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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

What Our Members Say

"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 am angry about faith schools, free schools, and ridiculous 'faith' based views such as teaching young women to 'just say no' in Sex Education."

Niki, London

"The exposure of the redacting of exam questions and the scandal of gender separation at British Universities finally convinced me to give support to the NSS which is standing up for rationalism, fair treatment and civilised behaviour. Thankfully there is at least one organisation unafraid to stick its head above the parapet and expose the hypocrites, religious zealots and feeble-minded apologists that seem somehow to have joined the mainstream."

Jonathan

"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

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

Pauline, Banbury

"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

"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

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

My motivations for joining the Society are manifold and include the horrible feeling I get when I see and read about so-called faith schools, bishops in the House of Lords, and any situation where the pious are given more respect or airtime than other minority groups (e.g. Pagans, Airfix modellers, or national knitting circles). I am particularly nauseated by religious intolerance towards women and minorities, and the fact that people holding discriminatory views on religious grounds remain influential.

Paul, Huddersfield

"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

"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

"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

It seems bizarre to me that in this day and age, collective worship still takes place in schools and that children can be segregated and discriminated against according to their parents' religion when it comes to admissions. As someone who is getting married this year, and thus the likelihood of having children being vastly increased, this worries me immensely. Being taught superstition and myths as truth, or opting out and thus making the child wonder why they're being singled out and separated from their school friends isn't a choice I look forward to making. The NSS is all we have to take on the might of these giant multi-billion pound tax-exempt organisations that are given free access to our children by the state.

Martin, Darlington

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

Alex, Surrey

"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 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 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."

James, Guilford.

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 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

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 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

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

Stephen, Teddington

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

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

Anne, Bradford

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