NSS Opinion

Our business was harassed by Christian fundamentalists – now it’s the best known in Lewis

Our business was harassed by Christian fundamentalists – now it’s the best known in Lewis

Posted: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 by Martin Flett

The National Secular Society recently reported the case of Leona Rawlinson, the owner of TweedTastic in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Leona was being harassed by sabbatarians over her decision to open her shop on Sundays. The story was picked up by several... Read More »

Tags: Sabbatarianism, Scotland

State recognition of Islamic nikah marriages is no way to empower Muslim women

State recognition of Islamic nikah marriages is no way to empower Muslim women

Posted: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 by Sadikur Rahman

Most women in the UK who have Islamic weddings are missing out on their legal rights. The solution to this problem must not lie in the automatic registration of Islamic marriages, argues Sadikur Rahman.

Channel 4's documentary The Truth about Muslim Marriage... Read More »

Tags: Islam, Marriage

Who controls religious education?

Who controls religious education?

Posted: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 by Stephen Evans

Necessary reforms of religious education are being frustrated by religion's lingering influence. It's time to liberate RE from the vested interests, argues Stephen Evans.

Religious education in England faces "a perilous future" unless it is subject to "strategic,... Read More »

Tags: Education, Religious education

De facto blasphemy laws are alive and well

De facto blasphemy laws are alive and well

Posted: Thu, 16 Nov 2017 by Chris Sloggett

It is now 38 years since Monty Python's Life of Brian was released in November 1979, despite protests. But Chris Sloggett says we aren't truly free to engage in blasphemy today.

It is now 38 years since Monty Python's Life of Brian was released in November... Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression

The folly of the civil service’s ‘faith and belief champion’

The folly of the civil service’s ‘faith and belief champion’

Posted: Wed, 15 Nov 2017 by Chris Sloggett

A new civil service appointment may be intended to promote 'inclusion'. But insistently bringing religion into the workplace will only serve to promote it and encourage an assertive form of selfishness at public expense, says Chris Sloggett.

If a decision is... Read More »

Tags: Public Services, Religion & Belief, Religious privilege

Interfaith must embrace secularism

Interfaith must embrace secularism

Posted: Mon, 13 Nov 2017 by Megan Manson

Interfaith Week is underway. Megan Manson says interfaith dialogue must embrace secularist principles to remain relevant, effective and inclusive.

Interfaith, the constructive dialogue between people of different faiths in order to promote mutual understanding,... Read More »

Tags: Religion & Belief, Secularism

The 'war on Christmas' is coming

The 'war on Christmas' is coming

Posted: Fri, 10 Nov 2017 by Alastair Lichten

The myth of a culture war on Christmas may be comical and its claims endlessly debunked, but its promotion is part of a campaign for Christian supremacy, argues Alastair Lichten.

It's coming… the 'WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!' You've been warned: the seasonal... Read More »

Tags: 'Christianophobia', 'Militant' Secularism, Christianity, Christmas

Whence secularism in Africa?

Whence secularism in Africa?

Posted: Wed, 25 Oct 2017 by Leo Igwe

Secularism and controversies regarding the relationship between religion and state have deep roots in Africa's socio–political history, but are increasingly relevant to many pressing human rights issues, argues Leo Igwe.

Recently, the relationship between... Read More »

Tags: Africa, Freedom from Religion, Religious Freedom, Secularism

Abuse Inquiry to investigate Benedictine institutions

Abuse Inquiry to investigate Benedictine institutions

Posted: Tue, 24 Oct 2017 by Richard Scorer

An upcoming hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse will be an opportunity to examine the reality behind the Catholic Church's claims that it has transformed its approach to child protection, says Richard Scorer.

At the end of November, the... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Protecting freedom of belief for the many and the few

Protecting freedom of belief for the many and the few

Posted: Mon, 23 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

Ahead of International Freedom of Religion or Belief Day, Megan Manson looks at democratic secularism's changing role in an age of the non-religious minority and rising diversity.

In the past, those who have given their greatest support for secularism have... Read More »

Tags: Freedom from Religion, Religion & Belief, Religious Freedom, Secularisation

To spank or not to spank – a biblical right?

To spank or not to spank – a biblical right?

Posted: Sat, 21 Oct 2017 by Alistair McBay

With Christian groups leading the opposition to Scotland's new smacking ban, Alistair McBay explores the many instances of Christian schools and campaigners demanding the ability to spank children as a religious or even biblical right.

This week the Scottish... Read More »

Tags: Scotland

Book review: ‘The rage: the vicious circle of Islamist and far-right extremism’

Book review: ‘The rage: the vicious circle of Islamist and far-right extremism’

Posted: Tue, 17 Oct 2017 by Dale Claridge

Julia Ebner's new book explores the symbiotic relationship between Islamist and (other) far right extremism, how Islamist and anti-Muslim narratives feed each other, and how we can challenge both.

While its roots predate 2001, Islamist terrorism has plagued... Read More »

Tags: Anti-Muslim bigotry, Extremism, Reviews, Sectarianism

Al-Hijrah School ruling: The fight to end segregation has only just begun

Al-Hijrah School ruling: The fight to end segregation has only just begun

Posted: Sat, 14 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

The ruling that an Islamic faith school's policy of gender segregation is unlawful should force us to have have a broader conversation about the religious segregation and inequality our children face in UK schools, argues Megan Manson

Make no mistake: the ruling... Read More »

Tags: Education, Gender Equality

Religious Right supports state backed prayers, until they’re Islamic

Religious Right supports state backed prayers, until they’re Islamic

Posted: Thu, 12 Oct 2017 by Paul Lusk

Claims of ecumenicalism and pluralism are often used to smuggle exclusively Christian privilege into public institutions. Christian secularist Paul Lusk asks what we should do about that.

Christian Concern has criticised Oldham council for holding Islamic prayers... Read More »

Tags: Christianity, Council Prayers, Islam, Religious Right

UNESCO: Putting religious privilege above gender equality

UNESCO: Putting religious privilege above gender equality

Posted: Wed, 11 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

UNESCO says gender equality is one of its top priorities. But Megan Manson says it is protecting misogynistic attitudes by awarding World Heritage Status to religious sites that practise sexual discrimination.

As the UK's United Nations Universal Periodic Review... Read More »

Tags: Discrimination, Gender Equality, United Nations

Book review: ‘The Jesus Candidate: Political religion in a secular age’

Book review: ‘The Jesus Candidate: Political religion in a secular age’

Posted: Fri, 06 Oct 2017 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson and Alastair Lichten consider the importance of the Christian secularist view in James Paul Lusk's book. Lusk argues that attempts to re-establish Christian religious privilege and roll back equalities, undermine true religious freedom.

Thoughts... Read More »

Tags: Christianity, Reviews

Secularism and National Libraries Week #LibraryLetters

Secularism and National Libraries Week #LibraryLetters

Posted: Thu, 05 Oct 2017 by Alastair Lichten

Ahead of Libraries Week 2017 Alastair Lichten argues that libraries' values of free expression and pluralism illustrate how a vibrant secular democracy should work.

Our public services – the majority of which are thankfully free from religious discrimination... Read More »

Tags: Libraries, Secularism

'British values': a source of unity in polarised times

'British values': a source of unity in polarised times

Posted: Thu, 05 Oct 2017 by Lottie Moore

Efforts to promote 'British values' in schools are being criticised, mainly on account of their name, but these four clear values already underpin our education, and are something to which we should aspire, argues Lottie Moore.

In 2014 the government made it... Read More »

Tags: British values, Community Cohesion, Education

The legacy of decades of abuse in a Catholic children's home

The legacy of decades of abuse in a Catholic children's home

Posted: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 by Mark Boules

Hundreds of children died at Smyllum Park, a home in Lanarkshire run by the Catholic Church between 1864 and 1981. As an order of nuns considers selling the land, calls for a memorial are mounting. Mark Boules reflects on what is left after decades of abuse... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse, Scotland

Lessons from the frontline of Islamic fundamentalism

Lessons from the frontline of Islamic fundamentalism

Posted: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson explores autobiographies by two Muslim secularists whose lives have been directly intertwined with Islamist extremism, and asks if the secular pluralism extremists most fear could be our best hope.

"Extremists have shown what frightens them the... Read More »

Tags: Education, Islam, Reviews, Secularism, Terrorism

Britain should embrace secularism as it loses its religion

Britain should embrace secularism as it loses its religion

Posted: Fri, 08 Sep 2017 by Chris Sloggett

As new data suggests non-belief is at a record high, Chris Sloggett says secularists should be more assertive in making the case for freedom of and from religion. This article was originally published by the International Business Times; reprinted here with... Read More »

Tags: British values, Religious Right, Religious privilege, Secularism

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's cover-up of child abusers must be a lesson to the Catholic Church

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor's cover-up of child abusers must be a lesson to the Catholic Church

Posted: Fri, 08 Sep 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

Cormac Murphy O'Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster, died on 1 September. NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood seeks to set the historical record straight with this alternative obituary. This piece was originally published on Conatus News. It... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

Beware the drip drip of religious exemptions

Beware the drip drip of religious exemptions

Posted: Sat, 02 Sep 2017 by Stephen Evans

As a theme park lifts its ban on Sikh ceremonial swords, NSS campaigns director Stephen Evans questions the wisdom behind religious exemptions from generally applicable rules.

The latest submission to religious demands came this week when a popular theme park... Read More »

Tags: Multiculturalism, One law for all, Secularism

Ireland’s hospitals: some welcome secularisation

Ireland’s hospitals: some welcome secularisation

Posted: Fri, 01 Sep 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

NSS executive director Keith Porteous Wood detects a long-overdue and decisive turn towards secularism in publicly funded healthcare in Ireland, an area in which the Catholic Church has until now been predominant.

The Catholic Church in Ireland has, until recently,... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Healthcare, Ireland

The confessional shouldn’t shield child abuse from reporting

The confessional shouldn’t shield child abuse from reporting

Posted: Wed, 16 Aug 2017 by Keith Porteous Wood

The Australian abuse commission is right not to exempt the confessional from reporting obligations, and its rigour should provide a model to reverse the backsliding already all too clear in the UK, argues Keith Porteous Wood.

Should priests be legally bound... Read More »

Tags: Australia, Catholic Church, Child Abuse

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