Posted: Thu, 25 Jul 2019
Chris Sloggett spoke to Megan Manson about charities which exist only to promote religion and whether these or religious charities which do harm are in the public benefit. Chris also spoke to and Alastair Lichten about protests by religious reactionaries against LGBT inclusive education and what the NSS is doing.
Posted: Wed, 24 Jul 2019
Here's a little bonus content from Secularism which was originally going to be in our post conference review.
In this episode, Emma Park, a freelance writer and NSS volunteer, interviewed five of the Conference speakers to explore some of the issues raised by their talks in further detail. Some of these were a bit more wide ranging than the topic. Everyone's views are their own and do not necessarily represent those of the NSS.
Nick Cohen (00:51), political journalist, on the parallels between political and religious extremists, the lack of leadership from liberal centrists in British politics today, and the need for secularists to be self-critical and form political alliances to resist extremists:
'Generalisations are the basis of identity politics and breaking down identity politics is the road to freedom.'
Izzy Posen (08:04), President of the Bristol Free Speech Society, on the damage caused by universities' excessive tolerance of the extremist student groups trying to shut down free speech on campus:
'It's an alliance of Islamists and far leftists, and by Islamists I don't mean Muslims, I mean Islamists who have a political ideology based out of imposing Islamic values on Britain ... [These groups] unite in their hatred for the West.'
Pragna Patel (17:41), Director of Southall Black Sisters, on how secularists can challenge the claim by ethnic minority leaders to speak on behalf of an entire community, even those who may disagree with them:
'Our organisation has always challenged community leaderships, because they have never spoken on behalf of women, they have never spoken on behalf of gay and lesbian communities'.
Rachel Laser (25:13), President of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, on the threats to freedom of expression and other human rights in the US from right-wing evangelicals, and how to 'burst the pimple' of such extremism:
'Today religious freedom in America is more about the right to discriminate, or licence to discriminate, than it is about the right to be able to practise your religious observances.'
Yasmin Rehman (34:06), Member of the NSS Council, on the challenges of being a secular British Muslim, changes in the UK government's treatment of minorities in recent years, and the compatibility of Islam with secularism:
'If you look at a religious text that was written a very very long time ago, it will endorse things that we as a society wouldn't condone ... I want to be able to practise my faith, but I also want to be able to challenge my faith, or any other, when it comes to abuses of human rights'.
You can find out more about the conference speakers and browse all videos on the dedicated page.
Posted: Tue, 19 Mar 2019
Continuing our series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with Rudolf Eliott Lockhart (Rudi) CEO of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales.
Posted: Thu, 17 Jan 2019
In the first of a series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with Stephen Evans – chief executive of the National Secular Society. Stephen argues that it is religious freedom and secularism that allows people of different religions and beliefs can live together. In the interview Stephen explains the basis of religious freedom in human rights law and its limits.
This was part of a series of interviews leading up to our major conference Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom. Information on all the speakers and a videos from all the talks are now available.
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