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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

What Our Members Say

Dalis, Bucks

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".

Marcus, Milford Haven

"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."

Brendan, Lisburn, Co. Antrim

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

Edward, Wiltshire

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.

Stephen, Teddington

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

Luke

"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."

John, Tyne & Wear

"My main motivation to join the NSS is to support the opposition to 'faith' schools, a highly divisive policy which seems to be supported by the majority of politicians from both the coalition and the Labour Party. We need a secular education system."

Matt, Ipswich

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.

Mike, Petersfield

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.

Alex, Somerset

"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."

Nicolle, London

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.

Andrew, London

"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."

Matthew, South Shields

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.

Timothy, London

"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."

Richard, Southampton

"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."

Tony, West Yorkshire

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

Diane, Chester

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.

Gemma, Worcester

"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."

Michael, Scottish Borders

"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."

Alex, Surrey

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

David, Shropshire

"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."

Alison, Aberdeen

"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."

Pauline, Banbury

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

Martin, Darlington

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.

Tim, Norfolk

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