Secularists support the separation of church and state ©
Secularists oppose religion or the religious being afforded
privileges, which - put another way - means others are disadvantaged.
They believe that the reduced numbers attending church show that
people have chosen to give up faith. They say this underlines the
unfairness of giving any special privileges or rights to faiths.
Secularists are particularly concerned about education. They think
that religious schools are divisive, and damage the prospects of a
harmonious and diverse society.
Secularists are not against the right of individuals to have a
religious faith. What they oppose is special treatment for religious
beliefs and organisations.
They think that the protection already given by the law, including
human rights legislation, should be sufficient to protect believers from
assault or discrimination.
You may be surprised to know that while most secularists are
atheists, some secularists are actually believers in a faith. While they
believe, they don't think that belief is a reason for special
Charles Bradlaugh was one of the founders of Britain's National
Secular Society. His political activism kept the atheist point of view
in the limelight during Victorian times.
Some secularists go further; they want religion to be regarded as a
private matter for the home and place of worship - and that the state
should be blind to religion.
They also seek to separate those bits of our present-day culture that
originated in religion from the religions that inspired them.
- The complete separation of church and state.
- The disestablishment of the Church
- The repeal of the Act of Settlement.
- No official representation of religions in Parliament. (Britain is
the only Western democracy with such representation.) This would mean no
bishops in the House of Lords.
- The banning of prayers from Parliament, Council chambers, etc.
- The ending of religious oaths as a condition of holding public
- Money given to religious organisations from public funds should not
be usable for missionary work.
- The abolition of any special privileges granted to religious
- The abolition of any special protection granted to faith groups.
- The conversion of faith schools to community schools open to all
pupils regardless of faith or lack of it.
- Religious education should be non-denominational and multi-faith.
- No religion should be taught as fact and no religion described as
superior to another.
- Education should also cover non-religious ways of looking at the
- Some secularists would prefer RE to be replaced by citizenship
lessons including only brief coverage of the basic tenets of world
- This would not exclude religious references in other subjects such
as history, art etc.
- The abolition of "blasphemy" laws.
- Secularists support the protection of individual believers, but
not the protection of their beliefs.
- Secularist groups are entirely opposed to discrimination against
people because of their religious beliefs.
- Secularists believe that the law should not restrict reasonable
and vigorous criticism of religion.
- Secularists believe that the law should not prevent criticism that
hurts religious feelings.
- Secularists do believe that the law should not permit incitement
to religious hatred.
- Secularists support legislation to outlaw discrimination in
employment on the grounds of religion (or lack of it).
- They oppose exemptions which religious organisations are seeking
to enable them still to discriminate.
- Abolition of the special treatment given to religious
British Secular Society: http://www.secularism.org.uk/