor comes under fire for abolishing prayers at council meetings, Stephen Evans argues that Britain's growing indifference to religion should prompt a rethink of religion's public role. Read More »

Tags: Council prayers, Prayers

Crying baby

Charity law shouldn't support infant genital cutting

Posted: Tue, 23 Jul 2019 by Megan Manson

The existence of religious charities that support and facilitate infant circumcision demonstrates the urgent need to reform charity law, argues Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Circumcision

Repeal blasphemy laws

Why won’t the government condemn the existence of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws?

Posted: Thu, 18 Jul 2019 by Chris Sloggett

Ministers keep condemning the "misuse" of Pakistan's blasphemy laws in response to parliamentary questions. But the 'misuse' of indefensible laws isn't the issue – the existence of them is, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression

Newspapers

Blasphemy culture mustn’t undermine freedom of the press

Posted: Thu, 11 Jul 2019 by Chris Sloggett

The press regulator is consulting on guidelines which will inform the way stories about Islam and Muslims are reported. It must not endorse taboos which shut down debate and harm social cohesion, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Media

Same-sex relationship

Why are we letting faith schools stigmatise same-sex relationships?

Posted: Thu, 11 Jul 2019 by Megan Manson

Ofsted penalises schools that refuse to teach about LGBT people, but seems to ignore other schools that teach same-sex relationships are morally wrong. Megan Manson says this double standard needs to end. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith schools, RSE

Doctor and patient

Doctors who favour legalisation of assisted dying deserve a hearing

Posted: Thu, 04 Jul 2019 by Dr Antony Lempert

As more doctors' groups consult their members on assisted dying and parliament debates the issue, Dr Antony Lempert says the challenge to the status quo, which is propped up by religious interests, is welcome. Read More »

Tags: Assisted dying, Healthcare

Prince William

Equality for LGBT people requires a secular head of state

Posted: Thu, 27 Jun 2019 by Chris Sloggett

Prince William's comments on supporting his children if they are gay should be treated with much less significance than the fact he is due to lead an established church which obstructs LGBT equality, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, LGBT rights, Monarchy

IICSA report is a damning indictment of Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse

IICSA report is a damning indictment of Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse

Posted: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 by Richard Scorer

The latest Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse report scotches once and for all the idea that Catholic safeguarding has been transformed, says Richard Scorer. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Transgender and intersex

What might Catholic schools teach about transgender and intersex people?

Posted: Fri, 14 Jun 2019 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson examines a new document outlining the Catholic Church's position on issues relating to sex and gender, and explains how this may lead to conflict in Catholic Schools. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Education, Faith Schools, RSE

Sara Khan

Countering the threat to religious freedom and of religious extremism

Posted: Wed, 12 Jun 2019 by Sara Khan

Countering extremism requires a whole-society response to uphold and promote democratic norms and principles and encourage debate and dialogue, says the lead commissioner for countering extremism Sara Khan. Read More »

Tags: Extremism

Child

Protecting children means challenging religious privilege

Posted: Fri, 07 Jun 2019 by Chris Sloggett

A report on child abuse in religious settings should prompt us to reconsider our relationship with religious institutions and their constitutional privileges and our wider attitude towards religion, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse

Sexual freedom and secularism have always gone hand in hand

Sexual freedom and secularism have always gone hand in hand

Posted: Fri, 07 Jun 2019 by Stephen Evans

Stephen Evans says religious concerns weren't a good reason to restrict understanding of birth control in Victorian England and they aren't a good reason to undermine relationships and sex education today. Read More »

Tags: Education, Equality & Human Rights, LGBTQ Rights

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