NSS Opinion

Party logos

Election 2019: Where do the major parties stand on secularist issues?

Posted: Thu, 28 Nov 2019 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson studies the election manifestos for the main UK-wide parties – and says religion will continue to be a dividing force in UK politics during the next parliament.

Earlier this month the National Secular Society launched a 'secularist manifesto'... Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Democracy, Education, Election, Equality & Human Rights, Extremism, FGM, Forced marriage, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of religion or belief, House of Lords, Marriage, Public Services, RSE, Religious Slaughter, Reproductive Rights

Faith school signs

Why the blind spot when it comes to faith schools?

Posted: Fri, 22 Nov 2019 by Stephen Evans

Politicians need to end their fetishisation of faith schools and face the fact that a religiously divided education system is unfit for the future, argues Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Donation box

Most new faith based charities do nothing but promote religion. Time to reform charity law

Posted: Tue, 19 Nov 2019 by Megan Manson

An Islamic organisation which condones extremist messages was among charities which registered on questionable grounds in October. The bar for religious groups to become charities is set too low, says Megan Manson. Read More »

Tags: Charity

RE symbols and pupils

This isn’t the time to end the right to withdraw from RE in Wales

Posted: Thu, 14 Nov 2019 by Alastair Lichten

The Welsh government is considering removing the parental right to withdraw from religious education. Alastair Lichten argues that despite potential benefits, reforms don't go far enough to justify ending this longstanding right. Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education, Wales


Don’t let religious sectarianism tear our democracy apart

Posted: Thu, 14 Nov 2019 by Chris Sloggett

Chris Sloggett says the major parties in the current election campaign are indulging Britain's division into religious tribes – and we should urgently ask how we can move past this. Read More »

Tags: Democracy, Election, Freedom of Expression


We should expect the religious to follow the same laws as everyone else

Posted: Thu, 07 Nov 2019 by Chris Sloggett

In response to a targeted criticism of the NSS for campaigning to end non-stun slaughter, Chris Sloggett says the principle of one law for all is worth upholding. Read More »

Tags: One law for all, Religious Slaughter

Ballot box

Election 2019: pledges that should be in the parties’ manifestos

Posted: Tue, 05 Nov 2019 by Stephen Evans

As the UK's political parties consider their manifestos for the upcoming election, Stephen Evans outlines a series of secularist pledges they should include to advance freedom, fairness and equal citizenship. Read More »

Tags: Assisted Dying, Caste, Charity, Church & State, Circumcision, Collective worship, Election, Faith Schools, Freedom of Expression, Public services, Religious slaughter, admissions


The Catholic Church’s snub to the child abuse inquiry speaks volumes

Posted: Fri, 01 Nov 2019 by Stephen Evans

The Holy See's refusal to fully assist the UK's sexual abuse inquiry reveals unchangeable deficiencies within the church and highlights the need for a new mandatory reporting law, says Stephen Evans. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

By the Grace of God

'By the Grace of God' shows the need to hold the Catholic Church accountable on child abuse

Posted: Fri, 25 Oct 2019 by Keith Porteous Wood

Keith Porteous Wood says a film highlighting the struggle to bring a senior Catholic cardinal to account for covering up child abuse is a sign that the Vatican's wall of silence cannot hold. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse, Reviews

School sign

Education in NI shouldn’t be a tug of war between religious interests

Posted: Fri, 25 Oct 2019 by Alastair Lichten

A report has called into question religious control over the curriculum and ethos of Northern Irish schools. Alastair Lichten says it should prompt a re-evaluation of the segregated, inefficient system which exists now. Read More »

Tags: Education, Northern Ireland

Church & state

Time to stop pretending we have a ‘national church’

Posted: Fri, 18 Oct 2019 by Stephen Evans

As affiliation to Anglicanism continues its rapid decline the Church of England's privileges are increasingly unsustainable, says Stephen Evans. Let's disestablish the church and embrace a secular state. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, Statistics

Department for Education

Anti-RSE campaigns: guidance is welcome, but schools need more support

Posted: Tue, 15 Oct 2019 by Alastair Lichten

The government has published new guidance for schools facing disruption from religious groups who oppose LGBT-inclusive education. Alastair Lichten welcomes the gesture but says the substance doesn't go far enough. Read More »

Tags: Education, RSE

Secularism is a feminist issue badges

Secularism is a feminist issue

Posted: Mon, 14 Oct 2019 by Megan Manson

Ahead of the FiLiA 2019 conference this weekend, Megan Manson argues that secularism is a crucial ingredient in campaigns for women's equality. Read More »

Tags: Gender Equality

Sarah Mullally

Don’t take lessons on democracy from Church of England bishops

Posted: Fri, 04 Oct 2019 by Chris Sloggett

The bishop of London has lamented the state of British democracy while delivering a sermon at the annual judges' service. Perhaps someone should point out the undemocratic nature of her own position, says Chris Sloggett. Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, Democracy, Law

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


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


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

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