NSS Opinion

Northern Ireland education review inclusion children at school

NI’s education review is a golden chance to take a stand for inclusion

Posted: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 by Alastair Lichten

Alastair Lichten says a review of education provision in Northern Ireland must be willing to challenge entrenched religious interests to deliver on ambitions for a more efficient and inclusive system. Read More »

Tags: Education, Northern Ireland

Children at school faith schools

The evidence against faith schools is overwhelming

Posted: Tue, 23 Feb 2021 by Steven Kettell and Rebecca Vernon

A comprehensive new bank of academic research shows how shaky the main arguments for faith schools are, say its authors Steven Kettell and Rebecca Vernon. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Tuam Bon Secours mother and baby home mass grave

Ireland's mother and baby homes scandal shows the necessity of separating church and state

Posted: Fri, 05 Feb 2021 by Keith Porteous Wood

The misery which women and children faced for decades highlights the damage that can be done when states leave religious authority unchecked, says NSS president Keith Porteous Wood. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child abuse, Ireland, Women's rights

Tandav film

Religious censorship is about ownership

Posted: Tue, 02 Feb 2021 by Megan Manson

Theocratic demands for censorship in India and Pakistan reflect attempts to grab power which undermine everyone's religious freedom, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Hindu Nationalism, Islamism

Christian nationalism in US Capitol riot

Christian nationalism is a key part of Trump’s legacy

Posted: Thu, 21 Jan 2021 by Alastair Lichten

As the US presidency changes hands, Alastair Lichten argues that understanding Christian nationalism is essential to understanding Donald Trump's legacy and its consequences for the world. Read More »

Tags: Christian Right, Opinion Out Loud, USA

Children in class

Our school – and community – were severely disadvantaged by our C of E status

Posted: Wed, 20 Jan 2021 by John Mapperley

Former headteacher John Mapperley says the school he ran was given a vastly reduced range of options when considering academy status – and he believes the church puts its own interests above those of pupils. Read More »

Tags: Faith schools, academisation

Religious conversion

Religious conversion isn’t a charitable endeavour

Posted: Thu, 14 Jan 2021 by Megan Manson

Some registered charities exist primarily to convert members of one religion to another. Megan Manson says such activity is harmful to community cohesion – and shouldn't be treated as a valid charitable purpose. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Community Cohesion, Opinion Out Loud

Charlie Hebdo cartoon

"Being offended is the price we pay for living in a free society": NSS CEO talks to Charlie Hebdo

Posted: Thu, 14 Jan 2021 by Charlie Hebdo

NSS chief executive Stephen Evans was interviewed in a recent edition of Charlie Hebdo which marked six years since the attack on its staff. The interview is reproduced here in English. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression

Church open sign

The lockdown exemption for communal worship represents a dangerous double standard

Posted: Tue, 05 Jan 2021 by Stephen Evans

With the country again plunged into a strict lockdown, Stephen Evans questions the rationale behind and wisdom of an exemption for religious worship in England. Read More »

Tags: Coronavirus pandemic, Healthcare

Freedom of and from religion

All I want for Christmas is freedom of and from religion

Posted: Fri, 18 Dec 2020 by Stephen Evans

Opponents often erect a straw man of secularism to justify demands for religious privilege. But freedom of religion must come with freedom from religion, says Stephen Evans.

There was little sign of Christmas spirit in my inbox the other day when a Christian... Read More »

Tags: Christmas, Freedom from Religion, Freedom of religion or belief

Understanding Christianity and the study of religion and worldviews

RE shouldn’t be a vehicle for the Church of England’s interests

Posted: Thu, 17 Dec 2020 by Chris Selway

A new study of a widely-used set of RE resources illustrates the way powerful groups control the subject to accommodate the evangelical mission of the Church of England, says Chris Selway. Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Janet Daby MP

Religion is not a justification for discrimination

Posted: Tue, 08 Dec 2020 by Stephen Evans

A shadow minister was wrong to say religious registrars should be able to opt out of providing same-sex marriages. And her comments are a reminder that we don't need a ministerial office for faith, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Equality & Human Rights

Girl walking away from school

Allowing religious discrimination in school admissions opens the door to other forms of discrimination

Posted: Thu, 03 Dec 2020 by Megan Manson

A state-funded faith school recently rejected a child because her mother isn't Jewish. This shows the absurdity of religious discrimination in admissions, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Discrimination, Faith Schools

Blood transfusion

The state mustn’t allow children to die for their stated religious beliefs

Posted: Thu, 26 Nov 2020 by Dr Antony Lempert

As the High Court considers whether to let a girl from a Jehovah's Witness community refuse blood transfusions, Dr Antony Lempert says the precedent of overriding a child's refusal of lifesaving treatment should be upheld. Read More »

Tags: Children's rights & welfare, Healthcare, Jehovah's Witnesses, Law

Poland women's strike abortion protests

The Catholic Church’s control over abortion policy has sparked a furious backlash in Poland

Posted: Thu, 12 Nov 2020 by Aleksandra Myslek

A ruling on abortion in Poland has again highlighted the government's damagingly close relationship with the Catholic Church. But many Poles are now questioning the church's power, says Aleksandra Myslek. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Europe, Healthcare, Opinion Out Loud, Reproductive Rights

School sign

Why was the Church of England allowed to influence the direction of our local secular schools?

Posted: Mon, 09 Nov 2020 by Chris Leng

The church was given a key role on the board of our local multi-academy trust – even though there were no faith schools in it. Chris Leng questions the assumptions which lay behind this arrangement. Read More »

Tags: Academisation

France flag burning

The onus should be on theocrats, not liberal democracies, to change

Posted: Wed, 04 Nov 2020 by Chris Sloggett

Liberal equivocation on whether to stand up to jihadist murder and Islamist intimidation is morally wrong, misguided and counter-productive, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of Expression, Islam, Islamism, Terrorism

Church and state should be separate

Church and state should be separate

Posted: Tue, 03 Nov 2020 by Stephen Evans

Ahead of the NSS's 2020 Bradlaugh Lecture on the subject, Stephen Evans says the disestablishment of the Church of England is right in principle and could benefit church and state alike. Read More »

Tags: Church and State, Disestablishment, Opinion Out Loud

Pope Francis

Human rights should not be at the mercy of the pope’s pontifications

Posted: Wed, 28 Oct 2020 by Megan Manson

Amid widespread interest in the pope's views on same-sex civil unions, Megan Manson says states shouldn't allow themselves to be used to further the Catholic Church's agendas. Read More »

Tags: Abortion, Catholic Church, Human rights, LGBT Rights, Reproductive Rights

Assisted dying

The BMA’s opportunity to rethink its position on assisted dying

Posted: Fri, 23 Oct 2020 by Dr Antony Lempert

The British Medical Association's opposition to assisted dying is at odds with its members' views. There's now a chance for the BMA and parliamentarians to stand up to religious obstructionism, says Dr Antony Lempert. Read More »

Tags: Assisted dying, Healthcare

Bishops' bench

The Church of England’s culture of entitlement has to end

Posted: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 by Richard Scorer

The furore over John Sentamu not being handed a life peerage reveals an ugly culture of entitlement that has not served church or state well, argues Richard Scorer. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England

Samuel Paty

Brutally murdered for doing his job

Posted: Tue, 20 Oct 2020 by National Secular Society

The beheading of Samuel Paty, a teacher in France targeted for showing Charlie Hebdo cartoons to his students, was an appalling attack on critical enquiry. Read More »

Tags: Education, Freedom of Expression


Those providing public services – including religious groups – should respect reasonable boundaries

Posted: Thu, 08 Oct 2020 by Stephen Evans

Following a call for a greater role for religion in public services, Stephen Evans argues that any expansion of faith-based provision mustn't see equality and fair treatment relegated to secondary or dispensable matters. Read More »

Tags: Public Services

Lynne Featherstone

It’s time to tackle loopholes in equality law which privilege religion

Posted: Thu, 01 Oct 2020 by Lynne Featherstone

On the 10th anniversary of the Equality Act coming into force, Lynne Featherstone says reforms proposed by the NSS on education, caste discrimination and employment would make Britain fairer and more cohesive. Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights

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