NSS Opinion

Seven women who refused to be silenced by religious bullies

Seven women who refused to be silenced by religious bullies

Posted: Thu, 08 Mar 2018 by Megan Manson

On International Women's Day, Megan Manson celebrates the stories of seven brave and determined women in the UK who religious hardliners have tried – and failed miserably – to bully over the past year.

Religion is one of the key obstructions to... Read More »

Tags: Education, Extremism, Gender Equality, LGBTQ rights, Sabbatarianism

Male circumcision is an issue of religious freedom  - and should be prohibited as such

Male circumcision is an issue of religious freedom - and should be prohibited as such

Posted: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 by Dr Marika McAdam

Proponents of ritual genital cutting often claim a 'right' to religious freedom justifies their position. But individuals have rights, says Dr Marika McAdam – and for boys, they include the right to autonomy over their own foreskins.

In amending laws... Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Religious freedom

The C of E cannot be trusted to deal with safeguarding complaints in house

The C of E cannot be trusted to deal with safeguarding complaints in house

Posted: Mon, 05 Mar 2018 by Richard Scorer

On the first day of hearings into child sexual abuse in the Church of England, NSS vice-president Richard Scorer told an inquiry that protecting children requires independent oversight and mandatory reporting.

Earlier today I addressed the Independent Inquiry... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Church of England

Religious freedom isn't a licence to violate others’ rights

Religious freedom isn't a licence to violate others’ rights

Posted: Thu, 01 Mar 2018 by Stephen Evans

Increasing clashes between religious orthodoxy and secular liberalism highlight one of the most pressing challenges facing contemporary societies; how to manage the incredible religious and cultural diversity that exist within them. This throws up important... Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Healthcare

Sturgeon’s praise for Catholic schools will exacerbate Scotland’s tribal divisions

Sturgeon’s praise for Catholic schools will exacerbate Scotland’s tribal divisions

Posted: Wed, 28 Feb 2018 by Neil Barber

Catholic schools are no remedy for a society facing ingrained sectarian division, writes Neil Barber. In praising them Scotland's first minister has shown a willingness to sacrifice social cohesion to reach a block vote.

Often referred to as "Scotland's shame",... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Education, Faith Schools, Scotland

How cutting cultures deny dissenters their voice and identity

How cutting cultures deny dissenters their voice and identity

Posted: Fri, 23 Feb 2018 by Dr Antony Lempert

As Icelandic lawmakers consider whether to ban cutting infants' genitals for non-medical reasons, Dr Antony Lempert reflects on the ferocious backlash to the proposal in the UK.

This week non-therapeutic childhood male circumcision has hit the UK headlines... Read More »

Tags: Circumcision, Healthcare

We can’t allow faith groups to hamper efforts to regulate supplementary schools

We can’t allow faith groups to hamper efforts to regulate supplementary schools

Posted: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 by Stephen Evans

As a trial reveals the brainwashing of boys during evening classes at a mosque in Barking, Stephen Evans says the Government should defy faith groups which resist the regulation of out-of-school educational settings.

Schools rightly have safeguarding responsibilities... Read More »

Tags: Education, supplementary schools, unregistered schools

The Government should be wary of its review on sharia ‘law’

The Government should be wary of its review on sharia ‘law’

Posted: Wed, 07 Feb 2018 by Sadikur Rahman

Sadikur Rahman says implementing official recommendations on sharia 'courts' would entangle civil and religious law and undermine vulnerable women's rights. The Government should instead secularise the marriage laws.

Ten years ago today Rowan Williams suggested... Read More »

Tags: Islam, Marriage, One law for all, Sharia

Schools and segregation: a lesson from France

Schools and segregation: a lesson from France

Posted: Tue, 30 Jan 2018 by Keith Sharpe

The Government is preparing to extend religious selection in faith schools. Keith Sharpe contrasts its willingness to cause greater segregation with French efforts to encourage integration in the wake of terror attacks.

For secularists interested in education... Read More »

Tags: Admissions, Faith schools, Fifty percent cap, France, Unregistered schools

Why are journalists dancing to the Islamists’ tune over Sara Khan?

Why are journalists dancing to the Islamists’ tune over Sara Khan?

Posted: Thu, 25 Jan 2018 by Chris Sloggett

Islamists and their apologists have dominated coverage of the Government's appointment of Sara Khan, says Chris Sloggett. Journalists should stop indulging them just because they shout loudly.

'Controversial' is a word that means almost nothing while revealing... Read More »

Tags: Extremism, Islamism

Religious bullies are on a roll. It’s time we all stood up to them

Religious bullies are on a roll. It’s time we all stood up to them

Posted: Thu, 25 Jan 2018 by Stephen Evans

Amid a series of concessions to religious hardliners, Stephen Evans says those brave enough to resist their demands need much more support.

No sooner had Sara Khan been appointed the new Commissioner for Countering Extremism than the reactionaries were howling... Read More »

Tags: Islamism, Orthodox Judaism, Religious privilege

Faith School Admissions: Four Myths Busted

Faith School Admissions: Four Myths Busted

Posted: Mon, 22 Jan 2018 by Megan Manson

Megan Manson takes on common myths about the 50% cap on children admitted on religious grounds to faith schools.

It's unpleasant enough that any institution would turn away a child on the basis of their parents' beliefs. When it's a state-funded school, it's... Read More »

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

Book review: 'Persepolis'

Book review: 'Persepolis'

Posted: Tue, 16 Jan 2018 by Megan Manson

In light of the recent protests in Iran, and the rise of Islamist extremism throughout the world, Megan Manson looks back at the graphic novel Persepolis, published nearly 20 years ago.

If there were ever a perfect time to read Persepolis, it would be now.... Read More »

Tags: Iran, Islamism, Reviews

Will Anglicanism reign supreme at the next coronation?

Will Anglicanism reign supreme at the next coronation?

Posted: Fri, 12 Jan 2018 by Stephen Evans

As the BBC focuses on the Queen's coronation, Stephen Evans says the next initiation of the UK's head of state will be a major test of the monarchy's ability to evolve and reflect the nation it serves.

On Sunday the BBC will broadcast an hour-long film on the... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Church of England, Monarchy

The David and Goliath battle in our schools: parents versus religion

The David and Goliath battle in our schools: parents versus religion

Posted: Thu, 11 Jan 2018 by Megan Manson

As NSS research highlights a systemic bias against secular schooling, Megan Manson explores the tactics used by religion to infiltrate education – and how parents are fighting back.

In November, the National Secular Society got a call from a parent whose... Read More »

Tags: Academisation, Casework focus, Education, Evangelism in schools, Faith Schools

How to win (cathedral) friends and influence people

How to win (cathedral) friends and influence people

Posted: Wed, 10 Jan 2018 by Ed Moore

The Government is hailing the work done under a fund for the restoration of cathedrals. But NSS treasurer Ed Moore asks if it is really a taxpayer-funded opportunity for Church of England archbishops to grab power.

As Chancellor Osborne's 2014 First World War... Read More »

Tags: Church of England, Church repairs

Fundamentalists feel the Force of Star Wars

Fundamentalists feel the Force of Star Wars

Posted: Tue, 09 Jan 2018 by Megan Manson

Sabbatarians in Lewis claim a right to impose their beliefs on others, including by banning screenings of Star Wars on Sundays. Megan Manson asks if they would make these demands if Jediism was a recognised religion.

Obi-Wan has taught them well. When An Lanntair... Read More »

Tags: Sabbatarianism, Scotland

Let’s point out that the ‘Je ne suis pas Charlie’ brigade are helping the terrorists win

Let’s point out that the ‘Je ne suis pas Charlie’ brigade are helping the terrorists win

Posted: Sun, 07 Jan 2018 by Chris Sloggett

Three years after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Chris Sloggett says it is a moral duty to push back against those who invent outrages to impugn the magazine's reputation.

Terrorism will never prevail. Terrorists will never change who we are. Terrorists will never... Read More »

Tags: Blasphemy, Freedom of Expression

The Minister for Faith went on a tour of Anglican cathedrals and all we got was a lousy report

The Minister for Faith went on a tour of Anglican cathedrals and all we got was a lousy report

Posted: Thu, 04 Jan 2018 by Stephen Evans

Stephen Evans questions the point of a Minister for Faith and says his recent tour of all 42 of England's Anglican cathedrals was a waste of ministerial time and taxpayers' money.

I've often wondered what the point of a Minister for Faith is. What do they actually... Read More »

Tags: Church repairs, Religious privilege

Case study: Difficulty exercising the right to withdraw from collective worship

Case study: Difficulty exercising the right to withdraw from collective worship

Posted: Wed, 03 Jan 2018 by A Pupil

Thanks to campaigning by the NSS, sixth-formers have the right to withdraw themselves from collective worship. But faith schools often make this nigh-on-impossible, as this pupil's story from one academy shows.

My sixth form holds three assemblies a week based... Read More »

Tags: Casework focus, Collective worship, Education, Sixth form

Yes, secularism is good for gender equality

Yes, secularism is good for gender equality

Posted: Wed, 03 Jan 2018 by Megan Manson

Western academics who claim that secularism undermines women's rights are not merely wrong; their assertions are a slap in the face of women fighting for their rights under religious tyranny, says Megan Manson.

Of all the images that have emerged from mass... Read More »

Tags: Gender Equality

It's time to disestablish the Church of England

It's time to disestablish the Church of England

Posted: Tue, 02 Jan 2018 by Prof. Steven Kettell

As the National Secular Society prepares to send a major report on the subject to MPs, Prof. Steven Kettell says the establishment of the Church of England is incongruous with the beliefs and attitudes of the people it affects.

In the past few decades the landscape... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Disestablishment, Secularism

Secularism is a challenge to religion’s political power and privilege, not people of faith

Secularism is a challenge to religion’s political power and privilege, not people of faith

Posted: Fri, 22 Dec 2017 by Stephen Evans

Some Christians use the Christmas period to attack secularism for its challenge to their sense of entitlement. But Stephen Evans says the faithful have far more to fear from religious fanatics than secularists.

Buying a copy of the Christmas edition of the... Read More »

Tags: Christianity, Christmas, Secularism

Only reform of the law can tackle the Church's temptation to cover up abuse

Only reform of the law can tackle the Church's temptation to cover up abuse

Posted: Fri, 15 Dec 2017 by Richard Scorer

Richard Scorer reflects on three weeks of damning evidence at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. He says mandatory reporting of institutional abuse is necessary to prevent churches from covering it up to protect their reputation.

For the past... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Child Abuse

The Christian ‘legal army’ in hundreds of court battles worldwide

The Christian ‘legal army’ in hundreds of court battles worldwide

Posted: Thu, 14 Dec 2017 by Claire Provost & Ella Milburn

Women's rights advocates say the US legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom is "exporting extreme ideologies worldwide" against sexual and reproductive rights. Claire Provost and Ella Milburn investigate.

The international wing of a controversial US... Read More »

Tags: Christianity, Equality & Human Rights, Gender Equality

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