Gus Logan (Letters, 25 June) quietly ignores the extent to which pews are emptying in churches to attack the National Secular Society on the extent of its membership. Before the First World War there were active secular groups across Scotland, including Motherwell, Hamilton, Greenock, Paisley, Edinburgh, Hawick, Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen and Glasgow, where a group successfully operated between 1866 and 1915.
The Glasgow Eclectic Society was popular with Owenites, the followers of Robert Owen. Keir Hardie’s parents were both secular, but Keir embraced religion and united it with socialism. Socialism divided secularists and led to its demise.
Today, religion is often seen as mean-spirited, hypocritical and reactionary; demanding to impose its membership on children in schools. This has contributed to the re-emergence of secularism and Scotland’s largest Scots-based organisation, Secular Scotland.
In just over a year our Facebook members are close to 600, our Twitter followers exceeded 300 yesterday, we collected 1,516 signatures to petition government to ask parents first before imposing religious observation in schools; and our Facebook weekly outreach is close to 4,000.
Gus Logan continues to obsess about secular societies’ membership numbers. Of course our memberships are less than those of the major Christian churches.
Unlike religion, we have not built numbers through 2,000 years of compulsory belief enforced with the threat of death, torture or imprisonment (which is still the case today in many parts of the world).
We hope that Mr Logan might engage with our ideas directly and abandon this churlish numbers game. Historically, the virtue and tenacity of ideas have often outlived the individuals who originally conceived them.
Edinburgh Secular Society