National Secular Society’s latest attempts to interfere with our Catholic schools

The National Secular Society, led by the homosexuals Terry Sanderson and Keith Porteous-Wood, are attempting to interfere with the freedom of the Catholic Church to run our schools according to our beliefs.

Michael Gove, the Education Minister, has rejected calls from the National Secular Society to intervene in response to the Bishops Conference issuing guidance about disciplinary action to be taken in the event of senior teachers being unchaste or being apostate. The NSS is calling for the law to be changed that allows faith school teachers to be disciplined or dismissed for conduct that is incompatible with the school’s religion. “We are concerned that such a harsh and unfair law drives a coach and horses through equality legislation and leaves teachers, paid using public money, uniquely vulnerable to discrimination.”

The National Secular Society, which has labelled the guidance “prurient and tyrannical”, this week wrote to education secretary Michael Gove calling for him to insist that the Catholic Education Service withdraw the booklet.

“The restrictions concerning the private lives of teachers employed in state schools go beyond the pale,” wrote Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society, adding: “Criteria relating to activity outside the academic environment detailed in this publication are unreasonable and unrealistic; particularly in publicly funded schools and academies.”

However, Michael Gove has rejected the interference of the NSS in our schools:

But the Department for Education said today: ‘This is a matter for schools and their governors.
‘Faith schools can consider whether a person’s conduct is in line with their religious values when dismissing teachers. However schools must also comply with employment law.’

However, the NSS has succeeded in getting the European Commission to open an investigation into whether UK legislation relating to state funded ‘faith’ schools breaches European employment laws in relation to discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief. The NSS have complained about “The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA) and Education Act 2011, and the extent to which they permit, as they put it, discrimination against staff employed in state funded ‘faith’ schools (in practice, mainly staff not of the religion or denomination promoted by the school). The NSS claim that the level of discrimination permitted in ‘faith’ schools against non-religious teachers and those not of the faith of the school goes beyond that which is permitted by European Directive 2000/78/EC, which establishes a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, and the level of discrimination permitted is increased for academies.”

Protect the Pope comment: At present Catholic schools have the right to appoint Catholics to senior positions in our schools, such as Heads, Deputy Heads, Head of RE, and other leadership posts. Our schools also have the right to insist that teachers abide by the moral teachings of the Church. The National Secular Society is seeking to remove our rights to run our schools according to our faith. The National Secular Society is a tiny organisation with a small membership, but it has an influence way beyond its insignificance. They appear to be well-funded, and they obviously have friends in high-places, such as the BBC and the European Commission, that bastion of secularism.

55 comments to National Secular Society’s latest attempts to interfere with our Catholic schools

  • Lola

    CHRISTIANS cannot claim that they have suffered religious discrimination at work if they have the freedom to resign and look for another job, a British-government lawyer (James Eadie QC)told the European Court of Human Rights this week.

    Perhaps, we can substitute Christians with “staff” and send it back to NSS, Deacon Nick.

  • Michael Petek

    Homosexualists Terry Sanderson and Keith Porteous-Wood. Two terrorists. See my earlier posting if you want to know in what manner they are so.

  • Dave

    Imagine if an atheist group started running a state school.

    Now imagine if a young atheist teacher took their first job in that school.

    If they worked hard, taught well and inspired their pupils, they could have a glittering career.

    Would you remain quiet if they were sacked for converting to Catholicism?

    Would you defend the school’s decision?

    • Andrzej

      If the school was openly and manifestly atheist, I would agree that they have the right to sack a religious person. Parents have a right to educate their children in the surroundings they find best.

    • Nicolas Bellord

      If your atheist school required its teachers to teach atheism and a teacher then converted to the Catholic Church he could not as a matter of conscience continue to teach atheism. He should resign. If he did not do so and started to promote Catholicism then I would have no problem if the school were to sack him.

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick,
    Keith Porteous Wood and the chappy he shares a duvet with , Terry Sanderson, (author of “The gay man’s Kama Sutra”-I kid you not!) are the leading lights in the NSS…Sanderson is apparently a retired psychiatric nurse and Wood allegedly is a retired administrator.

    So where is their money coming from to spend on all these energetic campaigns?

    Perhaps someone ought to investigate the charity status and funding of the National Secular Society and if they are in any any way in breach of charity report them to the Charity Commission?

    • John Dare

      Where does the money come from to deck out the cardinals in all their finary Rif?

      • Rifleman819

        From their own pockets mostly. Or from their own family’s.Where does yours
        come from? Where does the gear for the new Archbishop of Canterbury come from?

        And most ceremonial attire in nearly every Christian Church is held in a pool -not really personal at all.

        My Number 1 Greens uniform was bought by myself… Crossbelt and sword were inherited.The rest was issued ,paid by the taxpayer.

        John ….where did the fine suits that Martin Luther King used to wear come from, then? You could go on.

        Not quite sure the point you are making , John?

        I suspect that the accounts of most mainstream Christian churches in the UK would hold up to better scrutiny than the NSS.

        While we are at it…there were murky dealings where the new non-Catholic adoption agencies, having severed their link to the Catholic church, allegedly still hold Catholic charitable funds-intended for a far different purpose and in a far different age. Now THAT really is a scandal.

        • John Dare

          Too much detail Rif, my only point was that all organisations get money from somewhere.

          As a general point though, it is a bit rich that ‘the widows mite’ funds red frocks, Swiss guards, palaces etc etc. Same point applies to CofE and Her maj. BTW.

          • Rifleman819

            John ,
            They don’t ….that’s the point about your point!
            What other organisation do you know that represents about 1 in 7 walking the planet that has an infrastructure roughly equivalent to Rutland County Council?

          • John Dare

            Red frocks and gold, guarded by ‘swiss’ (Are they really swiss?) is bad pr at best mate, no idea about the Rutland comparison thingy.

    • Pedro

      The NSS isn’t a charity.

      It’s annually audited accounts are available from Companies House. You’ll find that it is funded entirely by its membership, of which I am proud to say, I am one.

      • Rifleman819

        Pedro ,
        Can Catholics join it?

        • Haslam

          Their website says that new members must agree to the Societies General Principles..

          The National Secular Society asserts that there is no rational basis for belief in god(s). It affirms that this life is the only one of which we have any knowledge and human effort should be directed wholly towards its improvement.

          The National Secular Society affirms that freedom of expression and the free criticism of institutions and ideas are fundamental human rights essential to a civilised State.

          Affirming that morality is social in origin and application, the National Secular Society aims to promote the happiness and well-being of humanity.

          The National Secular Society demands the complete separation of Church and State and the abolition of all privileges granted to religious organisations.

          • Rifleman819

            Bit like the Creed.What would they say if the “Catholic church demands the complete freedom to worship in the tradition of the Apostles in the Dowry of Mary” was posted on the website of the Bishops’ conference?

            Has the NSS’s “freedom of expression and free criticism of institutions” been extended to the Whitechapel Road E1?

            I saw Terry Sanderson and his enamorata Keith prominent in demonstrations against the Pope yet a tad absent from ones near the East London Mosque.

            Why was that I wonder?

            Not quite the heroes then……………..and when the next Islamic school opens anywhere let’s see the NSS promised campaign take shape against these schools…….as it did in Richmond against Catholic schools.

          • JamesM

            Surely by their own standards the NSS is discriminatory?

            As a Catholic I am blocked from joining the organisation by its “General Principles”

      • Rifleman819

        Pedro ,
        Whilst you are on ….I understand that the NSS is planning a campaign to highlight the terms and conditions of teachers in Muslim schools …when is it starting please?
        Also I gather the first press release may be issued soon .Can you clarify this for us?

        • Pedro


          If you do a quick google search, or a search on the NSS website, you’ll find that the NSS has been campaigning against Muslim schools for decades, just as it campaigns against all sectarian schools. You’ll also find that it is one of the few organizations campaigning for the abolition of Kosher and Halal slaughter. It is a prominent supporter of the One Law for All campaign that seeks to restrict the application of Sharia Law in the UK. It highlights the teaching of creationism in Muslim schools. It publicly supported Salman Rushdie and many dissident Muslim writers. It provides promotional support for the Council of Ex-Muslims etc. etc. etc.

          Sorry to burst your little “they wouldn’t dare do that to Muslims” complex, but we do dare, all the time.

          • Riflemam819

            Pedro ,
            Not a complex at all ….the RISC Campaign in Richmond was specifically against two Catholic schools …with NSS fronted demos on or very close to the two actual sites.
            All the other stuff you quoted is terribly safe, general and disingenous , isn’t it?

            All generalised…..I have no problem with that -just to point out the relative sizes of the NSS and the numbers of parents in England and Wales who wish to send their children to Church schools and denominationl schools-that’s democracy.

            But what I want to see is that the NSS in future drops its hypocrisy and has a really local campaign against planned Muslim state schools in a specific location. As you daringly did in Richmond against Catholic ones.
            Your organisation did so in Richmond ….and failed.I am waiting to see if the National Secular Society lives up to what it says on your tin ….so we wait and look for the possible campaigns in say Luton , Tower Hamlets and parts of the West Midlands against specific Muslim state schools..
            I simply do not believe you have the balls to do it.
            Sorry to crush your “daring” complex so early in the morning.

    • Ray

      If you are going to rant in this ridiculous manner, please at least do your homework. The NSS is not and never has been a registered charity. Additionally its accounts are freely available to anyone who cares to make the appropriate enquiry to Companies House. Although tempted to respond further I have restrained myself as I don’t feel you are worthy of further intelligent rational comment.

  • Joseph Matthew

    And so many christians do not seem to realize that this homosexual led organization will challenge any exemptions to “gay marriage” in the European Court.

  • ms Catholic state

    Here is an excellent comment from Sam of Kettering on the subject……’If you stop pushing the equality agenda down our throats well not push our religion down yours’

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    • John Dare

      Puzzled Ms, why would you want to push religion down a mans throat? But accepting that you do want to do this, why stop if you feel that you are ‘right’?

      • ms Catholic state

        That is not my comment actually….but I thought it was apt in secular/natural terms. However…Catholics are indeed called always and everywhere to spread the Faith (but its not forcing anybody…unlike the way secularism is forced down our throats. Ugh)

      • Rifleman819

        John ,

        How would the NSS react then if Deacon Nick kept on “interfering” in their Society.Turn the other cheek?
        I doubt it.

        Well I’m sure Keith P-W and Terry Sanderson and Peter Tatchell would all have another “outrage” wouldn’t they?

        They must be in a continual state of high blood pressure.

        Ms Catholic state is quite correct …these people have/are crossing the street to pick a fight with us but they miscalculate with the Catholic church.

        And all the Gay/secularist lobby fodder ain’t going to walk down Sharia Lane E1 1JX with banners and slogans are they?
        And we all know why.

        • John Dare

          Too much detail Rif. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

          • Rifleman819

            John ,
            Don’t think so on that one.Don’t think I am ” wrong” either!
            Are you seriously saying that the NSS would let Deacon Nick have a free critique on their web/blogs?

          • John Dare

            Don’t give a fourx son, like I hinted, a little more dignity / restraint required.

        • Pedro

          “How would the NSS react then if Deacon Nick kept on “interfering” in their Society.”

          Oh please, please try this. I could do with a laugh.

          • Rifleman819

            Pedro ,

            OK then …….when is the NSS going flood the East London mosque or even comment on things Islamic in their fora ….as you are doing here in complete freedom.

            I don’t have a problem with your organisation ….which has a very considerable amount of media savvy….but you know and I know that banner waving demos against the Pope are fine but the NSS isn’t going to do the same against Islamic institutions is it?

            You try and pick your targets carefully , don’t you?

            My esteem for the NSS would shoot up when the BBC covers the the scene of NNS activists trailing in as survivors from your first and only whistle blowing , banner waving demo directly demo against the Central or East London mosques.
            Trouble with the NSS …it talks a good war….with some skill(I’ll admit)………..but if you truly believe in the cause-launch that specific campaign against the next Muslim school in Solihull….as you did with Catholics in Richmond.
            But if you aren’t…it is just hypocrisy , isn’t it?

          • JamesM


            When is the NSS going to raise an objection to a Charity in this country that discriminates based on people’s sexuality? The Charity I refer to is Stonewall. They describe themselves as “The lesbian, gay and bisexual charity”. As a heterosexual male they discriminate by not not offering their services to me based solely on my sexuality.

    • Brien

      The cart is before the horse. Which started first!?

      We are attempting to tell religions to stop trying to force their unproven ‘Truths’ in a modern world.

      A direct result of this brain-washing is waking me up and asking for proof, or challenging the religions with fraud. In business you would be charged with fraud.

  • George Mortimer

    Can I ask why you think it necessary to inform us that they are homosexuals? I’m not sure how that is relevant to a discussion on employment rights in Catholic schools.

    • Rifleman819


      Because they make a huge point of it on every occasion, or had you not noticed? And because of their proven animus in the media against Catholicism -that’s why.

      So can I as a Catholic start asking questions about the NSS and their agenda-especially their planned campaign to protest about future Muslim schools?

      I asked the NSS on their future plans in that direction and for comments on contractual obligations of staff in Muslim schools.

      Never got a reply.

      Have you any comment on that , then? But of course even now they must be planning one-if only in the interests of Equality.

    • Pedro


      Deacon Nick, who is a Catholic, thinks that simply pointing out they are homosexual is in itself sufficient to discredit them and to suggest that they have a hidden agenda.

      I’d just like to point out that the agenda is in no way hidden. The agenda is to ensure that the Catholic Church complies with the law, whether it likes it or not.

      • Rifleman819

        Pedro ,

        I liked this post… you as a member of the National Secular Society, the organisation that you are proud to be a member of, are explicitly stating that the comment you made above about the Catholic church also applies to Muslim mosques and associated Islamic institutions?

        “To ensure that Muslim organisations comply with the law, whether they like it or not”

        Is that a fair inference? Have I got that right?

        I presume I must have made the correct deduction because the NSS is determined on Equality for all, isn’t it?

        I would be very pleased if you could confirm on this blog that that is the meaning of your words.

  • Karla

    All this group does is complain about religious people and religious institutions. They should rename thesmelves the National Complainers Society

  • Rifleman819

    Karla ,
    In fact they don’t. Not about one particular religion at least.As garrulous as Trappists when that denomination is mentioned.Terry and Keith go all over coy and tongue-tied. I can only presume that is because they wish to retain them.

    • Haslam

      sorry, I don’t understand that post.

      • Rifleman819


        Why all the sudden interest by the NSS in the contractual conditions of Catholic schools?

        The point I am making is that I have yet to hear them making similar comments about the employment criteria for staff in Hindu, Sikh , Jewish or Muslim schools.

        And I can see them fearlessly assaulting madrassas with rage and indignation over this issue …in the interests of Equality, as I’m sure you can .
        Or perhaps you can’t?

        • andy

          How many tax payer funded Manassas are there? Just asking

          • rifleman819

            Andy ,

            A fair number actually…funded indirectly by community and social education grants from councils and LEAs where there is a sizeable Muslim population.
            In the interests of Equality I am surprised that the NSS has not picked this up and launched challenges of the kind it funded up to High Court judicial review with Catholic schools in Richmond?

            Funny that , isn’t it?

            But with Pedro’s assertion that all religions will be challenged by the NSS on the Equality agenda I look fwd to THISC, LISC, WMISC-Tower Hamlets Inclusive Schools Campaign, Luton Inclusive Schools Campaign, West Midlands Inclusive Schools Campaign….and I bet you are really excited about that Andy , aren’t you?

            The joy of fearless, free, equality-driven demonstrations by the NSS and BHS on the very sites of proposed Muslim schools….just as you did with Catholic ones in Richmond.( RISC-Richmond Inclusive Schools Campaign)

            And the thrill of launching High Court judicial reviews against Islamic schools must push you close to ecstacy.

            And of course , if you don’t, …..the NSS will be explaining why, won’t it?

            All in the interests of equality, of course.

  • Augustine

    It appears that some prominent members of the National Secular Society have got a chip on their shoulders about the Christian Faith in general and the Catholic Church in particular – mainly because of the moral teachings of Christianity.

    But probably because they do not believe in life after death, they are rather reluctant to attack the Islamic Faith which also views homosexual activity as immoral.

    So they prefer to attack Christianity because it is a soft target.

    But they do not seem to realise that their promotion of “alternative” lifestyles enrages the Muslim community much more than they could ever imagine.

    And what goes around, comes around.

  • imberhk

    Schools financed by the state and taxpayers should be secular and open to all.

    • Karla

      Many Catholics pay taxes too and their taxes contribute to non faith schools, so why shouldn’t non Catholics and Catholics taxes equally contribute to faith schools? Many non Catholics attend Catholic schools. Not only that but Catholic schools are known for their good education and educate many children from low income households that otherwise would not get a good education

      • Sabbag

        Back to basics question. Why do you feel education has to be faith based? If you are confident in the veracity of your faith, then surely it will be self evident to your children that they too should follow it. Why does their education have to be faith based as well?

    • Rifleman819


      Agreed …schools wholly funded by the taxpayer should be open to all.
      Catholic schools are not funded 100% by the taxpayer ….so your argument fails.

  • Bob Hayes

    The NSS’ vindictive hostility to religion and people of religious faith is evident from its campaigns. They seek to drive all religion out of the public square. The maliciousness of its agenda is evident when one reads its campaign statements. Do take a look at its website.

    Read about its campaigns, but where you see the word ‘Christian’, ‘Muslim’ or ‘religion’ mentally replace that word with ‘football’. The petty vindictiveness becomes immediately apparent.

    Consider: ‘football shouldn’t be taught in schools’; ‘football is worshipped by only a minority and shouldn’t be rammed down pupils throats’; ‘politicians should not mention their football allegiances in Parliament’; ‘people are entitled to their football allegiances but should not seek to express them in the workplace’; ‘no aspect of football should be discussed in council meetings lest it cause anxiety to those who do not follow the game’; ‘local government should not fund/sponsor the playing of football – it is a private matter’; ‘the BBC should not spend millions on football propaganda’ – and so on.

    Yes, the NSS is waging a hate campaign against religion – I have no doubt.

  • Augustine

    Catholic schools that were opened in the early part of the 20th century or earlier were both built and funded by the Catholic community – with no assistance from either local or central Government. The so-called “outdoor collections” were originally instituted to raise money to pay for the salaries of teachers in Catholic schools.

    The Labour MP John Scurr spoke out eloqently in support of Catholic Schools when new legislation was being proposed. It ruined his own political career – but it saved Catholic Schools. (You can read his speeches on the web as Hansard is now available on-line.)

    As government legislation raised the school leaving age and insited on a higher ratio of teachers to students, assistance was eventually given first from the local rates and then from central government – in recognition of the fact that Catholics had been paying twice for the education of their children.

    The funding of schools changed with first teachers’ salaries being paid and then grants being awarded to aid (as the word suggests) with the building costs of Voluntary Aided Schools. The building grants negotiated by Bishop (later Archbishop) Beck after the Second World War were originally 50%. But before then, 100% of the building costs of Catholic Schools were paid for by the Catholic community.

    It is also a fallacy to suppose that State Schools are “non sectarian”. It is still a legal requirement that they should teach religion and hold religious-based assemblies for the whole school which incorporate an act of worship.

    Archbishop Downey of Liverpool rightly described the Agreed Common Religious Syllabus as “the religion of nobody, taught by anybody – and paid for by everybody”.

  • rifleman819

    John ,
    Bad PR?-The Pontifical Swiss Guard are loved by tourists across the world!
    What I was saying is that the RCC-as a nation state-is administered by a staff almost certainly less than that in Oakham running England’s smallest county.

  • rifleman819

    For John,

    Sorry you misread me.The NSS commentators who have joined this part of Deacon Nick’s blog site have freely expressed their opinions about the Pope, the church and Catholicism-as is their free and democratic right.
    Terry Sanderson and Keith P-W have crossed the street to pick a fight in particular with the Catholic church…again not a problem with that.

    But in equality what is wrong with fighting your corner?

    Do you have a problem with me fighting my corner, because I don’t!?

    Sauce for goose is likewise for the gander.

    The NSS and the BHA are experts at fighting disingenuous campaigns against Christianity in general and Catholics in particular-again their democractic right.

    It is also the democratic right of taxpaying Catholics to respond and to point out in the public forum that these two organisations are highly selective in whom they take on.

    They are both vindictive and cowardly in their methods.They represent a tiny ,tiny fraction of the population but are PR savvy and highly focussed.
    And they would not dream in attacking Muslim state education in the way that they have done recently in the LB Richmond with Catholic education.
    So , if they throw down the gauntlet they should not be surprised if someone picks it up and smacks them round the chops with it.

    Moral: Never cross a road to deliberately pick a fight with a soldier-you will almost certainly lose.

  • Rifleman 819

    Deacon Nick ,

    Awfully off topic …..yet! If it is confirmed through definitive DNA that the skeleton in the car park really is Richard 111 there is now talk of him being re-interred in the CoE Leicester Cathedral.

    Richard Plantagenet died at Bosworth in 1485 in the Catholic Faith, a full 45 years before the English Reformation.

    I hope that someone in the RC Hierarchy will forcefully point out that -whatever his alleged misdeeds-he should be given a solemn requiem Mass,of the Sarum Rite , maybe? in accordance with the state that England then was.

    It would be the final humiliation to be buried again with the Catholicly-meaningless ceremonies of a church founded by the son of your sworn enemy Henry Tudor.

    Soggy 21st century ecumenism would be wholly inappropriate.

    Perhaps it would be the right thing to do to invite the ancient English Catholic recusant families to attend?-their ancestors having fought under various colours of Rose.

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