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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

What Our Members Say

"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

"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

"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

"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

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

Stephen, Teddington

"As a retired head of a comprehensive school, I am very concerned at the growth of so-called 'faith' schools. I very strongly believe they are dangerous, divisive and a threat to our open society."

Andrew, London

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

Brendan, Lisburn, Co. Antrim

"I have recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and have been thinking more about my legacy and end of life issues. I am concerned about assisted suicide being currently illegal in the UK; this is a policy area which suffers from strong religious lobbying. The imposition of a 'natural' life term against the wishes of a mentally competent and suffering person seems barbaric."

Alison, Aberdeen

"I joined the NSS because after working in schools for over a decade I'm constantly baffled by the requirement for an act of collective worship to be held in schools, and by the teaching of RE with its heavy Christian bias and constant visits by people with a religious agenda. This is so unnecessary - in the 21st we should move on."

Alex, Somerset

"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

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

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

Alex, Surrey

"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

"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

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 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

'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

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 am opposed to faith based schools on principle. The road the government is going down promotes tribalism which is the single greatest threat to our future. There are many other threats but all these can be solved if we work together and not against each other.

Mike, Petersfield

"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!"

Madeleine, Bushy

"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

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 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

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