Category Archives: News and opinion

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Ep 16: Operation Christmas Child | Faith schools



In this week’s episode, Emma Park speaks to Megan Manson about Operation Christmas Child, a programme that encourages schoolchildren and youth groups around the UK to send Christmas shoeboxes to children in developing countries. Those sending the shoeboxes may not be aware that they are being used as part of a conversion drive by an evangelical Christian charity, Samaritan’s Purse. The case raises the question of whether ‘the advancement of religion’ should still be a charitable purpose.

Emma then speaks to Alastair Lichten about the NSS’s revelation that 20,000 children have been assigned to faith schools in the state sector this year despite their parents opting for a non-faith school as their first choice.

The episode also features highlights from our 2019 Bradlaugh Lecture. Assistant head Andrew Moffat defended inclusive education in his talk ‘No Outsiders: Reclaiming Radical Ideas in Schools’.

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIQHMg3_wsY&feature=youtu.be

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

Notes

Does Operation Christmas Child benefit the public?

https://www.secularism.org.uk/opinion/2019/09/operation-christmas-child-does-its-charity-benefit-the-public

Samaritan’s Purse Mission Statement

https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/who-we-are/

Charities Act 2011, section 3: List of charitable purposes

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/25/section/3

Complete videos of the NSS’s Bradlaugh Lectures

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

20,000 children sent to faith schools against parental preferences in 2019

https://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2019/09/20000-children-sent-to-faith-schools-against-parental-preferences

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 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.


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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.