The problem with the National Secular Society is that while they preach secularism, they actually prefer atheism. By conflating the two they not only wreck it for the non-atheist secularists but also help their opponents keep confusing the two. And it’s pi**ing me right off. For example on Monday its president Terry Sanderson wrote this piece of crap for CIF. The money quote:
I’ve come to realise that the delusions of the liberals are not qualitatively different from those entertained by the Pat Robertsons or Abu Hamzas of this world.
The danger that these apparently harmless liberals pose is that of enabling the fanatics, who happily use them as human shields. Just as the terrorists of the Middle East will hide out in schools and hospitals to avoid being targeted by enemy bombs, so the ideological terrorists hide behind the liberals and the good-natured in order to spread their doctrine of intimidation and terror.
Really, that is intellectual dishonesty. It may be that religious conservatives like the Muslim Brotherhood / Jamaat/Hizb ut-Tahrir types try and explain away Al-Qaeda, in the same way that the RSS/VHP/BJP Hindu nationalists in India provide cover for the real militants like the Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena (and worse). But most ordinary religious liberals just want to live their lives in peace, let alone get involved in these debates. The few who do take a more progressive path get it in the neck from conservatives and now these atheists. To say they’re simply “providing cover” is just, well, ignorant.
Even the nice people from Ekklesia are annoyed and that doesn’t happen easily.
People such as Sanderson are not only trying to polarise the debate, as Simon Barrow points out, but also making themselves more irrelevant in the wider debate. What is the point of involving the NSS in a debate about keeping religion out of state control if what they really want is something else? Terry Sanderson and the NSS not only misunderstand religion, they hate it. They should call themselves the National Atheists Society instead of getting confused and annoying those who want to bring about real change.
Update: Matt Murrell, Not Saussure and Matt Wardman pile in.
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