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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

What Our Members Say

I have a profound interest in democracy, freedom of expression, inclusivity and equality - all of which are undermined by religious organisations.

Pat, Worcestershire

"The general attitude of hostility towards secularism which is widely equated with being a 'militant' finally convinced me that the time had come to be a more active supporter of the cause."

Karen, Peterborough

"Religious views should not be impressed upon others... We should not have religion involved in dictating law, meddling in politics and education."

Pauline, Banbury

I find the privilege provided to religion within our society to be intolerable. It is tiresome to repeatedly hear and see the straw man view of secularism being cynically attacked by those who wish only to preserve the status quo, and who see anything but religious privilege as them being persecuted. It is tiresome when my local MP defends religious schools because, as a Christian, he feels he has the right to send his children to a school with a Christian ethos – and we now find that some local parents cannot find a non-religious school and have to fight for their children's rights. Surprise? I found the NSS to be one of the major organisations effectively working to address these inequalities, and that is why I support the NSS".

Dalis, Bucks

"As a medical student, what concerns me most is NHS funding for hospital chaplains."

Brendan, Lisburn, Co. Antrim

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.

Heather, Preston

I had been thinking about joining the NSS for a while. It's all very well pointing the finger at Islamic faith schools and suggesting they are potentially damaging children, but the only way to solve this whole problem is to leave all religion out of education. The situation in Sudan with apostasy - again, the only whole solution is to leave religion out of law. I'm not anti-religion, but I am against giving any or all religions a free ride.

Tom, Leeds

"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."

Stipo, London

Although I always believed in the NSS values and meant to join it was David Cameron's recent speech on religion the made me put my money where my mouth is and join. I'm against any sort of religious privilege but as a father of 2 young children the issue that infuriates me the most and what got me into the NSS is faith schools and the denomination admissions criteria and the blindingly obvious discrimination and lack of equality that the government fails to accept.

Bryn, Berkshire

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.

Nicolle, London

I have become convinced that secularism, rather than belief/unbelief is the real issue before us. Religion aint going away, but we can secure the public space for all with privilege for none

Tony, West Yorkshire

"It was good to see tangible results from the NSS in the form of the High Court ruling on council meeting prayers."

Alex, Surrey

"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."

Matthew, London

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.

Diane, Chester

'Generally speaking I am a realist rather than an idealist. That in the 21st Century supernatural beliefs still have a significant influence in matters of State is 'unreal'. The valuable work of the NSS must be supported.'

Fi, Hampshire

"Secularism gives us a fair and inclusive society where everyone has an equal voice as part of democracy, and no one group is given more weight and importance over another. I do hope in my lifetime I see Britain become a truly secular nation."

Kenneth, via Facebook

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.

John, Norfolk

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.

Stephen, Kent

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.

Nicklas, Haywards Heath

I discovered the NSS shortly after I began studying Politics in the Sixth Form, whilst researching pressure groups. I found the concept of secularism particularly interesting as i've always held similar beliefs and so I have decided to join to promote the cause of religious freedom and equality.

Edward, Wiltshire

"I have been thinking of joining for some time but Baronness Warsi finally talked me into it. I am particularly concerned about faith schools. I try to express these views reasonably and do not see why they should be labelled 'strident' at the first opportunity."

Nick, York

"Religious belief, or the lack of it, should have as much place in the formulation of government policy as ducking stools and witchcraft."

Tim, Norfolk

"The Pope's attitude to secularists and atheists prompted me to join NSS. We are not all aggressive or militant. We just want justice and fairness."

Gemma, Worcester

"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

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.

Tim, Gloucestershire