NSS Opinion

Why are we still allowing religion to retard young people’s education and health rights?

Why are we still allowing religion to retard young people’s education and health rights?

Posted: Thu, 09 Mar 2017 by Stephen Evans

The Government's proposals on Relationships and Sex Education are a welcome step in the right direction – but religious opt outs mean many children will continue to be left behind, writes Stephen Evans.

The Government's move to make Relationships and... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Sex Education

The human rights of women and secularism go hand in hand

The human rights of women and secularism go hand in hand

Posted: Wed, 08 Mar 2017 by Alastair Lichten

On International Women's Day 2017 NSS campaigns officer Alastair Lichten reflects on the intersection of gender and religious privilege, and what the secularist movement can learn from IWD.

The theocratic mindset has always had a particular obsession with policing... Read More »

Tags: Gender Equality, Equality & Human Rights, Secularism

Mass grave full of children's remains at Catholic home reveals atrocities on a massive scale

Mass grave full of children's remains at Catholic home reveals atrocities on a massive scale

Posted: Tue, 07 Mar 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

With the latest revelations about human remains in an Irish Mother and Baby home, Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, seeks answers about how such atrocities could have happened on such a scale, and what can be done now.... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse, Ireland

A faith-based education system is deeply inefficient

A faith-based education system is deeply inefficient

Posted: Tue, 07 Mar 2017 by Benjamin Jones

Both the Government and the Labour Party have wilful blind spots around faith schools, and as the Government looks set to launch a new wave of faith schools amid an education funding crisis, how can such an inefficient system be justified?

The Prime Minister... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Politics

Britain’s ‘Christian right’: seeking solace in a narrative of discrimination

Britain’s ‘Christian right’: seeking solace in a narrative of discrimination

Posted: Thu, 02 Mar 2017 by Prof. Steven Kettell

The 'Christian right' in the UK may not be anywhere near as powerful as its US counterpart, but it still tries to exert influence on public policy. This has become increasingly difficult as fewer Britons identify themselves as Christian. Steven Kettell finds... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Christianity, Politics

Stop pharmacies refusing prescriptions for emergency contraception on religious grounds

Stop pharmacies refusing prescriptions for emergency contraception on religious grounds

Posted: Fri, 17 Feb 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

With the regulator considering curtailing 'conscience' objections to contraception prescriptions, Keith Porteous Wood urges supporters to respond to the consultation in the interests of vulnerable patients.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has launched... Read More »

Tags: Secular Medical Forum, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights

A judge’s decision to separate a transgender parent from her Jewish Orthodox children was deeply misguided

A judge’s decision to separate a transgender parent from her Jewish Orthodox children was deeply misguided

Posted: Fri, 10 Feb 2017 by Dr Antony Lempert

The decision to separate a transgender parent from her children gets to the heart of why faith-based harm is perpetuated and is frequently unchallenged, writes Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum.

A recent ruling in the Family Court of Manchester... Read More »

Tags: Law, Orthodox Judaism, Charedi, Religiousity policing

It’s time for an end to special religious privileges: we need a secular state

It’s time for an end to special religious privileges: we need a secular state

Posted: Wed, 08 Feb 2017 by Prof. Steven Kettell

Should the Anglican peers in the Lords be joined by religious leaders from other faiths? Ought the BBC be required to make religious programmes? Should religious groups enjoy more legal protection? The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Secularism

President Trump: American theocrat

President Trump: American theocrat

Posted: Tue, 31 Jan 2017 by Alastair Lichten

Donald Trump may be America's latest 'atheist president', but his presidency has put Christian Nationalism at the heart of its policy agenda.

Modern theocracy whether of the Islamist, Christian Dominionist or Hindu Nationalist variety is about belief, but it... Read More »

Tags: USA, Religious right

Faith schools mustn’t be allowed to stymie young people’s sexual health and well-being

Faith schools mustn’t be allowed to stymie young people’s sexual health and well-being

Posted: Thu, 12 Jan 2017 by Stephen Evans

Political sensitivity about faith schools is getting in the way of providing evidence-based, age-appropriate sex and relationships education (SRE) to all children. We can't wait forever for the Government's proposals on SRE, writes Stephen Evans.

The latest... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools, Sex Education

A faith ethos is no magic solution for improving schools

A faith ethos is no magic solution for improving schools

Posted: Sat, 07 Jan 2017 by Alistair McBay

There are success stories and failures in schools of all types, including faith schools, despite what the churches would have people believe. NSS vice president Alistair McBay debunks the myth that 'faith school' is a byword for success.

2016 was another interesting... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

Norway’s separation of Church and State: a work in progress

Norway’s separation of Church and State: a work in progress

Posted: Wed, 04 Jan 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

Norway's supposed separation of Church and State, effective from 1 January 2017, is a very positive step, but it's still a work in progress, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

Both Norway and the United Kingdom have populations that are very secular in outlook, with... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Norway, Secularism

Sister Sarah Kuteh: up steps the next so called victim of ‘Christian persecution’

Sister Sarah Kuteh: up steps the next so called victim of ‘Christian persecution’

Posted: Wed, 14 Dec 2016 by Stephen Evans

It has been another week in which we've seen Christians in the Middle East losing their lives to violence and persecution, but much media attention in the UK has instead focussed around the plight of a nurse, supposedly sacked for "offering to pray with her... Read More »

Tags: Healthcare, Christianity, Workplace

Sabbatarians have imposed their dogma on islanders for long enough, help them put a stop to it

Sabbatarians have imposed their dogma on islanders for long enough, help them put a stop to it

Posted: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 by Alistair McBay

The National Secular Society is helping campaigners on the Isle of Lewis open a sports centre on a Sunday, currently blocked by a council who won't allow it on the Sabbath. It's hardly the first time Sabbatarians on Lewis have played this game.

The attempt... Read More »

Tags: Scotland, FiSH

The Casey Review lays bare the failure to integrate Muslim minorities

The Casey Review lays bare the failure to integrate Muslim minorities

Posted: Mon, 05 Dec 2016 by Benjamin Jones

Dame Louise Casey offers a damning critique of mass immigration undertaken without serious efforts to integrate new arrivals, but she shies away from properly tackling faith schools, and the problems she identifies may be intractable.

The Casey Review is a... Read More »

Tags: Multiculturalism, Islam

Clerics shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to publicly funded schools

Clerics shouldn’t be the gatekeepers to publicly funded schools

Posted: Fri, 25 Nov 2016 by Stephen Evans

A progressive education policy would seek to break down barriers between people of different faiths and beliefs, not erect them, writes NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans.

The schools adjudicator recently ruled against a new policy across all Catholic schools... Read More »

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

Sharia reviews and the case for non-accommodation and non-regulation

Sharia reviews and the case for non-accommodation and non-regulation

Posted: Fri, 11 Nov 2016 by Sadikur Rahman

Our legal system cannot be permitted to fracture into parallel codes for different religious groups. Sadikur Rahman writes on how to avoid accommodation with sharia while also protecting the rights and interests of Muslim women.

The role of sharia law as practised... Read More »

Tags: Sharia, Marriage, Religious Law, Law

Protecting women’s rights is the priority, but that isn’t the only legitimate concern about sharia

Protecting women’s rights is the priority, but that isn’t the only legitimate concern about sharia

Posted: Thu, 03 Nov 2016 by Benjamin Jones

Gender inequality isn't the only problem with sharia councils, and non-Muslims have every right to object to the foundation of a parallel legal system in the UK, writes Benjamin Jones.

The discrimination against women inherent in sharia is its most objectionable... Read More »

Tags: Sharia, Religiousity policing

Saudi women’s rights activist arrested – days after Saudi Arabia returned to Human Rights Council

Saudi women’s rights activist arrested – days after Saudi Arabia returned to Human Rights Council

Posted: Thu, 03 Nov 2016 by David van Rooyen

A leading women's rights activist, Mariam Nassir Al Oteebi, has been arrested in Saudi Arabia and languishes in prison, just days after the country was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, writes David van Rooyen.

Mariam Nassir Al Oteebi had been playing... Read More »

Tags: Saudi Arabia, Gender Equality

Why the Ashers Bakery 'gay cake' ruling was reasonable

Why the Ashers Bakery 'gay cake' ruling was reasonable

Posted: Tue, 01 Nov 2016 by Stephen Evans

Despite the hyperbole, the decision in the Ashers Baker case is both reasonable and straightforward, opening the door neither to a denigration of religious freedom or equality laws. Had the case gone the other way it would have undermined both.

The decision... Read More »

Tags: Northern Ireland, LGBTQ rights, Equality & Human Rights

Had the Ashers ‘gay cake’ ruling gone the other way it would have seriously undermined equality law

Had the Ashers ‘gay cake’ ruling gone the other way it would have seriously undermined equality law

Posted: Fri, 28 Oct 2016 by National Secular Society

Despite the outcry following this week's Ashers 'gay cake' ruling, Northern Ireland's Court of Appeal delivered a clear and logical judgment.

There was an outcry this week when the Christian bakers found to have discriminated against a gay man by refusing... Read More »

Tags: Ashers, Equality & Human Rights

Review: The Battle for British Islam, by Sara Khan with Tony McMahon

Review: The Battle for British Islam, by Sara Khan with Tony McMahon

Posted: Thu, 27 Oct 2016 by Benjamin Jones

There are three million Muslims in the UK. The evidence shows they are becoming more religiously conservative, thousands are thought to have joined Islamic State; vast majorities would criminalise blasphemy and homosexuality. What hope is there?

'The Battle... Read More »

Tags: Islam, Reviews

Forced cutting of young boys’ genitals violates the most fundamental medical ethics

Forced cutting of young boys’ genitals violates the most fundamental medical ethics

Posted: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 by Dr Antony Lempert

Too often those who carry out forced cutting of young boys' genitals escape with gentle admonishment, rather than punishment commensurate with the severity of their actions, writes Dr Antony Lempert of the Secular Medical Forum.

In 2013, Dr Hassan Abdulla,... Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Secular Medical Forum, Healthcare

The new UN Secretary General must not allow religion to override human rights

The new UN Secretary General must not allow religion to override human rights

Posted: Fri, 21 Oct 2016 by Keith Porteous Wood

UN Secretary General designate needs to ignore Catholic pressure to row back on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and Gay Rights, writes Keith Porteous Wood.

The former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres has been officially appointed as the next... Read More »

Tags: United Nations, Catholic Church, Abortion, Reproductive Rights

Advice for parents wanting to give the evangelical Operation Christmas Child shoebox scheme a wide berth

Advice for parents wanting to give the evangelical Operation Christmas Child shoebox scheme a wide berth

Posted: Wed, 12 Oct 2016 by Alastair Lichten

Alastair Lichten looks at the ethical, educational and efficiency case against the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child shoebox scheme.

It gets earlier every year. Despite the unseasonable sunshine this September we've already started to receive the... Read More »

Tags: Charity, Samaritans Purse, Casework focus, Christmas

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