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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

What Our Members Say

"In our multi-faith society, secular values are for me more relevant than ever."

Anne, Bradford

"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'."

Caroline, Lancashire

"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

"For them to deny access to some parts of that knowledge (redacting of exam questions on evolution by a faith school) purely for personal reasons is an inexcusable dereliction of their duty as educators. I was therefore very pleased to hear a later report that Ofqual had investigated the issue and made a definitive ruling in favour of children's education. When I later heard of the key role NSS played in this positive outcome, I felt it necessary to show my support for the great work you're doing. I feel proud to know that my membership money will now go towards future successes like the one mentioned above in the ongoing fight for a fair and secular future for us all."

Luke

"I am angry with what I view as the permitted brainwashing of children within our education system. Myself and my wife joined the NSS to help protect children from adults with religious and faith based agendas."

Timothy, London

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 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."

Amber

"The NSS is Britain's front line defence against the vested interests of organised religion that damage our public institutions, not least in education and local government."

Clive, Bideford

I live in a country where 26 individuals appointed as Bishops by the Church of England have the ability to pass and influence legislation which will directly affect me and my life - for no other reason other than they hold a personal faith in, and work for, the established church - This is unacceptable to me. I live in a world where those with faith believe that somehow the laws which have been crafted in a democratic Parliament can be ignored on the basis of what they believe to be right.

Matt, Ipswich

"I have long resented the special privileges given to religion in our society. However, apart from arguing my point, I have pretty much remained in the shadows; it was the Prime Minister's speech (on the UK being a "Christian Nation") which made me realise that I need to be counted and I should put my money where my mouth is."

Marcus, Milford Haven

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

Pat, Worcestershire

"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."

Richard, Southampton

"Now I have a family and one of my kids will be starting school in September, I am concerned what's going to be taught to them. As part of the school selection process, I did check to make sure the school wasn't too religious and indeed focused inequitably towards just Christianity. I have no issues with schools "teaching" religions so long as they teach them all with equal balance. I would not send my children to a religious school as I don't want them to be exposed to evangelical practices when they are so young and impressionable."

Peter, Leeds

It is clear that on many secular issues, atheists and many theists have common interests, and by working together on these issues our voices will be louder... While I am personally no longer religious, I absolutely support people's right to religious freedom.

Tim, Cheltenham

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

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 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

"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."

Tom, Liskeard

"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

"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."

David, Shropshire

"I want to see a secular challenge to the automatic assumption made by the media and political leaders that religions have a monopoly on morals, which is why I joined the NSS."

Alan, Dorset

'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

As I see it, the NSS is the only organization fighting religious privilege on a daily, systematic basis. The NSS acts as a vital counterbalance to the minister of "faith", whatever that is, in the government and the alarmingly large number of MPs who campaign on behalf of religious groups, not to mention the 26 bishops in the Lords. The NSS represents the views of the rational majority against the deluded but sinister and powerful minority.

Tony, Hampshire

"Religion should not provide a justification for discrimination, for breaching a person's human rights or for intolerance."

Stephen, Teddington

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