Category Archives: Interviews

Ep 21: Integrated education in Northern Ireland – interview with the Integrated Education Fund



In this episode, Emma Park speaks with Maddy Bridgman and Sam Fitzsimmons of the Integrated Education Fund, a charity that supports inclusive, integrated education (not segregated into de facto Protestant and Catholic schools) in Northern Ireland.

Maddy and Sam discuss the IEF’s campaign to support an integrated school system, and outline some of the difficulties the IEF has faced, both political, administrative and structural.

They also discuss positive signs that school students who attend integrated schools are benefiting from the tolerant and inclusive ethos that these schools promote.

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

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

Notes

Education in NI shouldn’t be a tug of war between religious interests

https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2019/10/education-in-ni-shouldnt-be-a-tug-of-war-between-religious-interests

Research reveals impact of religious discrimination on NI teachers

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/05/research-reveals-impact-of-religious-discrimination-on-ni-teachers

NSS calls for school integration in NI amid religious polarisation

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2018/04/nss-calls-for-school-integration-in-ni-amid-religious-polarisation

Integrated Education Fund

https://www.ief.org.uk

Integrate My School campaign

https://www.integratemyschool.com

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 20: Lee and Lizanne Harris – compulsory worship



In this episode, Emma Park speaks with Lee and Lizanne Harris about their experience of the collective worship requirement in schools.

The Harrises recently initiated judicial review proceedings against the primary school attended by their children. They challenged its decision to provide no alternative to a proselytising Christian assembly once a week conducted by representatives of the local C of E church.

Lee and Lizanne discuss their children’s experiences of these assemblies, what happened when they withdrew them, and the school’s failure to provide a secular alternative until they were forced to by the threat of legal proceedings.

The Harrises’ case may encourage other parents to speak up about concerns that their children will be indoctrinated if they participate in religious assemblies, and excluded from school life if they do not.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Oh0Sv2Je824

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

Notes

Lee Harris’s 2018 blog for the NSS

https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2018/12/my-childrens-school-has-become-christian-by-default

C of E trust to introduce alternative to worship after legal challenge

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/11/coe-trust-to-introduce-alternative-to-worship-after-legal-challenge

More information and guidance from the NSS on collective worship: https://www.secularism.org.uk/end-compulsory-worship/

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 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

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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


Ep 05: Dr Antony Lempert | Exploring religious freedom



Continuing our series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with Dr Antony Lempert. Dr Lempert is chair of the Secular Medical forum, a regular speaker and expert on freedom of and from religion in healthcare.

This is part of a series of interviews leading up to our major conference in May, Secularism 2019: Reclaiming Religious Freedom

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

Transcript: https://www.secularism.org.uk/uploads/dr-antony-lempert—exploring-religious-freedom-episode-05.pdf

British Medical Association new guidance on circumcision: https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/02/doctors-body-consider-parents-religion-on-infant-genital-cutting

More information on the NSS/SMF’s work on healthcare: https://www.secularism.org.uk/healthcare/

Links from Dr Lempert:

God Is Not Great: https://www.amazon.co.uk/God-Not-Great-Religion-Everything/dp/1843545748/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528899019

Catch 22: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Catch-22-50th-Anniversary-Joseph-Heller/dp/0099529122/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528899019

1984: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nineteen-Eighty-Four-Penguin-Modern-Classics/dp/014118776X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528899019

The Wave: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wave-Todd-Strasser/dp/0307979121/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 04: Annie Laurie Gaylor | Exploring religious freedom



Continuing our series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with secularist activist Annie Laurie Gaylor. Annie Laurie is a co-founder of – and, current co-president of – the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

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

www.secularism.org.uk/2019

Watch this episode on YouTube. | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cspncemMA9A&feature=youtu.be

Links from Annie Laurie

Freedom From Religion Foundation | https://ffrf.org/

One Woman’s Fight, by Vashti McCollum | https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Womans-Fight-Vashti-McCollum/dp/1877733083?ie=UTF8&tag=natisecusoci-21

The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American, by Andrew L Seidel | https://www.amazon.co.uk/Founding-Myth-Christian-Nationalism-American-ebook/dp/B07JN4K3PY?ie=UTF8&tag=natisecusoci-21

Find more reviews at 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.| www.secularism.org.uk/join

Subtitles are being added to all podcasts hosted on YouTube. Transcripts are available at: www.secularism.org.uk/transcripts


Ep 03: Maryam Namazie | Exploring religious freedom



Continuing our series of discussions exploring religious freedom, Alastair Lichten spoke with secularist activist Maryam Namazie. Maryam is the spokesperson for Iran Solidarity, One Law for All, and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and is a patron of London Black Atheists.

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

Transcript: https://www.secularism.org.uk/uploads/maryam-namazie—exploring-religious-freedom-episode-03.pdf

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Links from Maryam:

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

Islam’s Non-Believers

Why we defended Rushdie and why it is still important today – Event on 14 February at Conway Hall.

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-and-renew.html