NSS Opinion

Birmingham protests

The anti-RSE campaign has echoes of the Rushdie affair

Posted: Thu, 23 May 2019 by Yasmin Rehman

As the campaign against relationships and sex education spreads and grows increasingly aggressive, Yasmin Rehman says politicians' pandering to intolerance will be a disaster for LGBT people, Muslims and wider society. Read More »

Tags: Islam, LGBT rights, RSE

Pope’s latest PR offering on clerical abuse should fool no one

Pope’s latest PR offering on clerical abuse should fool no one

Posted: Fri, 10 May 2019 by Keith Porteous Wood

By only obligating officials in the Roman Catholic Church to report cases of clerical abuse internally, the pope's latest decree on child abuse falls a long way short of what is necessary, argues Keith Porteous Wood. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

IICSA inquiry logo

The C of E can’t be allowed to keep shielding abusers from accountability

Posted: Thu, 09 May 2019 by Richard Scorer

A damning report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has highlighted the need for independent oversight of the Church of England's safeguarding procedures and a mandatory reporting law, says Richard Scorer. Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Church of England


New guidance on independent schools: analysis of hard-line opposition and DfE concessions

Posted: Fri, 03 May 2019 by Alastair Lichten

The government has published new guidance on independent schools, amid systemic failings by independent faith schools. Alastair Lichten looks at what's changed and how the DfE has handled religious groups' demands. Read More »

Tags: Education, Independent schools

Theresa May speech

Britain needs to stand up for everyone’s religious freedom

Posted: Tue, 23 Apr 2019 by Stephen Evans

The appalling attacks in Sri Lanka again highlight the growing global persecution of Christians. But there should be no hierarchy of importance when it comes to protecting people from persecution, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Freedom of religion, Religious freedom, Terrorism

Advertising Standards Authority logo

The advertising regulator is pandering to religious offence-taking

Posted: Thu, 04 Apr 2019 by Chris Sloggett

As a regulator issues patronising advice to advertisers in the run-up to Easter, Chris Sloggett takes a look at its guidance on religious offence – and finds a deep and damaging aversion to freedom of expression. Read More »

Tags: Easter, Freedom of Expression

Jehovah's Witnesses Hall

The harm caused by Jehovah’s Witnesses shows charity law reform is urgently needed

Posted: Tue, 26 Mar 2019 by Lloyd Evans

The Jehovah's Witnesses organisation causes serious abuse and harm, says Lloyd Evans. Its charitable status should be revoked – and society should stop assuming religious organisations only have good intentions. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Jehovah's Witnesses

Religion and public benefit – why it’s time to rethink charity law

Religion and public benefit – why it’s time to rethink charity law

Posted: Fri, 22 Mar 2019 by Stephen Evans

An NSS report says 'the advancement of religion' should be removed as a charitable purpose. Stephen Evans says the law should align with public opinion and only support charities that deliver a genuine public benefit. Read More »

Tags: Charity, Church & State

Razor blade

Let’s face facts: FGM has something to do with religion

Posted: Thu, 14 Mar 2019 by Megan Manson

Politicians who insist female genital cutting has nothing to do with religion set a dangerous precedent that undermines campaigns to combat it and other religious harms, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, FGM

Sudan flag

Sudan deserves a secular democracy

Posted: Wed, 06 Mar 2019 by Nahla Mahmoud

As protesters demand the end of Sudan's Islamist regime, Nahla Mahmoud says a secular democracy is the only way to protect the rights of the Sudanese people. Read More »

Tags: Democracy, Islamism


The government should stand up to parents who want religious opt-outs

Posted: Wed, 27 Feb 2019 by Chris Sloggett

Giving ground to religious groups' individualistic demands for opt-outs from relationships & sex education undermines children's rights and teachers' ability to do their job, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Children's rights & welfare, Education, RSE

Medical scissors

The BMA’s genital cutting guidance is a disturbing departure from evidence-based, patient-centred policy making

Posted: Wed, 27 Feb 2019 by Dr Antony Lempert

The body which represents doctors has missed the opportunity to take a stand against medically unnecessary child circumcision in its new guidance on the subject, says Dr Antony Lempert. Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Healthcare

Ealing Abbey

IICSA's Ealing hearings showed the Catholic Church can't be trusted to police itself

Posted: Mon, 25 Feb 2019 by Keith Porteous Wood

An inquiry has highlighted the Catholic Church's lamentable failings over child abuse at an abbey and school in west London. Keith Porteous Wood says the episode has shown the need for mandatory reporting of abuse. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse


21 steps the pope would take if he was committed to tackling child abuse

Posted: Fri, 22 Feb 2019 by Keith Porteous Wood

As the Catholic Church unveils another inadequate plan to tackle child abuse, this open letter from Keith Porteous Wood highlights some steps the pope could take if he was committed to taking effective action. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse, Pope

Ballymena church

Northern Ireland: where Protestants and Catholics don’t need to be Protestants or Catholics

Posted: Tue, 19 Feb 2019 by Roy Fisher

Northern Ireland's equalities practices are furthering the harmful narrative that the country is made up of two communities and restricting citizens' ability to decide their own religious identities, says Roy Fisher. Read More »

Tags: Census, Northern Ireland

Faith schools protest

Integrated communities require inclusive, secular schools

Posted: Tue, 12 Feb 2019 by Alastair Lichten

A government plan on integration sets out a positive vision on education - but faith schools remain the elephant in the room. Alastair Lichten asks if ministers' actions will match their rhetoric. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Independent schools, admissions, unregistered schools

Doctor and patient

Religious dogma still clouds assisted dying debate

Posted: Thu, 07 Feb 2019 by Stephen Evans

As the Royal College of Physicians consults its members over assisted dying, Stephen Evans says we should be aware of often well-disguised theological objections to reform. Read More »

Tags: Assisted dying

Catholic abuse scandals: why self policing always fails

Catholic abuse scandals: why self policing always fails

Posted: Mon, 04 Feb 2019 by Richard Scorer

The IICSA inquiry has turned its attention to child abuse at two Catholic schools. Abuse lawyer and NSS vice president Richard Scorer delivered the following opening statement on behalf of several victims. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Barbara Smoker

Barbara Smoker’s remarkable life should inspire us all

Posted: Thu, 17 Jan 2019 by Helen Nicholls

Former NSS president Barbara Smoker's book My Godforsaken Life: Memoir of a Maverick reminds us of the value of ordinary people's principled activism and provides a link to secularists of the past, says Helen Nicholls. Read More »

Tags: History, Reviews, Secularism


Institutionalised prayer doesn't belong in parliament

Posted: Wed, 16 Jan 2019 by Stephen Evans

As MPs launch a motion against parliamentary prayers, NSS CEO Stephen Evans says ending the anachronistic custom would strike a blow for modernity, equality and freedom of conscience. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Prayers

Hospital A&E

The NHS’s pastoral support shouldn’t be based on religiosity

Posted: Fri, 11 Jan 2019 by Dr Antony Lempert

Moves to introduce humanist chaplaincy services in some NHS hospitals paper over the cracks in a discriminatory service, Dr Antony Lempert argues. Read More »

Tags: Chaplaincy, Healthcare


Defending one law for all is the only sustainable way to beat reactionaries of all stripes

Posted: Thu, 10 Jan 2019 by Chris Sloggett

As a ban on non-stun slaughter comes into force in northern Belgium, Chris Sloggett says there should be no religious exemptions to the law. Read More »

Tags: Animal Welfare, Halal, Kosher, One law for all, Religious Slaughter

Pope Francis

The pope's empty words and meaningless gestures won't tackle clerical abuse

Posted: Mon, 07 Jan 2019 by Keith Porteous Wood

One of the pope's Christmas messages urged clerical abusers to hand themselves in. Keith Porteous Wood asks how effective it will be in bringing perpetrators to the courts and assesses the pope's progress over abuse. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Hand holding

Weaponised unreasonableness: father claims school standards violate his rights

Posted: Mon, 07 Jan 2019 by Alastair Lichten

After a father threatens the government with legal action over a requirement to teach about LGBT people in independent schools, Alastair Lichten argues the focus should remain on protecting pupils' rights. Read More »

Tags: Education, Independent schools, LGBTQ rights

Relativism is undermining liberalism from within

Relativism is undermining liberalism from within

Posted: Mon, 17 Dec 2018 by Terri Murray

In her book Identity, Islam and the Twilight of Liberal Values, Terri Murray explores attacks on liberalism from the left and right – and the failure to defend it. Here she explains what motivated her to write the book. Read More »

Tags: Cultural relativism, Islam

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