NSS Opinion

Time to end criminality and cover-up in the Catholic Church

Time to end criminality and cover-up in the Catholic Church

Posted: Mon, 12 Nov 2018 by Richard Scorer

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has turned its attention to abuse in the Catholic Church's archdiocese of Birmingham. Richard Scorer delivered the following opening statement on behalf of several victims.

I represent 29 victims of sexual abuse... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Review: The Children Act

Review: The Children Act

Posted: Thu, 08 Nov 2018 by Emma Park

Emma Park says Ian McEwan's book and the film it has inspired prompt the questions of what the state should do when a young person's religion conflicts with their welfare, and how this affects religious freedom.

This review contains spoilers.

Does the state... Read More »

Tags: Children's rights & welfare, Jehovah's Witnesses, Religious freedom, Reviews

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

European ruling that ‘religious feelings’ trump free speech is a dangerous development

Posted: Fri, 26 Oct 2018 by Stephen Evans

Just as Irish citizens strike a blow for the right to freedom of expression, the European Court has fundamentally undermined it, argues Stephen Evans.

Irish voters decided this week to remove the 'crime' of blasphemy from its constitution. The majority of citizens,... Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression, Islam

We must resist both religious hatred and its weaponisation

We must resist both religious hatred and its weaponisation

Posted: Thu, 18 Oct 2018 by Alastair Lichten

After a sharp rise in reported crimes in which religious hatred was a factor, Alastair Lichten says liberal democracies should challenge hatred and bigotry while resisting attempts to silence ideas.

According to new figures from the Home Office there were 94,098... Read More »

Tags: Anti-Muslim bigotry, Anti-Semitism, Ex-Muslim, Freedom of Expression, Hate crime

Why are harmful charities registered at all?

Why are harmful charities registered at all?

Posted: Fri, 12 Oct 2018 by Megan Manson

The revelation that Amazon funds extremist religious charities is the tip of the iceberg. Our charity system has deep problems, in part stemming from the presumption that religion is a public good, says Megan Manson.

On paper, it's hard to find fault with Amazon... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Extremism

The questionable ethics of evangelical debt advice

The questionable ethics of evangelical debt advice

Posted: Fri, 05 Oct 2018 by Stephen Evans

The good deeds of faith-based organisations shouldn't lead us to turn a blind eye to their more ethically dubious practices, argues Stephen Evans.

Personal debt in the UK has reached epic proportions. Millions of households are living beyond their means with... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Christianity, Public services

Don’t let mixed-sex civil partnerships distract from the need for marriage reform

Don’t let mixed-sex civil partnerships distract from the need for marriage reform

Posted: Wed, 03 Oct 2018 by Chris Sloggett

Campaigners' elation at the arrival of opposite-sex civil partnerships is understandable, says Chris Sloggett. But beware politicians using it to excuse their failure to loosen the Church of England's grip on marriage.

It's hard to begrudge Rebecca Steinfeld... Read More »

Tags: Marriage, Marriage Equality

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: Circumcision, FGM, Healthcare

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: Community Cohesion, Public Services

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

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: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

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 & State, Church of England

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: Chaplaincy, Freedom of Expression, Universities

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: Child Abuse, Church of England

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: Blasphemy, Pakistan, 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: Child Abuse, Church of England

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: Church of England, Education, 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. Read More »

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

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

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