June’s talk: How Secular Is Britain?

We’ve been a supporter of the National Secular Society almost since we started as a group, but we’ve never had a talk from them.  So, it was with great pleasure we welcomed Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the NSS, as our guest speaker for June.

Keith start by pointing out how irreligious the UK is becoming, and how support for secular policies has grown.  The public is increasingly opposed to the stance taken by various religions over the rights of LGBT people and women, the presence of bishops in the House of Lords, and faith schools.  But religious leaders and politicians are not talking this into account.

Keith outlined the history of secularism, pointing out how it does not depend on non-belief, but is a matter of equality that can be supported by all. He looked at the US and French models and discussed how the NSS’s Secular Charter aims to provide a model for this country.

As well as promoting the principle of secularity, the National Secular Society campaigns on specific issues and has had some success in its fight against religious privilege. There have been recent victories over prayers in council meetings and Pharmacists refusing the provide the ‘morning after’ pill.   Other campaigns continue over issues such as collective worship and clerical child abuse.

After the break Keith was joined by NSS President, Terry Sanderson for a wide-ranging and enjoyable Q&A session.

If you’d like to support the NSS and the very worthwhile work it does, you can join them here https://www.secularism.org.uk/join-and-renew.html