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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

What Our Members Say

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.

Nicolle, London

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 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

"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

"We should not label our children as Christian, Muslim or any other religious group. So big NO to faith schools."

Asif, 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

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

"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

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 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

'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

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

Alex, Surrey

"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."

Gemma, Worcester

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 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

"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

"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 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

"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

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

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

Brendan, Lisburn, Co. Antrim

"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 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 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.