Stuck at home? Here’s how you can learn about and support secularism

Posted: Fri, 27 Mar 2020 by National Secular Society

NSS at home

Most NSS supporters will now be confined to their homes over the coming weeks. But there's still plenty you can do to learn about secularism and promote our campaign for secular democracy.

All of us at the National Secular Society urge our supporters to get involved in whatever way they can to help to tackle the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. At this time everyone's priority needs to be to tackle this emergency.

We'll be helping out in our own ways, and our staff will be given the flexibility they need to take care of loved ones or volunteer to assist the response. If you're working in a hospital or school; giving your time up volunteering; or keeping an eye out for vulnerable family, neighbours or others, we're grateful.

We're also aware that the current lockdown leaves many people with their options restricted. Some are wondering how to keep their children educated at home for months on end. Others will lament the loss of public events and debates. Or perhaps you're just looking to remain intellectually active and, like us, keen to keep pushing for a more secular, democratic society as far as possible.

Either way, here are some ways you can use the resources on our website and social media channels in the coming weeks.

1. Listen to our podcast

Our podcast series has been running a little over a year, but there are already hours of great content available for you to listen to at the touch of a button. Featuring some fantastic guest speakers, our podcast is a great way to hear secularist topics discussed in depth. Click here for our entire collection.

2. Watch our videos

There are over 100 videos on our YouTube account. They include lectures from famous speakers, informational videos on secularist issues, and footage of our campaigning work and media appearances. We've also uploaded some of these videos to our Facebook page, and we hope to upload more in the coming weeks. Click here for our full YouTube library.

3. Check out Exploring Secularism

Exploring Secularism is our new resource to help people learn, and teach, about secularism and secularist issues. Although aimed at secondary school teachers, there's a wealth of information there for anyone else interested in the topic. And if you're trying to find material for your children while they aren't at school, these resources could be really useful. Take a look, and feel free to share your feedback.

4. Sign our petitions

Our petitions serve a number of purposes. In particular they're a great way for people who sign them to give their personal views and insight on particular topics. We select some of the most interesting comments for our weekly Newsline email, so make sure you leave a comment when you sign! See all our petitions here.

5. Influence public policy

Consultations are an important way for members of the public to inform national and local government, and other influential groups, of their opinions on policy. Public response can have a significant impact on policy development, so we encourage everyone to submit responses, however brief. At time of writing, Renfrewshire Council is consulting on plans to add more 'faith testing' to school admissions, and The Sutton Trust is consulting on implementing school admissions policies that would create a fairer system. See a list of all current consultations on secularist issues here.

6. Keep up with the news agenda

Every weekday, we scour the media to monitor what's happening in the world of religion, politics and society. You can subscribe to receive our media briefing email on secularist issues every morning, to keep up to speed with all developments relevant to our campaigning for secular democracy. Click here to sign up. You can view an example of a daily media briefing you'll receive here, and see all past links to media stories we've included here.

And of course, we've published hundreds of our own news and opinion pieces on our website as well.

7. Learn about secularist history

We have an entire section of our website dedicated to the history of secularism in the UK, in addition to our own 150 years of history. You'll find stories such as the struggle of our founder, Charles Bradlaugh, to enter parliament, and how Bradlaugh and Annie Besant were put on trial for publishing a book on birth control. Click here to begin reading.

8. Read our arguments in detail

We produce a lot of newsletters, reports, and other documents, and they're all available to read online. For example we make the case for reforming charity law, and reveal the extent to which faith schools limit genuine parental choice. Click here to browse our library.

9. Share your story

A lot of our campaigns are driven by individual members of the public who get in touch about a specific issue affecting them. Are you currently having a problem relating to religion imposing on your daily life? Let us know! We'll try to offer advice and even if you're not after advice, just letting us know about an issue will be very helpful to give us a picture of what's going on. Share your story here.

10. Qualify to do some research, funded by the NSS

We're keen to support original research that supports the evidence base of our campaigns work and improves public understanding of secularism. That's why we've established a scholarship of up to £5,000 for research that contributes to our work in some way. Find out more about how to apply here.

11. Connect with us on social media

We may not be holding any events right now, but we're still raising awareness of, and commenting on, secularist issues on social media. You can help to generate awareness of secularism and our campaigns by following our Twitter account or our Facebook page.

12. Find an affiliate group

Many grassroots secularist groups are affiliate members of the NSS. Although they will all be limiting their meetings and events, it could be good time to reach out to an affiliate group near you and see how you can join in, make friends with like-minded people, and help them out. Click here to see our list of affiliate members.

In the meantime we'll keep on working as hard as we can, thanks to your support. All of us at the NSS hope you stay safe and well.

Image (adapted) from Free-Photos on Pixabay.

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Tags: Secularism