Author: Terry Sanderson

The choice of when to die should be that of the individual – not religious leaders

Posted: Thu, 05 Jun 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Speaking from personal experience, Terry Sanderson argues that religious opposition to a new law on assisted dying causes needless suffering to the terminally ill and their families.

The campaigning group Dignity in Dying has launched a campaign aimed at the... Read More »

Tags: Assisted Dying

Why religions, too, would benefit from embracing secularism

Posted: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

In a debate at the Nottingham Secular Society on 28 April, National Secular Society president, Terry Sanderson, argued that the time has come for all religions to embrace secularism. These are his opening remarks:

I think one of the most poignant headlines... Read More »

Tags: Secularism

Council prayers: Eric Pickles rewrites history again

Posted: Sat, 26 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Rather than being a voice for "moderation and reasonableness" over prayers at council meetings, the partisan and dictatorial Mr Pickles is pursuing an agenda to impose his religion on public life, argues Terry Sanderson.

You will remember that the Communities... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Council Prayers

The debate over David Cameron’s call to Christianity has taken a wrong turn

Posted: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson argues that the debate over David Cameron's assertions that the UK is a "Christian Nation" has led away from the important question of whether it should be.

The controversy over David Cameron's Christian chauvinism and the reaction it has prompted... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Equality & Human Rights, Church of England, Public Services, David Cameron

Religious schools are the problem, not the answer

Posted: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

One could almost be tempted to say "Hallelujah" to the news that Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has at last recognised that there is a problem with dangerous religious proselytising in schools – particularly, but certainly not only, in Muslim-dominated... Read More »

Tags: Education, Faith Schools

The Big Society – to be run by churches - is Mr Cameron’s pipe dream

Posted: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

First the Communities Minister and now the Prime Minister have declared Britain to be a "Christian nation".

In a speech to "faith leaders" gathered at Downing Street Mr Cameron said that his Government intended to see that religious groups play a much bigger... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, Big Society, David Cameron

Eric Pickles’ dictatorial disregard for the law is dangerous in a democracy

Posted: Mon, 07 Apr 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Eric Pickles, the Dickensian-style Communities Minister, has announced that Britain is a "Christian nation" and anyone who disagrees needs to "get over it".

He has the usual easy pop at "militant atheists" and dismisses anyone who opposes what he does as "politically... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, 'Militant' secularism, Council prayers

Why it would have been invidious to put the Mormon Church on trial

Posted: Thu, 27 Mar 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson clarifies the threat to freedom of religion and belief when secular courts rule on theological matters.

Last week we reported a decision by a judge at Westminster Magistrates' Court not to hear a case of alleged fraud against the Mormon Church... Read More »

Tags: Mormonism, Church & State, Religion & Belief

The bishop’s fantasy secularism

Posted: Tue, 11 Mar 2014 by Terry Sanderson

This week the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, gave a lecture at King's College in London in which he launched a full frontal attack on secularism. But the secularism the Bishop denounces, argues Terry Sanderson, is simply a figment of his imagination. Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church, Secularism

Is the Religious Right responsible for America’s fading allegiance to religion?

Posted: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson on the Religious Right's baneful attempts to desecularize the United States with a raft of "religious freedom" bills.

There seems to be something of a disconnect in America between the rising number of people who profess to have no religion... Read More »

Tags: Church & State, USA

Australia shows the way in removing evangelists from schools

Posted: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 by Terry Sanderson

With widespread apathy about what passes for religious education in schools, our classrooms are increasingly being used by religious groups to carry out their missionary work. Terry Sanderson explains how Australian parents have led the way in removing evangelists... Read More »

Tags: Education, Evangelism in schools

Church of England is kept alive only by its presence in our schools

Posted: Thu, 13 Feb 2014 by Terry Sanderson

With the Church of England is on its last legs, it's about time its continued involvement in state education was called into question, argues Terry Sanderson. Read More »

Tags: Education, Church of England

Ethnic mixing is good for communities – so why are we discouraging it in schools?

Posted: Tue, 04 Feb 2014 by Terry Sanderson

Terry Sanderson reflects upon some recent findings on mixed communities and integration, and the implication of those findings for our education system.

A large-scale study published in the journal Sociology has found that when people from ethnic communities... Read More »

Tags: Multiculturalism, Education

Tony Blair’s ‘solution’ to religious conflict will simply make things worse

Posted: Thu, 30 Jan 2014 by Terry Sanderson

In reaction to Tony Blair's recent reflections on religious conflict, Terry Sanderson reflects upon the dangers of Blair's promotion of the "us" and "them" mentality.

Writing in last Sunday's Observer, Tony Blair repeated his mantra that the 21st century's... Read More »

Tags: Religion & Belief

Catholic cognitive dissonance: Overlooking evil

Posted: Thu, 23 Jan 2014 by Terry Sanderson

The UN's recent examination of the Holy See presented yet more evidence of the Catholic Church's responsibility for, and cover-up of, child abuse. Yet the Catholic majority remains persistently silent, argues Terry Sanderson.

After the drubbing over child abuse... Read More »

Tags: Child Abuse, Catholic Church

The President’s Broadcasting Year – behind the scenes

Posted: Thu, 19 Dec 2013 by Terry Sanderson

Being President of the National Secular Society is nothing if not unpredictable. And this year has been no exception for Terry Sanderson... Read More »

Tags: Humour

Scientology’s dream comes true

Posted: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 by Terry Sanderson

The Supreme Court has said that Scientology is a legitimate religion. This ruling undermines the automatic presumption that all religious groups are for the "public benefit", argues Terry Sanderson.

It's not very often that you'll find me agreeing with Eric... Read More »

Tags: Religion & Belief

Catholic sex abuse scandal: how will Pope Francis make the Church accountable?

Posted: Wed, 04 Dec 2013 by Terry Sanderson

The Vatican's refusal to provide information requested by the United Nations on the alleged sexual abuse of children could mean Pope Francis's honeymoon period ends in ignominy, just like his predecessor, argues Terry Sanderson.

Did you know that the Pope ... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church

Eric Pickles is doling out taxpayers’ money to ‘faith groups’ – where will it end?

Posted: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 by Terry Sanderson

Mr Cameron gave Eric Pickles permission with the "Big Society" project. But we are going to have to ensure that he doesn't make the Big Society into one where only "people of faith" can contribute or benefit, argues Terry Sanderson.

It's becoming increasingly... Read More »

Tags: Parliament, Community Cohesion, Public Services

Is the “Francis Effect” just a figment of Catholic wishful thinking?

Posted: Mon, 25 Nov 2013 by Terry Sanderson

Anecdotal reports of a rise in Catholic mass attendance since the arrival of the new Pope do not seem to be supported by systematically obtained data – at least in USA.

The United States is home to the world's fourth-largest Catholic population, and,... Read More »

Tags: Catholic Church

Baroness Warsi and her self-serving anti-secular agenda

Posted: Wed, 13 Nov 2013 by Terry Sanderson

Baroness Warsi, the Coalition's "Minister for Faith" is no friend of the National Secular Society. Why should she be? Her role is the very antithesis of secularism.

For a Government Minister whose brief is to promote religion in politics, she does not seem... Read More »

Tags: Religion & Belief

Change is overdue to our sectarian coronation – even the heir to the throne seems to think so

Posted: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 by Terry Sanderson

The day after we announced that we were seeking lawyers' opinions on the Human Rights implications of the coronation and accession oaths, one of which, for example, requires the monarch to uphold the "Protestant religion as established by law", the Daily Telegraph... Read More »

Tags: Coronation, Disestablishment, Monarchy

Are we being bamboozled by this charming Pope?

Posted: Thu, 31 Oct 2013 by Terry Sanderson

Pope Francis may be charming – but he is part of a rehabilitation plan that depends on bamboozling us rather than delivering any real change, argues Terry Sanderson.

Am I being cynical or has the Vatican scored an amazing PR victory with Pope Francis?... Read More »

Tags: Pope

Letters to editors: a useful tool for campaigners

Posted: Tue, 29 Oct 2013 by Terry Sanderson

When you're active in campaigns that aim to change things in society, it can often be difficult to get your voice heard in the media. Groups with a message that seems radical or a threat to the status quo might be treated with suspicion, even hostility, by... Read More »

Tags: Campaigns, Secularism

Chaos in the workplace will follow if this case succeeds

Posted: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 by Terry Sanderson

If an employer can reasonably accommodate religious requests without disrupting their business or disadvantaging their other staff, we have no objection. But if they can't, then employers should have the right to say "no" argues Terry Sanderson.

Just when you... Read More »

Tags: Equality & Human Rights, Workplace