But my real argument with the NSS is the trickery it constantly employs with respect to the word â€œsecularâ€. I contend that the core meaning of secularism is the belief in the separation of Church and state. Religion, the secularist contends, ought not to have a place in shaping the laws or political realities by which we live. Thus there should be no bishops in the House of Lords, the Queen ought not to be the head of state and Supreme Governor of the C of E, and so on. There are many Christians who believe in this sort of thing. From time to time, I am one of them.
Yet, not far below the surface, another meaning of secular breaks out. Here, secular is little more than a synonym for virulent anti-religious prejudice. In this guise, the NSS portrays all religion as being about â€œbrainwashingâ€ and â€œindoctrinationâ€. It goes so far as to defend comments about Muslims as having â€œshit for brainsâ€ (from a â€œcomedianâ€ also beloved by the BNP).
The commentator Sunny Hundal, who is from a Sikh family but is not religious himself, says of those in the NSS: “While they preach secularism, they actually prefer atheism.”
Here’s the original blog post I wrote about the NSS.
Update: Terry Sanderson of the NSS replies in the comments.
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