Category Archives: Interviews

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Bonus Ep 5: Academies report



In this episode, Emma Park speaks with the National Secular Society’s head of education, Alastair Lichten, about their new report, which reveals how academisation has enabled faith groups to increase their influence over all schools, including those with no religious character.

Full show notes and subscriber information: https://www.secularism.org.uk/podcast/2020/10/36a/


Ep 36: Faith-shaped holes in the Equality Act



Baroness Lynne Featherstone joins the podcast to discuss the tenth anniversary of the Equality Act 2010, the Act’s significance and the problems caused by continuing religious privilege, as covered in a recent NSS report.

Full show notes and subscriber information: https://www.secularism.org.uk/podcast/2020/10/ep36


Bonus Ep 4: Stephen Evans – religious oaths



Why make a spectacle out of religion in the courtroom? In this bonus episode Stephen Evans, CEO of the NSS, makes the case for replacing religious oaths and affirmations should be replaced by a universal secular declaration of the solemn duty to tell the truth. Stephen and Emma Park discuss the importance of this issue in the history of the National Secular Society.

Shownotes and subscriber information: https://www.secularism.org.uk/podcast.html


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Ep 33: Kaja Bryx, Catholic Nationalism in Poland



In this episode Emma Park speaks to Kaja Bryx, president of the Polish Rationalist Association, about the influence of the Catholic Church and the religious right in Poland.

how notes, transcript and supporter/subscriber information here: https://www.secularism.org.uk/podcast/2020/09/ep-33-kaja-bryx-catholic-nationalism-in-poland


Ep 32: Nick Duffy on ‘conversion therapy’



In this episode, Emma Park speaks to Nick Duffy, current affairs editor at Pink News, about so-called ‘conversion therapy’, the type of psychological practices that it can involve, and the harm it can cause to those who undergo it. Show notes, transcript and supporter/subscriber information here: https://www.secularism.org.uk/podcast/2020/08/ep-32-nick-duff-on-conversion-therapy


Ep 30: Religious Freedom in China



On paper, the Chinese constitution permits ‘normal religious activities’. In reality, if you try to practise your religion in China independently of the state, you risk prison and worse. In this episode, Dr Sophie Richardson, China Director of Human Rights Watch, speaks to Emma Park about freedom of religion and belief in China – or the lack of it. They discuss the Chinese authorities’ persecution of the Uighurs, the Turkic Muslim minority in the north-west, and the deliberate strategies that are being used to wipe out their culture. In Tibet, Sophie reveals how followers of the Dalai Lama are sentenced to years in prison, and how the Chinese authorities even keep spies in the monasteries. There are similar stories of the suppression of Christians and Falun Gong practitioners elsewhere in China. The speakers also consider the feebleness of the international community’s response to these human rights violations –– and the grim outlook for basic freedoms in the People’s Republic.

 

Follow Emma on Twitter: @DrEmmaPark

 

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93U5CsgHocU&feature=youtu.be

 

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

 

Notes

 

China’s religious persecution is a secularist issue: https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2018/09/chinas-religious-persecution-is-a-secularist-issue

 

China and Tibet – Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/asia/china-and-tibet

 

Why do Muslim states stay silent over China’s abuse of the Uighurs? https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/04/why-do-muslim-states-stay-silent-over-chinas-uighur-brutality

 

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 28: RE in Wales: a chance for fundamental change



How much progress will the Welsh government make with its proposed reforms to RE? In this episode, Emma Park speaks to Stephen Evans, CEO of the NSS, and Alastair Lichten, head of education, for an update.

Encouragingly the subject’s name is to be changed to ‘Religion, Values and Ethics’, to reflect a more pluralistic and critical approach. But the proposed abolition of parents’ right to withdraw their children is more concerning. Faith schools will still be able to teach RVE ‘in line with the tenets of their faith’, but will be obliged to offer a secular alternative if parents expressly choose it.

Do these proposals go far enough? And should religious education continue to be a separate subject that is compulsory for all students up until 16? Join Emma and her guests for comment and analysis.

Follow Emma on Twitter: @DrEmmaPark

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD2syE26heQ&feature=youtu.be

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

Notes

NSS response to RVE proposals in Wales: https://www.secularism.org.uk/21st-century-re-for-all/rve-wales.html

Will Wales lead the way in reforming RE? – Stephen Evans, 2 June 2020: https://medium.com/@stephen.evans_42820/will-wales-lead-the-way-in-reforming-re-415cf3049fa6

Should lessons on sex and religion take parents’ wishes into account? –– Emma Park, 12 March 2020: https://life.spectator.co.uk/articles/should-lessons-on-sex-and-religion-take-parents-wishes-into-account/

NSS podcast, Episode 17: RE in Wales: https://www.secularism.org.uk/podcast/2019/10/ep-17-thought-for-the-day-re-in-wales

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 27: Unregistered (illegal) schools



In this episode, Emma Park discusses unregistered faith schools, particularly in the Hasidic community with Eve Sacks, a member of the Jewish anti-extremist organisation Nahamu.

Eve has spent years engaging with members of the ultra-orthodox community in London. They discuss issues in registered independent schools and the prevalence of unregistered schools where boys aged 13 to 18 are sent to receive religious instruction with little or no secular education. There is also evidence that boys who do not perform well in their studies receive corporal punishment. The result is that they leave school utterly unequipped to participate in civil society.

Efforts to tackle these ‘schools’ and similar abuses of children’s rights in the registered independent sector have been slow going, while members of the Hasidic community who want a different education for their children often experience severe pressure to conform.

After the interview, Emma speaks to Alastair Lichten, head of education at the NSS, to reflect on the fascinating insights provided by Eve, and the NSS’s position on unregistered and faith schools.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nb4LRNtk1o&feature=youtu.be

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

Notes

NSS supports plans to regulate unregistered schools: https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2020/05/nss-supports-plans-to-regulate-unregistered-schools

Corporal punishment still being used in Orthodox Jewish schools, inquiry hears – Telegraph, 21st May 2020: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/21/corporal-punishment-still-used-orthodox-jewish-schools-inquiry/

‘The Missing?’ by Eve Sacks, 11 July 2019: http://nahamu.org/the-missing/

Illegal Faith Schools: https://www.secularism.org.uk/unregistered-schools/

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.