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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

Secularism in the UK and Europe.and all those lucky places that doesnt have Trump as its leader


Secularism in the UK and Europe.and all those lucky places that doesnt have Trump as its leader

To show that Secularism and Freethought are alive and well in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Members: 16
Latest Activity: on Wednesday

Discussion Forum

Did Europe's centuries of religious war result in its secularism?

Started by Tom Sarbeck. Last reply by Chris Jul 30, 2016. 8 Replies

Did long-term monarchs impose their religions?In the US, with presidents' terms limited to eight years, religions might be imposed by majorities in state legislatures or Congress or by majorities on state supreme courts or the US Supreme Court.Continue

Tags: state., church

Firms 'place asylum seekers in sub-standard housing'

Started by Stephen. Last reply by Mrs.B Jan 20, 2016. 1 Reply

Private security firms G4S and Serco have placed asylum seekers in sub-standard properties, according to a report by the National Audit Office.…Continue

Comment Wall

Nice Comment

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Comment by Chris on Wednesday

Kind of funny /ironic 'bout Hallal 'meat'

My understanding is in Abrahamic times it was about how to raise an animal and how to butcher it.

I wonder if the ancient history of Samentic people and problem with hogs is because pigs couldn't be hearded. 

Comment by Stephen on Tuesday

Number of victims of female genital mutilation in the Lancaster and Morecambe district on the rise
More victims of female genital mutilation in Morecambe Bay were seen for the first time by health services last year, figures show.
Experts and campaigners are calling for increased awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM) warning signs among younger women and girls.

In 2018-19, between one and seven victims of FGM were seen by health services in the Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group area, NHS Digital figures show.

Of those, at least one was having their injuries reported to the NHS for the first time.

Only approximate numbers are recorded in the data, to prevent identification of individual women.
FGM, where female genitals are removed, cut or injured for non-medical reasons, is illegal in the UK, and people carrying out or assisting with the procedure can be punished by up to 14 years in prison, even if it was abroad

Comment by Stephen on Tuesday

GCSE (Exam) student disqualified after examiner mistook hatred for halal meat for Islamophobia
Exam board OCR is said to have accused Abigail Ward, 16, of making "obscene racial comments" in her paper at Gildredge House school in Eastbourne, East Sussex
A vegetarian GCSE pupil was disqualified after criticising halal meat in a Religious Studies exam, it has today emerged.
Abigail Ward, 16, was accused of making "obscene racial comments" in her test.  She was informed by exam board OCR after committing a "malpractice offence".
The practicing vegetarian said in the paper in June she found the idea of halal meat "absolutely disgusting", Telegraph reports.
But the disqualification was overturned when the board was told the teenager's distaste for halal butchers came from the fact she is a strict vegetarian.
Abigail took the exam at Gildredge House school in Eastbourne, East Sussex, which appealed against the decision on the grounds that their student had not made an Islamophobic or racist comment about Muslims, but was merely expressing her distaste for halal butchers.

The girl's mum, Layla Ward, said the misunderstanding was probably down to an "over-zealous, over-righteous" examiner.
The 36-year-old nurse told the publication: "Abbey is an animal lover and a very strict vegetarian.
"It made me angry … when asked a question in the exam, you can't even express your feelings.

"It's great that it has been overturned, but it should never have happened.
"Philosophy is all about debating and getting your opinion out. I can’t believe how pathetic it is."

OCR said in a statement: "OCR takes all incidence of suspected offensive material against a religious group in exams very seriously and must apply rules which are set out for all exam boards in such cases.
"We accept that initially we did not reach the right conclusion and were too harsh."
Pupils get their GCSE results on Thursday.

Comment by Stephen on Monday

NSS urges the government to review its language on blasphemy laws

The National Secular Society has asked the government to review its stance on blasphemy laws amid concern that ministers only criticise their "misuse" rather than their existence.
In recent months several ministers have condemned the "misuse" of blasphemy laws in Pakistan in parliament without condemning the existence of the laws.
Last month Foreign Office minister Tariq Ahmad responded to a question in the Lords by saying the government "regularly" raises its "concerns about the misuse of the blasphemy laws" with Pakistan's government.
The question concerned the treatment of Shaghufta Kausar and her husband, who have been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges in Pakistan.
Other ministers who have used similar language include Mark Field, also on behalf of the Foreign Office, and Susan Williams and Liz Sugg of the Department for International Development.   In a letter to Ahmad, NSS chief executive Stephen Evans called for a review of the government's public statements on the matter.
"Blasphemy laws and religious restrictions on speech are incompatible with a genuine commitment to human rights.
"Around the world blasphemy laws continue to be used to target religious and political minorities. Responses that criticise only the 'misuse' of blasphemy laws suggest there may be legitimate uses for blasphemy laws.
"We urge the government to review its language to ensure a more robust approach to the defence of fundamental human rights. The best way to champion the rights and freedoms of people like Shaghufta Kausar, Asia Bibi and the many others who live in fear of religious persecution in Pakistan and elsewhere is to demand the repeal of blasphemy laws, without apology or qualification."
Asia Bibi was a woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan in 2010 who spent eight years on death row before being freed last year. The NSS named her lawyer, Saif ul Malook, as its Secularist of the Year for 2019 in May.
Official data has shown that more than 1,500 people were accused of blasphemy in Pakistan between 1987 and 2018, with religious minorities heavily targeted.
In 2017 a report from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom found laws restricting freedom of expression on religious issues in 71 countries. Most countries which had the laws punished blasphemy severely.
Free expression is a universal human right enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Comment by Stephen on Monday

"Churches have not owned our schools since 1872. That there remain these unchallenged religious privileges in education is tantamount to selling a house but retaining a back door key. Religious believers now account for fewer than half of all Scots with Christianity being a further subset of that minority and numbers plunge even further amongst the young. Faith groups argue that they bring a politically neutral wisdom to the table. This is an absurd idea. They lobby the government every day with their own ideologies. In our campaign of May 2013, Edinburgh Secular Society uncovered examples of creationist views held by religious nominees and of votes cast to maintain the sectarian segregation of children."

Neil Barber (communications officer, Edinburgh Secular Society)

"This century-old arrangement was originally put in place to protect the interests of the Churches whose schools were being merged into the national system. But surely, now, we can agree that the only interests that matter are those of the children, and the wider community of which they are part."

Professor Paul Braterman (spokesperson on education, Scottish Secular Society)

Comment by Stephen on Monday

Remove religious appointees from education committees

In Scotland, citizens of all faiths and beliefs can contribute to decisions about education through the democratic processes of seeking election to the Scottish Parliament or local councils. Many civically minded individuals also volunteer as governors, attend public meetings, or contribute to consultations and public debates. Given this, it makes no sense for religious organisations to be given an additional institutionally privileged role in education policy.
What’s the problem?

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 requires local authorities in Scotland to appoint three religious representatives to their education committees, at least one of whom must be appointed by the Catholic Church and one by the Protestant Church of Scotland. They are usually the only unelected members who receive voting privileges.
Reserving a special role in policy-making for representatives of specific religious institutions clearly runs counter to principles of equality. It automatically excludes the majority of Scottish citizens based on their protected characteristics of religion and belief. It also creates a hierarchy of inequity, caused by one place each being provided for Catholics and members of the Church in Scotland, while representatives of all other religions must compete for the remaining one.   

What are we doing?

We campaign for legislative change to remove automatic places on education committees for religious appointees. In the meantime, we campaign for councils to exercise their power to remove the voting privileges of religious appointees.

We supported the 2013 and 2016 petitions by the Edinburgh Secular Society and Scottish Secular Society respectively and the 2013 private member's bill by John Finnie MSP; all of which sought to end the requirement.

In April 2019, Perth and Kinross Council became the first to amend their standing orders to remove voting privileges from religious appointees following their controversial intervention in a school closure decision. We supported the council and wrote to all local authorities in Scotland urging them to follow the example.

In August 2019, we again wrote to all Councils and MSPs urging them to support our proposals and advising them of our major new report on the topic.

Religious Reps: Unrepresentative, Unnecessary and Unjustified surveys the positions of the Scottish Government, equality and religious bodies as well as all 32 local authorities in Scotland.

The report systematically examines and refutes the arguments put forward for retaining religious appointees. It has been endorsed by the Edinburgh Secular Society (ESS) and Scottish Secular Society (SSS), who led petitions on the subject at the Scottish Parliament in 2013 and 2016 respectively.

Comment by Mrs.B on August 12, 2019 at 2:50pm

Sounds good.

Comment by Stephen on August 12, 2019 at 2:33pm

Celebrating Dissent

Festival on Freedom of Thought - August 30 until September 1
Women and men from various countries and backgrounds come together in Amsterdam to celebrate freedom through theatre, talks, poetry, film and stand-up comedy. Women, non-believers and LGBT+ are often the victims of the strictest cultural and religious dogmas. The festival Celebrating Dissent honours their freedom. Freedom to think differently, freedom not to believe, and freedom to be yourself. A shout-out to everyone who fights for universal rights and freedom of speech. 

Comment by Stephen on August 7, 2019 at 2:23am

Humanists claim victory in battle to sit on RE councils 

Humanists say the decision to admit them to Greenwich advisory council on RE could have an impact across the country

Humanists say a London council has backed down in the face of a legal challenge after trying to bar them from sitting on its standing advisory council on religious education (SACRE).
The Royal Borough of Greenwich's decision is now "likely to pave the way for more humanists to sit on such bodies across England" alongside representatives of religious denominations, according to Humanists UK.

The organisation had warned that it would take the local authority to the High Court if it persisted in barring humanist Rachel Taggart-Ryan from its SACRE.

Control over religious education
She had applied for membership of the body that oversees the religious education curriculum, but its members voted against giving her full membership and voting rights, and Greenwich backed this decision on the grounds that humanism is not a religion.
Ms Taggart-Ryan sent the council a letter arguing that she had been discriminated against because she was a humanist.
Greenwich again refused to allow her to join the SACRE and Humanists UK then instructed solicitors, at which point Greenwich reversed its stance and admitted her as a full committee member.
Humanists UK chief executive Andrew Copson said: ‘It is now very clear that SACREs cannot discriminate against humanists by refusing them membership.
“Like religious representatives, humanists must be allowed to contribute and vote on decisions regarding the RE syllabus and we are glad that common sense has prevailed in this case.
“Hopefully, it will also ensure that more pupils in schools across England receive a broader RE syllabus where they learn about humanism alongside the major religions, which is a vital part of their education.”
Greenwich council and the Church of England have been contacted for comment.

Comment by Stephen on July 27, 2019 at 12:13pm

Hopefully a resurgent leftwing 


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