NSS Opinion

The biter bit: Church of England suffers from Chancel Repair Liability

Posted: Wed, 05 Oct 2016 by Ed Moore

The legal requirement to repair church chancels has surprisingly started to impact the Church Commissioners. Here's what they did about it.

The National Secular Society has long campaigned to remove Chancel Repair Liability (CRL), which dates back to the time... Read More »

Tags: Chancel Repair Liability, Church of England

Inclusive education: divisive faith schools are the elephant in the room

Posted: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 by Stephen Evans

NSS campaigns director on why progressives of all political and religious stripes should unite in opposing Theresa May's plan to open a new wave of divisive 'faith schools'

As an advocate for secular education, my hopes were raised momentarily this week when... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Fifty percent cap, admissions

Church of England or Chancellor of the Exchequer: who’s setting the agenda?

Posted: Mon, 19 Sep 2016 by Ed Moore

NSS treasurer Ed Moore writes on the blurred lines between church and state when it comes to taxpayer funding for church repairs, and the vast sums of money being sent from the Treasury to the Church of England.

It can be hard, viewed from afar, to try and... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, church repairs

Facilitating more religious segregation in faith schools can only harm social cohesion

Posted: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 by Stephen Evans

In a move devoid of any common sense, Theresa May's government looks set to capitulate to the demands of religious groups by relaxing admissions rules for faith-based academies, allowing them to select all pupils along religious lines. Read More »

Tags: Education, admissions, Fifty percent cap

Living better together: French secularism risks being destroyed by political ambition

Posted: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 by Terry Sanderson

Despite occasional conflicts, France's tradition of secularism has served both social cohesion and religious freedom well. Terry Sanderson argues that misusing secularism for political aims risks undermining both. Read More »

Tags: France, Events, Islam, Community Cohesion

Religious privilege undermines abuse victims’ access to justice

Posted: Mon, 22 Aug 2016 by Richard Scorer

Richard Scorer, a specialist child abuse lawyer at Slater & Gordon draws attention to organisations seeking more lenient treatment over child abuse-connected matters because they are religious and makes the case for no concessions being given. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Childrens rights & welfare, Catholic Church, Jehovah Witnesses

Conflating abuse with criticism of Islam risks a return to a UK blasphemy law

Posted: Thu, 18 Aug 2016 by Benjamin Jones

The BBC and Demos have published an accidental case-study in why we should all stop using the meaningless and sinister word 'Islamophobia'. Read More »

Tags: Islam, Anti-Muslim Bigotry, Freedom of Expression

Governor’s perspective: beware an increasingly assertive religious ethos in ‘Church schools’

Posted: Tue, 16 Aug 2016 by A Governor

The NSS is regularly contacted by governors and staff at Church of England schools who are pressured by their diocese to promote a more rigorous 'Christian ethos' - whether or not it's suitable for their school community. Here's one governor's account of increasing religiosity at their local school. Read More »

Tags: Education, Church of England, Faith Schools, Parents Perspective

The House of Lords and religion

Posted: Fri, 12 Aug 2016 by Keith Porteous Wood

The Parliamentary recess provides welcome respite from the frenetic activity of the political battles being fought out in the chamber and corridors, allowing us to stand back and have a wry look at the institution itself, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

With the... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Parliament, House of Lords, Church of England, History

Sharia, security and the church: dangers of the British Home Office inquiry

Posted: Tue, 09 Aug 2016 by Gita Sahgal

Does the UK's Sharia Review resemble the sharia 'courts': secretive procedures and discriminatory advisors? Are the Home Office and the Church ignoring conflicts of interest and evidence of discrimination? Read More »

Tags: Sharia

Living better together: What role do Muslims have in building a secular UK?

Posted: Tue, 09 Aug 2016 by Tehmina Kazi

When people learn I run a secularist charity, many are confused about what secularism means and its consequences for non-Christians in the UK, writes Tehmina Kazi of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. Read More »

Tags: Events, Islam, Community Cohesion

What do pupils need to know about religion?

Posted: Tue, 02 Aug 2016 by Stephen Evans

In recent years faith communities have amplified their demands for a better understanding of religion in the private and public sector. But what do pupils need to know about religion by the time they leave school? Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

Living better together: secularism and cohesion

Posted: Fri, 29 Jul 2016 by Stephen Evans

Later this year the NSS will mark its 150th anniversary with a special conference around the theme of 'living better together'. Campaigns director Stephen Evans explains why the time has come for people of all faiths to stand together in supporting secularist principles. Read More »

Tags: Events, Secularism, Community Cohesion

Living better together: Muslims and active integration

Posted: Mon, 25 Jul 2016 by Maajid Nawaz

On the theme of living better together, Maajid Nawaz argues that identity policing has further marginalised Muslims and that Britain was wrong to not expect minorities to embrace liberal values. Read More »

Tags: Events, Community Cohesion, Multiculturalism, Religiousity policing

Press regulator rules ‘honour’ killings are not Islamic

Posted: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 by Benjamin Jones

The press regulator has issued a troubling ruling that the Mail Online must state that Islam "does not support" 'honour killings'. Why is IPSO giving religious rulings to protect the reputation of Islam?

What business is it of the press regulator what interpretation... Read More »

Tags: Islam, Violence against Women

Book review: 'Christian Nation' by Frederic C. Rich

Posted: Thu, 21 Jul 2016 by Alastair Lichten

Alastair Lichten explores the themes of identity, resilience and redemption in Frederic C. Rich's counterfactual dystopian novel and the defence of secular democracy. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, USA, Reviews

Church documents expose an even bigger cover-up than suspected in the Peter Ball case

Posted: Tue, 19 Jul 2016 by Richard Scorer

The recent release of more internal Church of England documents relating to the Peter Ball case exposes an even bigger cover-up than previously suspected, writes specialist abuse lawyer Richard Scorer. Read More »

Tags: Church of England, Child Abuse, George Carey

When is a community school not a community school?

Posted: Wed, 06 Jul 2016 by Alastair Lichten

Religious organisations are pushing for an increased role in non-religious community schools. This seriously risks blurring the line between faith and community schools, writes Alastair Lichten. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Church of England, Academisation

Church and State united in denying religious freedom to young people

Posted: Tue, 05 Jul 2016 by Keith Porteous Wood

NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood writes on the union between church and state that is denying freedom of religion to young people – in defiance of the United Nations and human rights.

The UN recently recommended that the UK "repeal legal provisions... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Equality & Human Rights, Collective Worship, United Nations

Religious belief is no barrier to criminality

Posted: Thu, 09 Jun 2016 by Alistair McBay

A spate of media reports have suggested that criminals convicted of sex abuse feigned their religion. NSS Vice-President Alistair McBay argues that the media shouldn't seek to protect religion from criticism by misrepresenting these cases.

A disturbing new... Read More »

Tags: Religion & Belief, Child Abuse

Faith in public services?

Posted: Thu, 02 Jun 2016 by Alastair Lichten

An increased role for religious organisations in the provision of public services would be disastrous for both the public and faith sectors, argues Alastair Lichten.

The Oasis Foundation recently launched a report arguing that the aspirations of the 'Big Society'... Read More »

Tags: Public Services

In modern Britain, tradition is no excuse for retaining religious privilege

Posted: Fri, 27 May 2016 by Stephen Evans

News that those declaring themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians in England and Wales has again prompted questions about Christianity's privileged role in public life.

Despite the vast majority of Brits being secular in outlook... Read More »

Tags: Church & State

Invisible power: how the Catholic Church influences Italian politics

Posted: Thu, 26 May 2016 by Stefano Bonino

Italy's bill on civil unions is an important landmark in the history of successful and unsuccessful attempts by the Vatican to influence Italian politics, writes Stefano Bonino. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, LGBTQ rights, Italy

62% say there is “no place in UK politics for religious influence of any kind”

Posted: Mon, 23 May 2016 by Benjamin Jones

The overwhelming majority of Britons believe religion should not "influence" politics in the UK, and majorities of all religious believers except Muslims agree. Read More »

Tags: statistics, Islam

Did Christian charities really need twenty five years to complete a form?

Posted: Thu, 19 May 2016 by Ed Moore

A little known piece of legislation allows Christian charities to avoid complying with charity law. Who benefits, asks Ed Moore.

Becoming an official charity provides a non-profit organisation with substantial benefits, especially freedom from many forms of... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Christianity