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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

What Our Members Say

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

"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

'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

"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

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

"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 think all groups, religious, atheistic or agnostic, have enough common ground to be able to live together in harmony under secular systems of governance, law, welfare, education, etc.

Paula, Coalville

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

"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 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

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 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 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 am very keen on reforming RE in schools. My little grandson goes to a non-faith school primary, but since becoming an academy, the school seems to me to be trying to indoctrinate our children with religion.

Lesly, East Sussex

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

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

"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.

"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."

Michael, Scottish Borders

"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

"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

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

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

Stephen, Teddington

"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

"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

"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