What Our Members Say
I have long been convinced that the only way to fight religious extremism of all origins, and to protect the basic liberties of all citizens, is to work towards a a properly secular and democratic society, in which freedom of religious practice and expression (within the law) is safeguarded, but where the state takes no sides in religion save to ensure that it has no special privileges and cannot be forced on anyone.
As far as I'm concerned people should be free to worship and adore whichever deity they like, but let that be their choice and theirs alone. The NSS is important because there are too few organisations in this country that can act as a voice for secularists and make a difference, especially when disproportionately influential groups with the support of their friends in high places continue to try to impose their brand of religious dogma on people like me.
"I was spurred on to join the NSS by the recent torrent of attacks on secularism by Baroness Warsi and assorted clerics, columnists and politicos. Last year I was revolted by the Pope's poisonous and mendacious claim that nazi Germany was the result of atheism."
Michael, Scottish Borders
"It was good to see tangible results from the NSS in the form of the High Court ruling on council meeting prayers."
"To me it seems self-evident that the state should take no role whatsoever in promoting any particular faith in any sphere of public life. The NSS seems to me to be one of the strongest and most effective groups working to raise public awareness, overcoming peoples' inertia and lack of information."
"I thought it was refreshing to hear someone who was voicing my opinions without being offensive or belittling those who have religious beliefs. I'm an atheist myself and I have no problem with others believing whatever they like as long as it doesn't impact upon everyone else. I feel everyone should be treated equally regardless of gender, sexuality, colour, religion, etc and that nobody should have different treatment or rules over anyone else. I find it quite scary that our education and legal system is pandering to religion. Keep up the good work!"
"I have come to appreciate that the NSS is often a lone voice of rationality in the wilderness that is dominated by religious dogma, bigotry and political manipulation."
"I am angry about faith schools, free schools, and ridiculous 'faith' based views such as teaching young women to 'just say no' in Sex Education."
"I decided to join the NSS because I am fed up of politicians acting as though a dilemma exists between equality, civil rights, and religious freedom. This is evident in the policies on religious slaughter, equal marriage, and evangelism in schools. No such dilemma exists. Secularism presents the ideal compromise which would lead to a truly equal and multicultural Britain. I live in hope that the political parties will eventually realise this."
When I studied law and politics at A-level then law at Newcastle University, I learnt of all the privileges given to religion which I strongly oppose. My main motivation for joining the NSS was to show my support and help raise awareness to the issues of inequality and unjust privileges religious institutes receive. As a law student one of my main interests is in a secular legislature that produces legislation founded in equality and does not legislate to protect special interests of religion in society and especially not ill-founded religious opinions into law.
Matthew, South Shields
"Organised religion has had far too much privilege, power and protection for far too long. Humanity needs to evolve and the continued inclusion of superstitious beliefs in the affairs of state is not helping that process."
I have recently moved to the UK from America and had difficulties with my daughter's primary school and the fact I wanted her pulled out of worship. I contacted your organization and Stephen Evans (NSS campaigns manager) helped me every step of the way. He was supportive and knowledgeable with the topic. Thank you for all your help.
"It worries me that certain faith groups feel they can impose their views - on matters such as abortion, contraception and assisted suicide - onto others."
"I joined NSS because I sense that those who promote religious observance are becoming more strident, and I believe we need a stronger voice in opposition."
I think all groups, religious, atheistic or agnostic, have enough common ground to be able to live together in harmony under secular systems of governance, law, welfare, education, etc.
Seeing how religious minorities, atheists and apostates are often routinely treated in theocratic countries is sickening. Every human being should have the right to their own thoughts, their own beliefs and their own religious choices. Provided that they do not impinge on other people's rights, people should be free to express their religious beliefs.
"I refuse to have my children made to feel different by accepting the offer to 'opt out' of religious assemblies. I am joining the NSS because I find it reprehensible that faith plays such a large part in our education system."
|"I joined NSS because I believe in religious freedom and freedom from religion. I want Britain to be a forward-thinking, fair and rational place to live for everyone and for future generations."|
"We should not label our children as Christian, Muslim or any other religious group. So big NO to faith schools."
"As a retired head teacher, I have always been concerned by the requirement of schools to provide a daily act of collective worship. I read about the NSS's campaign to abolish this requirement and decided to add my voice."
Ray, Tyne & Wear
When I first joined I was motivated really by my atheism. Since that time however I have come to see the NSS as an organisation with a much broader and balanced agenda that I can subscribe to with enthusiasm. The removal of privileges from religion in all aspects of our lives has become very important to me. I have been enormously impressed by the way the organisation has carried out its aims - with courtesy, integrity and fortitude. I am delighted to be a member.
"Despite deliberately choosing a secular school for our 5 year old daughter, she is still taught religion as fact, has to attend 'communal worship' and has told us several times that she "believes in Jesus". I am deeply concerned about the teaching of religion in schools and the broader issue of community cohesion when faith schools automatically divide our children into 'us' and 'them'."
I chose a non-denominational school for my son and yet he still has to take part in daily collective worship including singing hymns. A theatre group called "Open the Book" entertain his class once a week with stories from the Bible. This is in addition to an RE class every week. I believe religion should be taken out of schools altogether and the hours currently spent on trying to instil Christian beliefs into our children given over to other aspects of the curriculum which will better ready them for adult life. What can I do to help this happen? I don't want to exclude him from anything his classmates are involved in as I feel this would just make him the odd-one-out.
"I strongly believe that religious laws should never be intertwined with state laws, in any shape or form. Whilst I believe that people should have the free will to practice whatever religion they wish, it should never interfere with the legal system, policy-making, and vital services such as education, health, and such like. I therefore support any actions that challenges religious organisations' campaigns to manipulate laws and services in accordance with their own biased belief systems/laws. Whilst I may not produce anything earth-shattering or revolutionary, I hope that my membership is enough to make a valid contribution to this important cause."
In many ways I think it was inevitable that I would eventually get around to joining (the NSS) as their stated General Principles very accurately represent my outlook. I feel very strongly that religious beliefs are valid and appropriate when held and practiced privately, but that if you use your beliefs to justify your actions towards others then you must in turn be prepared to justify your beliefs.
What prompted me finally to join was simply that I felt I had had enough of religious organisations trying to establish themselves as being above criticism. That it is not possible to criticise or comment on religious practices without being told that you are being offensive frankly scares me.
My privately held views on dogma vs. reason are not something I feel I can act on publicly, but in Secularism there is a cause for which I can be politically active. Ultimately it's about removing the archaic rights given to religions to infringe my liberty.