All posts by secularism

Ep 14: End compulsory worship | Education update



In this episode, Emma Park speaks to the NSS’s Head of Education, Alastair Lichten, about the Society’s ongoing campaign against collective worship in schools. This is followed by a brief update on the NSS’s other campaigns in education, and its new resource for schools, Exploring Secularism.

It is, surprisingly, still a legal requirement in England and Wales that state schools practise some form of collective religious worship every day. Emma and Alastair discuss what the law is, how it is put into practice by different schools, the impact which it has on parents and children who do not want to participate, and what the NSS is doing to change the situation.

Our apologies for some handling and background noise on this episode. We hope to have it sorted out by the next recording.

Follow Emma Park on Twitter: @DrEmmaPark

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q_CJMDoR5I&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

The NSS’s campaign against compulsory collective worship in schools, with some statistics:

https://www.secularism.org.uk/end-compulsory-worship/

The NSS’s proposal for inclusive secular assemblies without an element of directed worship:

https://www.secularism.org.uk/end-compulsory-worship/inclusive-secular-assemblies-and.html

Information about the NSS’s annual Bradlaugh Lecture:

https://www.secularism.org.uk/bradlaugh-lecture.html

The NSS’s Autumn Bulletin:

https://www.secularism.org.uk/publications.html?tag=NSS+Bulletin&year=&submit=Search

Exploring Secularism a new resource for schools developed by the NSS:

https://exploringsecularism.org

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today:

https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

Support the podcast, share with a friend and leave a five star review everywhere you can.


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Ep 13: Religious appointees | Campaigning roundup



Chris Sloggett spoke to NSS head of education Alastair Lichten about our new report Religious Reps: Unrepresentative, Unnecessary and Unjustified. The report makes the case for ending the requirement on all Scottish local authorities to include religious appointees on their education committees. They discussed the report’s findings and recommendations and next steps for the campaign.

Campaigns officer Megan Manson also joined to discuss work the NSS has been doing on vaccinations, blasphemy laws and Jewish schools which severely restrict their families’ private lives.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlAIuFqIeF8&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

End religious appointees on Scottish education committees, NSS says https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/08/end-religious-appointees-on-scottish-education-committees-nss-says

Public Health England changes vaccination advice after NSS lobbying https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/08/public-health-england-changes-vaccination-advice-after-nss-lobbying

Jewish school may severely restrict families’ IT use, says DfE https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/08/jewish-school-may-severely-restrict-families-it-use-says-dfe

NSS urges government to review its language on blasphemy laws https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/08/nss-urges-government-to-review-its-language-on-blasphemy-laws

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

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Ep 12: Circumcision | No Outsiders



Chris Sloggett spoke to NSS chief executive Stephen Evans and campaigns officer Megan Manson about the recent BBC documentary ‘A cut too far?’ and the ethics of ritual infant male circumcision. Did the documentary go far enough and is the tide turning against this abusive practice? Also in this episode our head of education Alastair Lichten spoke with Andrew Moffat, creator of the inclusive education resource ‘No Outsiders’ and speaker at our upcoming Bradlaugh Lecture.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jKa0ED12Y8&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Notes

Bradlaugh Lecture 2019 | No Outsiders: Reclaiming Radical Ideas in Schools https://www.secularism.org.uk/no-outsiders.html

End non-consensual religious surgery https://www.secularism.org.uk/religious-surgery/

A Cut Too Far? Male Circumcision https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006wj8

Male circumcision needs to be seen as barbaric and unnecessary – just like female genital mutilation https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/male-circumcision-fgm-baby-child-abuse-body-rights-medical-hygiene-a9011896.html

Let’s face facts: FGM has something to do with religion https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2019/03/lets-face-facts-genital-cutting-has-something-to-do-with-religion/

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

Support the podcast, share with a friend and leave a five star review everywhere you can.


Ep 10a: Bonus content | Behind the scenes at Secularism 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.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGOcRbOUkoU&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

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’. 

Links

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

Find our more about the conference, including speaker profiles and videos: https://www.secularism.org.uk/secularism-2019.html

Bradlaugh Lecture 2019 | No Outsiders: Reclaiming Radical Ideas in Schools https://www.secularism.org.uk/no-outsiders.html

Support the podcast, share with a friend and leave a five star review everywhere you can.


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Ep11: Religious charities | Inclusive relationship and sex education



In episode 11, 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.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVmWU1jwrXE&feature=youtu.be

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Links

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

For the public benefit? The case for removing ‘the advancement of religion’ as a charitable purpose: https://www.secularism.org.uk/charities/charity-report

Faith free sex education: https://www.secularism.org.uk/sex-education/

Bradlaugh Lecture 2019 | No Outsiders: Reclaiming Radical Ideas in Schools https://www.secularism.org.uk/no-outsiders.html

Support the podcast, share with a friend and leave a five star review everywhere you can.


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Ep 10: Secularism 2019 | Conference review



In episode 10, Helen Nicholls, Megan Manson and Alastair Lichten joined Chris Sloggett for a review of our recent conference (Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom). They discuss some of the speakers, key takeaways and how these will continue to influence our work going forward.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tlyczsqLx9I

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

 Links

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

Find out more about the conference and speakers: https://www.secularism.org.uk/2019


Ep 09: Simon Barrow | Exploring religious freedom



Continuing our series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with Simon Barrow. Simon is the director of Ekklesia – a Christian think tank focusing on politics, social justice and belief. Simon is a commentator, journalist, publisher, NGO consultant, adult educator/trainer and theologian.

This is part of a series of interviews leading up to our major conference in May, Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom: https://www.secularism.org.uk/2019

Watch this episode on YouTube:  https://youtu.be/Q9XDrdnBS0s

Transcripts: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Links from Simon

The Jesus Candidate: Political religion in a secular age, by Paul Lusk (NSS review): https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2017/10/book-review-the-jesus-candidate-political-religion-in-a-secular-age

Faith and Politics after Christendom: by Jonathan Bartley: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Faith-Politics-after-Christendom-Movement/dp/1842273485/?ie=UTF8&tag=natisecusoci-21&linkCode=shr&camp=3194&creative=21334

Words Out of Silence, by Jill Segger: https://www.bookdepository.com/Words-Out-Silence-Jill-Segger/9780993294280

Links from the NSS

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join


Ep 08: Izzy Posen | Exploring religious freedom



Continuing our series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with Izzy Posen. Izzy grew up in the Chasidic community and attended an illegal, unregistered school where corporal punishment was routinely used, particularly to silence children who asked questions. He is now president of Bristol University’s Free Speech Society

This is part of a series of interviews leading up to our major conference in May, Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom: https://www.secularism.org.uk/2019

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nspDkjqhgHo&feature=youtu.be

Transcript: https://www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts

Links from Izzy

All Who Go Do Not Return Paperback, by Shulem Deen: https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Who-Go-Not-Return/dp/1555977057/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528899019

Shtisel | Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/81004164

One of Us | Netflix: https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80118101

The charity helping Orthodox Jews who want to break away from their faith: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p04n1x7p

‘Why I had to leave my ultra-Orthodox family’ – BBC News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=-5Tz6pLH7ig

Autobiographical Talk at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London – 20th of March 2019: https://journeyerblog.wordpress.com/2019/03/23/autobiographical-talk-at-the-liberal-jewish-synagogue-london-20th-of-march-2019/

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join

 


Ep 07: Geoffrey Robertson QC | Exploring religious freedom



Continuing our series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with Geoffrey Robertson QC – the internationally renowned human rights barrister, academic, author and broadcaster and founder of Doughty Street Chambers.

This is part of a series of interviews leading up to our major conference in May, Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom: https://www.secularism.org.uk/2019

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOuTCTdEP3k&feature=youtu.be

Transcript: https://www.secularism.org.uk/uploads/geoffrey-robertson-qc-exploring-religious-freedom-episode-07.pdf

Links from Geoffrey

Rather His Own Man: In Court with Tyrants, Tarts and Troublemakers

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rather-His-Own-Man-Troublemakers/dp/1785903977/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528899019

The Justice Game

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Justice-Game-Geoffrey-Robertson/dp/0099581914/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528899019

The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Case-Pope-Vatican-Accountability-Rights/dp/0241953847/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528899019

Find more reviews at https://www.secularism.org.uk/reviews

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today https://www.secularism.org.uk/join


Ep 06: Rudolf Eliott Lockhart | Exploring religious freedom



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.

This is part of a series of interviews leading up to our major conference in May, Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom secularism.org.uk/secularism-2019

Watch this episode on YouTube: youtu.be/cVE8vsffUOk

Transcript: secularism.org.uk/uploads/rudolf-eliott-lockhart—exploring-religious-freedom-episode-06.pdf

More information on the NSS work on RE reform: secularism.org.uk/21st-century-re-for-all

School resources (Exploring Secularism): exploringsecularism.org

Links from Rudi:

Commission on Religious Education: commissiononre.org.uk

Religious Education Council of England and Wales: religiouseducationcouncil.org.uk

Most Hated Woman in America: youtube.com/watch?v=qsAIPE2f0QQ

(Link from Alastair) Blame the Victim: A Review of ‘The Most Hated Woman in America’: patheos.com/blogs/nogodblog/2017/05/blame-the-victim-a-review-of-the-most-hated-woman-in-america

Hail Satan: youtube.com/watch?v=27RtJp-rhHk

Intolerance (D. W. Griffith): youtube.com/watch?v=vd6NPuhXUAo

Find more reviews at secularism.org.uk/reviews

Make a stand for freedom, fairness and human rights by adding your voice to the call for a secular democracy. Join the National Secular Society today: secularism.org.uk/join