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Category Archive: Britain

Apr 19 2014

Sexual identity, secularity and politics: Alex Gabriel and Greta Christina in conversation

Greta Christina’s latest book hit shelves this week. She and I sat down to talk atheism, (bi)sexuality and politics. Here, in full, is what we said.

Apr 18 2014

Secularism is not PC. Britain’s government should know

Gordon Brown never managed to live down his tongue-tied boast he’d saved the world. If that came to be his defining gaffe, David Cameron’s claim last week to be continuing God’s work surely has similar potential. ‘Jesus invented the Big Society’, he told Christian authorities at Downing Street a week ago. ‘I just want to …

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Apr 14 2014

A media that paints puritans and fanatics as mainstream forfeits its right to condemn them

Asif Quraishi, better known as drag queen Asifa Lahore, sits unassumingly in a TV studio. ‘One question I’d like to ask’, he says, ‘is when will it be all right to be Muslim and gay?’ The programme is Twitter-powered BBC Three debate series Free Speech, whose host Rick Edwards (of Tool Academy and, unexpectedly, Cambridge) …

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Apr 04 2014

No, Tom Daley didn’t just call himself a gay man

Five months after insisting he still fancied girls, Tom Daley, who came out as bisexual last December in an emotional YouTube video, has made a new announcement: last night, the 19-year-old admitted he only wants to be with men and says he is no longer attracted to women, confirming that he is actually gay. ‘I …

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Mar 02 2014

Dawkins, Grayling and the New College of the Humanities: secularists should know the dangers of private education

‘It’s high time that the atheist left asserted itself against the atheist right – an Occupy Skepticism, if you will.’ (Jeff Sparrow) Three years ago, A.C. Grayling – till shortly thereafter, the British Humanist Association’s president elect – announced plans for a private university. New College of the Humanities, whose doors have opened since, was thought …

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Mar 01 2014

Weird and wonderful: why Matt Smith’s Doctor was better than David Tennant’s

Doctors

At Christmas, in a sudden, violent lurch, Peter Capaldi’s face became the Doctor’s. His announcement in the role pleased critics and excited fans as David Tennant’s had in 2005, fresh off the smash-hit set of Casanova – both actors, loved by the public as it was, were hotly tipped for the part. Capaldi, pictured last …

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Feb 23 2014

Making atheism less middle class: Alex Gabriel speaking in London, March 23

Doubts costs nothing; voicing them can cost a lot. A piece I wrote for AlterNet last month, on the need for an economically inclusive secular scene, was well received. Readers from half a dozen groups said they’d implement ideas there, the Sunday Assembly asked my advice on reaching poorer congregants, and Conway Hall Ethical Society asked …

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Feb 22 2014

Chutney, pineapples and flying spaghetti: why atheism can never be inoffensive enough

This month, posters were snatched from an atheist group at South Bank University. ‘Looking for logic?’ they read, Flying Spaghetti Monster in God’s place on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. ‘Pastafarianism is a real religion.’ Not quite The Satanic Verses, but student union officials took them down in the society’s absence, afraid they’d trigger ‘religious offence’. (The …

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Feb 19 2014

Unsex me here! Gender, Julie Bindel and Gia Milinovich

Reference to all kinds of transphobia, be warned, ensues immediately. Overture ‘We are angry with ourselves’, Suzanne Moore of New Humanist and other zines wrote this time last year of women, ‘for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.’ The article, on …

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Jan 20 2014

A study in reset buttons: the trouble with ‘His Last Vow’ and Sherlock series three

Sherlock had a good first series and great second one. The recently aired third helping fell somewhere in between, but its final part, the glossily directed ‘His Last Vow’, was deeply flawed. (Spoilers to follow.) There was much to like, even to laud, about it. The story’s opening showed more promise than either of its predecessors’, …

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