Secular ideals

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Euan Dodds (Letters, 10 October) seems a little confused about the distinctions between secularism and a church.

The church is an organisation based on Christ’s teachings, part of which encourages caring for the needy. Secularism is the principle of separation from religious institutions (mostly focused on the state.)

There is a vast array of charities and organisations, which, because they have no particular religious affiliation, are secular in nature.

He also fails to mention the great deal of other faiths who also contribute so much to society through charitable work. Secularism would provide a more level playing field for all those who wish to contribute back to society.

I have a couple of examples of atheists who have approached Christian charities to offer their time and effort, who were refused on the basis of their lack of faith. From my own personal experience with church-based charities, the only function non-believers can’t perform (that some Christian-based charities demand of their volunteers) is proselytism. I find this a sad state of affairs, when being preached at is a prerequisite of using a charitable service, aimed at the needy.

No-one who has ever looked at history could deny the good works which religion can perform within society. I’m not sure how this “giving” entitles an organisation to undemocratically interfere with government or impose narrow views of morality on people who may not share their faith or denomination.

In some cases, churches have sought to limit the rights of others by such moral imposition. Secularism seeks a fair society for everyone; that is a principle any Christian should find worthwhile and laudable.

Christopher Orrett

Scottish Secular Society

Canning Lane

Edinburgh