Speaking before the Edinburgh Secular Society

Posted by on 4 April, 2017 | 0 comments

Megan Crawford and Charlie Lynch meet with members of the Edinburgh Secular Society.


We send our warmest thank you to the members of the Edinburgh Secular Society. Charlie Lynch and Megan Crawford, attended by SSS member Brendan Devlin, had the privilege of being invited to be the guest speakers for the ESS monthly meeting. Charlie delivered an insightful perspective about where the SSS has come from, but most especially where we are heading. You could even say 2017 is our own “Great Taking Off”.


Charlie discussed our present and future petitions, our newest affiliations with various organisations around Scotland, and our most recent inclusion on the Equalities and Human Rights Committee in Scotland. Perhaps most importantly, though, were Charlie’s thoughts on where the SSS future lies.


Secularism and the common good.

Charlie: “What do secular societies actually do, and what do we do in the bigger picture? How do we contribute to making Scottish society better?”

“Now there is a minimalist idea of a secular societies, which is the core campaigning. And then there’s the rest of what third sector organisations can do and potentially do.”

“My personal view of secularism is a rational, ethical life stance. Not many people agree with that, but that’s just me. I believe from my experience with helping run the SSS that a narrowed focus weakens secular organisations. It means it’s shunted to the margins of political life. In turn, it means our core interests, such as tackling religious privilege and the promotion of equality, are not as effectively advanced because we become shunted to the side, almost. And also it means we have trouble getting people to become activists.”


Q: What do you mean shunted to the side?


Charlie: “What I mean is that we get excited about debates that most of the Scottish society doesn’t care about, like religious reps. It’s very difficult to turn it into a big campaign issue… These are narrow and dry governmental issues, and we want to advance them, but how do we prosper as an organisation? How do have something to say about things that aren’t our core issues? Because otherwise we become quite small, I feel.”



Charlie: “How do we bring all these things together to try to make the SSS an organisation that is going to endure for a substantial number of years? I’ve spoken a few times on the longevity of the National society (NSS), and most of its core aims are unfulfilled. It’s achieved a lot of things, but it’s in it for the long run. We are going to be a national society for Scotland. We are operating in this totally new political context that is going to get even wilder. We need to be there all the way, because the ultimate aim of the SSS is to make Scotland a secular country, and we are currently a million miles away from that.”

“So how do we manage to underpin our society for the next 50 years?”

“Thank you.”

Slides: Edinburgh Secular Society-Charlie Lynch

No Comments


  1. Guest speaker for the Edinburgh Secular Society | Scottish Secular Society - […] UPDATE: A Big Thank You To The ESS! […]

Leave a Reply