Ep 06: Rudolf Eliott Lockhart | Exploring religious freedom

Alastair Lichten (AL): Hello and welcome to the National
Secular society podcast. I am Alastair Lichten, Head of Education at the NSS.
Today’s episode is part six in a series of interviews where I speak with
activists and experts about religious freedom and what it means to them. What
does religious freedom truly mean? while some religious lobbyists used the term
to demand privileges, this series will serve to highlight that true religious
freedom means freedom of belief for people of all religions and none. This is
leading up to our major conference Secularism 2019: if this conversation whets your appetite, then I hope you’ll join us at the Tower Hotel in London on the 18th
of May – details are at the end of the show. Today I spoke with Rudolph Eliott
Lockhart or Rudy, CEO of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales.
Our focus was on how RE can improve understanding or freedom of and from
religion so we didn’t get too deep into other RE issues. Perhaps another time…
Hopefully you’ll find the conversation as interesting as I did and I’ll be back
at the end with a few thoughts. Enjoy. Rudy, welcome to the NSS podcast.
Rodolph Eliott Lockhart (REL): Thanks, it’s great to be with you. (AL): It’s great to have you here. Do you want to start by introducing yourself to the audience and telling them what you do?
(REL): Yeah, of course. So, I am the chief executive of the Religious Education
Council of England and Wales. We are an education organisation who’s interested
in raising the standard of religious education in schools across England and
Wales. We’ve got, we’re a membership organisation and so we’ve got about 63
members at the moment – they’re all organisations themselves. Most of them
are religion and belief organisations and within that we’re very inclusive, so
it’s everyone from Anglicans to Zoroastrians and everyone in between.
We’re inclusive of non-religious groups, so Humanists UK has been in membership
since the year we were founded, 46 years ago. We’ve also got members who are
organisations of professionals working in RE – so, teachers, university lecturers,
inspectors, advisors – those sorts of things. So it’s a really varied
membership, but and, based on all sorts of things that they fundamentally disagree
on, but the one thing they do all agree on is that RE is really important
and they come together through us to try and raise that standard across all the
schools in the country. (AL): There’s a lot going on in the world of RE reform at
the moment but today we’re talking about freedom of and from religion, so what
does religious freedom mean to you? (REL) I think religious freedom means that
everyone should have the right to identify with the religion that they
choose, to practice that religion, and to hold whatever beliefs come along with
that but I think that there are some important qualifications to this – so when
we talk about religious freedom, I want religion to be understood in its
broadest sense. So, if you look at Article 9 of the European Convention of
Human Rights, it tries to set out the beliefs beyond religion that should be
protected under equality in human rights law – so obviously I’m really keen that
non religious beliefs should also be protected under freedom of religion, and
article 9 talks about then how you’ve got to define those those beliefs so
they say that they’ve got to be genuinely held, they’ve got have a
certain level of cogency, of seriousness, cohesion and importance, and they’ve got
to be beliefs rather than just opinions and compatible with human
dignity and worthy of respect in a democratic society. So, I want religious
freedom to protect those sorts of non religious world views as well and that’s
convenient because that’s what the law in this country tries to do. So that’s
that’s good. But the other qualification that I think is vital to remember is
about the limits of religious freedom so while religious freedom means that
I’ve got the right to practice my religion, I don’t think that that means
that I have the right to impose it on other people. And also, you know, our
religious freedom is, is potentially limited by a larger framework of
rights and responsibilities that we, we agree on in our society so again my
religious freedom might be limited by the need to ensure the safety of other
people or public order as well as the rights and freedoms of other people.
(AL): So how does, or indeed should, good religious education promote religious freedom?
(REL): I think, well, I think there’s lots of ways – I’ll give you two. So first, RE’s a
subject where pupils can explore how questions of freedom of religion work in
practice – so, an RE teacher might choose to do
a lesson that uses, I don’t know, say the so-called ‘Gay Cake’ case as a start
point for an exploration of these ideas. So, this was the case of the bakery run
by Christians who didn’t want to make a cake that was going to have a slogan
iced on it in support of same-sex marriage. So people might want to
explore why it is that the baker’s took the position they did, what that tells
you about the baker’s religion, why some other Christians disagreed with the
baker’s and what that tells you about diversity of belief within a religion,
you can also explore the customer’s freedoms and the disagreement you get
over this cake as the result of the competing beliefs and then finally why it
is that in our pluralist society, we resolve these issues in the way that we do. So
you can do quite a practical exploration of freedom of belief like this and that I think is an important part of what RE can offer here, but I think
that there’s a broader way that RE can help promote religious freedom – I
think that a key part of RE is an exploration of the ‘other’ . So, in RE,
you end up learning about religious or non-religious world views that are
different from your own and you get to understand, at least I hope you get to
understand, how it’s possible for your neighbour to live in the same society as
you and yet to have potentially a very different
religious identity and beliefs from you and for that to be absolutely fine – that
having a different religion is, you know, normal so it needn’t stop you from
having just as good ethical code, being just as invested in building a strong
shared society and being just as good a friend and a neighbour and it should help
you therefore to understand why they might live their life in a different way
from you. Now, I think that the empathy across religious difference that RE can
therefore help inculcate is potentially a vital part of fostering a commitment
to freedom of religion, so I think that sort of bigger reason is really vital.
(AL): Thank you for that. How can teachers best bring these real-life examples into the
classroom, when, I think, no matter what your position on religious freedom, you’d
have to say that the media do a very bad job of covering cases like this?
(REL): Yeah, well, I agree with you on that. I think that’s one of the reasons why
having good RE is so important and you need that space to be able to develop
real critical thinking about religion of belief and contest the sort of media
narratives that you get, and you know, the media and, it’s not just the media,
it’s wider society as well, is very prone to simplifying religion and
turning it into a sort of cartoon caricature and RE’s got that
opportunity to show its complexity, it’s fuzzy edges, its diversity and pupils
can have the opportunity to really develop as, you know, skilled
intercultural navigators that will help them understand all of these issues much
better, which, you know, i think is vital if you’re then going to get to the questions about
freedom of religion and belief – if you haven’t got the basic foundations of
understanding, you really can’t navigate those sorts of questions effectively.
(AL): Which religious freedom issues do you think students are most interested in
then? (REL): I think it really depends on the pupils, you know it depends on the
classroom. Well, as you know, some of our schools have got religious
characters and in some cases they’re going to select pupils on the basis of
religion. (AL): We noticed. (REL): ……and in addition,
different religious communities are concentrated in different parts of the
country, so, if you take those two things together,
it’s really not a surprise that the demographics of religious identity can
vary dramatically from school to school and I think sometimes the issues of
religious freedom that are going to interest pupils the most are going to
be those that have most relevance to them at which they see playing out in
their local community. So, for example, if you take the recent debate over male
circumcision after legislators in, I think it was Iceland, debated whether it
should be prohibited and then there was then push back over how much the right
to circumcise should be protected as part of religious freedom, or not, now I’m
speculating here, but I think that you would probably find that
schools with a large number of Jewish and Muslim pupils might be more
interested in this particular issue than schools that didn’t have that sort of
demographic, but I think that in general, issues relating to freedom of
religion really do fire up the interest of a lot of pupils, you know, I think
freedom of religion is one of those things that most people instinctively
think is, sounds like a good thing and people get a bit nervous about the
idea of anyone trying to deny them freedom of religion but the moment you
start looking at what it means in practice it can get really difficult ,you
know really really contentious, and I think that most pupils find that
base interesting and important and then, just sort of to go one step further, I
think it gets really interesting when religious freedom gets turned into a
vehicle for, well, frankly the opposite of
religious freedom, so you can see cases in America where the language of freedom
of religion or religious liberty gets used by some groups as a means for
asserting the rights of certain types of Christians to impose their beliefs and
values on others. So here I’m thinking of cases like you know the
employer that used a religious freedom argument successfully at the Supreme
Court to secure the right to limit the health insurance offered to employees so
that it can actively exclude access to the contraceptive pill. So I think
it’s really fascinating, if rather scary, to see how religious freedom can
effectively become code for something very very different and I think that can
really, you know, fire the imagination of pupils in the classroom too. (AL) May it be that, and this is equally speculating, that it might be easier for pupils to
explore examples of genuine and distorted religious freedom that they
have less of a personal connection to, so looking at issues from abroad or from
the past rather than, you know, what’s on BBC news today. (REL): Possibly, I think
it can cut both ways so there’s a risk it can cut both ways, so there’s a risk that that if you’re talking about things that
the pupils really don’t have a connection to, it can make it easier to
take quite a sort of hardline view – you’re maybe less likely to be a bit
more nuanced about it, so, in the way that you sometimes see attitudes towards, I
think I’ve got this right, so polling on on things like attitudes towards Muslims
wearing headscarves, sometimes you find much more
opposition or much more high levels of people being uncomfortable in areas
where there’s actually really very few Muslims in the local community
so, it’s the sort of, if you don’t have that personal connection, you can you know, conjure up some extreme view in your head. So, I don’t know whether it’s always the case that by getting away from stuff that’s personal
and recognizable it becomes easier, you know in some ways it might make it
harder, so I think, I think it can go either way. (AL): Yeah, I imagine it ‘s probably a bit of both and I guess whenever we’re considering social issues
it can be useful to look at the real social issue and then you know,
change the nouns and see how people react to it, see how students, and
reflect ourselves how we react differently. (REL): Yeah, so it’s an opportunity
to, to reflect that back on yourself, so rather than always talking
about the other, it’s encouraging you to empathize – to put yourself in
their shoes – and see how things change when you do that. (AL): If you were designing a
course for pupils to explore freedom of and from religion and
designing it from scratch, what would be your starting points? (REL): Right, well, I think…. (AL): Big question. (REL): ….Yeah, interesting one. I think discussing
freedom of and from religion is one of those things that becomes an awful lot
easier if you’ve got a really solid foundation in how a range of different
religious and non-religious worldviews operate. I think you need to be able to
really get to grips with what it is that matters to different people with
different worldviews before you can really make sense of quite how difficult
some of the clashes of competing rights could be. So, first things first, I think
you need to learn about the religions themselves. Secondly, I think you’ve got
to make sure that you are hearing from a range of people about what freedom of
religion means to them – it’s only when you can grasp the complexities of how
religions are actually lived by people who adhere to them, that you can
really see how the tensions of freedom of religion play out and when I say this
I don’t just mean that I want to see token representation you know one person
from each of the so-called big six religions, you know, not all Christians
take the same approach to things neither do all atheists, neither do all
Muslims and so on . If you want to avoid seeing freedom of religion as a
purely legal issue, you’ve got, you’ve got to actually talk to people about the
reality in their lives so you need those those messy case studies of what it is
to them personally and just the sheer range of examples, so I don’t want to
root it really heavily in lived religion but I think you clearly would
also need to, to do that exploration of the legalities of it, of questions of
Rights that go much beyond questions just about religion and belief, you know
there are wider issues of citizenship, of how social society should
work, so you’d have to have that framing as well. (AL): I guess if it was easy, we could just give students a post-it note with the text of article 9 written on it. (REL): well
it wouldn’t be bad start, you know, I’d like people to really understand that
and I’m, I’m not sure that , I’m not sure that people always do. I think it’s one of the –
I mean sorry to go off topic – but one of those slightly distressing things, one of the
many distressing things about debates following the EU referendum, is how poorly
people understand something like the European Convention on Human Rights and
where that fits with our law. I’m quite scared by that, particularly when it’s people in the government who seem to have some of
these misunderstandings, but I apologize, I stray from the issue at hand.
(AL): You’ve not seen our exploring sectors and resources yet so we won’t
dock you any points for not just saying “NSS, your resources have got it
absolutely perfectly right”. Do you think religious education is the best subject
to explore these issues, or does it need to be linked with a wider sort of
humanities, citizenship, politics curriculum. (REL): I think RE is
obviously one of the subjects where these issues come up and can come up a
lot and RE can certainly contribute a huge amount here. Other subjects just
don’t have the same amount of time to go through, you know, thorough exploration of
different religious and non-religious worldviews and the way that they
interact with the law and civil society so RE’s got a really crucial role to
play but I wouldn’t want to claim that RE is the only place where you can or
should discuss freedom of religion. Now obviously it’s not my place to speak the rest of the curriculum but it’s not gonna stop me, I can certainly see a place
for other subjects here, so history is one really obvious place – plenty of
opportunities to explore religious conflicts and religious freedom in
history. English offers great opportunities – so literature can be a
fabulous way of exploring freedom of religion depending on whatever set texts
you are using. I would imagine that aspects of human geography might be
really useful here and sociology as well and so yeah there are there are lots of
places where this can also be, be discussed but I, you know, I don’t think
this should be much of a surprise – tolerance, respect and individual liberty
are all part of fundamental British values and that’s gotta be seen as a whole
school matter, so it would be really wierd
if we thought that engaging with freedom of religion was exclusively the job of
RE. I think it’d be a real problem in a school if that was the
attitude that they took. Obviously, none of this is to downplay the wonderful
contribution that RE can make but it’s RE as an element within wider education
– it relates to the rest of the curriculum it doesn’t, you know, take over
the whole curriculum. (AL): Really you’ve spoken about the importance of
understanding different people’s religious perspectives when it comes to
the clash of Rights and although I want to push back on that a
little bit whilst acknowledging the importance of the point, there is among
some religious people who view religious freedom as, you know, being about their
ability to impose religion, of when they’re disagreed with, it’s because
people don’t understand their religion and this is sort of I guess a distorted
view of religious literacy, so, you know, if you understood my religion better,
you’d understand why I need this exemption; if you had more religious
literacy, you’d understand why I wanted to discriminate in this case. (REL) Yes, well I think I want to be clear here, I’m not suggesting that you should learn
more about other religions because with that increased understanding it
explains why that particular religion should be given a free pass on whatever
the issue might be. If we’re talking about what rights and responsibilities
we have in our pluralist society, there are no laws of land that we’re all
subject to and that we’ve got a democratic process by which we can
address those and I’m very happy with that, with that system we have. What I mean is that, if you don’t have
the proper grounding in where the other person is coming from, it’s really hard
to emphasize with them – it’s really hard to understand why it is they’ve got the
view that they have, so you’re much more likely to just want to dismiss them as
just wrong or not understanding, not understand the issue and having some
reprehensible views perhaps. If, if you really get to grips with why it is
they’re coming from the place that they are, it makes it a lot easier to engage
with, it means you can have a civil, sensible conversation about stuff. Now
I’m not saying that that means that you then necessarily say well there’s a sort
of religion card that means that everything else can be bypassed and that
with all rights and responsibilities there’s a, there’s a constant negotiation
going on in our society and that’s that’s how it works.
(AL): I guess you could have a very detailed understanding of the diverse religious
views on LGBT equality, to use the example which always comes up, and you
can have a great and well-developed sense of empathy for people with
different experiences and still just say well, yeah, but look this
anti-discrimination law is the law and you, you can understand someone’s
position and disagree with them but I think there is often religious
literacy, just as religious freedom is often used as a code word for
something which I don’t think is religious freedom, religious literacy is
often used as a code word for agreeing with or acquiescing to. (REL): Yeah I mean I’m very clear in my view that we’ve got protected characteristics, equalities
legislation and that means that the rights of LGBT people are protected
there, as they should be, and the fact that there might be or
that there are people who might take a different view of that on the basis of
their religion, well they’re entitled to have their view, but they’re
not entitled to ignore what the law of the land is. So I’m not saying in any way
understand about religions so that you can somehow ignore what the law is – that’s not what I’m saying at all, I’m saying understand the religions so
that you realize why things are contentious in the way that they are, why
there is anxiety about whatever the issue that you’re considering is. I’m not
saying that in the liberal pluralist society we should necessarily give up
any of these carefully won rights that we have. (AL): That’s a really good way of
putting it. One potentially contentious religious freedom or religious freedom
adjacent issue within the world of RE is the right to withdraw from religious
education. (REL): Sure, so there’s been a right for parents to withdraw their children
from religious education for almost a hundred and fifty years now and it’s a
function of the history of the subject which used to be religious instruction
and so this right of withdrawal for parents, of a parent to withdraw their
children, was very much intended to safeguard the religious freedom of of
those children and say if you were after school where the religious instruction
was not in accordance with the religious identity that you had, you would be able
to be withdrawn from those classes and now the subject has changed an awful lot
over the years and I would hope that RE is something that every child in the
country would benefit from, but that right of withdrawal is still there. Now
it’s now tied up in in the European legislation and the key issue being that
parents still have the right for their children to be educated according to
their own philosophical tenets so parents still have that right of
withdrawal and it would be necessary to show that the subject is objective,
critical and pluralistic for pupils to be no longer having the right of
withdrawal from the subject. Now that’s a really difficult thing to guarantee in
legal terms. Obviously, I want to try and make sure that the curriculum is
objective, critical and pluralistic. I mean, who wouldn’t want that – that’s a really sensible education thing to be trying to pursue, but in legal terms, very
hard to guarantee. We’ve still got some schools where individual teachers might
be appointed because of their religious position, particularly the heads of
departments in those schools, so you could easily say well the delivery of
the subject therefore might not be objective critical and pluralistic, and
we’ve got schools where religious authorities have a role in setting the
curriculum – now those authorities will be striving to try and provide an education
which they would argue is objective, critical and pluralistic but I think
it’s quite likely that the courts would find it harder to go along with that
that line if there was some sort of test case should the right of withdrawal
be taken away. Now, the really frustrating thing here, is that there are increasing
numbers of people who are using the right of withdrawal for ways that the law
was not intended originally – so, some people are using it
for Islamophobic and anti-semitic reasons and we see examples of template
letters produced by some far-right organizations encouraging parents to
withdraw their children, saying, you know, I don’t want my child to go to the
mosque or I don’t want my child to learn about Islam and parents have that right
to withdraw their child and they don’t actually have to justify why they’re
doing it and so this is, this is really difficult. Those children who are
being withdrawn for what look like Islamophobic reasons are exactly the
sorts of children who I think would benefit the most from good RE,
but we’ve got this problem that for very sensible human rights reasons, parents
are entitled to withdraw their children should they choose so. Now,
there’s a lot of people in the world of RE – I’d say the vast majority of people
in the world of RE – who want to get rid of that right of withdrawal – they say,
you know, the subjects moved on, it’s time to get rid of it and the recent
Commission on religious education made a recommendation here and I think some
people were rather disappointed to see that the recommendation was not to get rid of
the right of withdrawal. Now, the Commission did this because I think it
recognized that the legal problems were just too difficult to get around and I’m
I’m inclined to agree with the Commission on this one, so I think what
we need is better guidance for head teachers on how to deal with parents
making what look like Islamophobic requests and there’s good guidance just
come out from NAHT – National Association of head teachers
and NATRE – the National Association of teachers of RE but I think the
government needs to do more here, I think the government needs to make sure
that heads understand exactly what they can and can’t do and what options they
have under things like Prevent to flag up issues of concern and for the focus
to be on dealing with prejudicial behaviour, you know, Islamaphobic behaviour or anti-Semitic behaviour rather than getting
tangled up in what I think will be a fruitless legal argument over whether
parents should have that right of withdrawal or not. (AL): Yeah, I guess it’s one of those things that shows that religious freedom does lead to sort
of messy compromises and enshrining, if you enshrine a right, very similar to the right to freedom of speech, you’re going to get people who use that right in an
antisocial way or a way that might itself be harmful to a civil
pluralistic society. I think there’s definitely a difference in the religious
freedom balances between a school where RE is being genuinely taught in a
pluralistic, – the word objective, I know we can never , nothing can ever be truly
objective about aiming towards being non-directive way versus you know
the way in which religion is taught, still taught, in many schools. I
guess also a lot of people exercising the right to withdraw from RE because,
you know, for lots of reasons – the subject is not always at the level that it is in the best examples or in the examples that we’d like to see more of.
(REL): Yeah, I think there’s widespread misunderstanding about what the subject
religious education actually is. I think there’s, there’s a lot of people whose
instant reaction on hearing or even just hearing his name is to think that it’s
somehow about making children religious and I’m really keen to try and show that
that’s not the case and to try and break that down. I want people to realize that
the subject is totally embracing the study of non-religious worldviews
alongside religious ones and indeed to say that it’s not as simple as splitting
into religious and non-religious, there’s a huge messy overlap between the two, you
know, people are complicated – they borrow, if they’re
non-religious they borrow a whole lot of religious ideas a lot of the
time and if they’re religious there’s a whole lot of non-religious stuff that
they also draw from. I want to show that it’s, it’s a subject that really
encourages critical engagement so it’s not about making someone more religious
it’s not about making someone less religious even though for some pupils
it’ll do that either way and that’s that’s fine.
So I think one of the things we can do is we can we can talk about a proposed
change of name for the subject and again the Commission on religious education
did recommend a new name because I think religious education as a name is
freighted with an awful lot of assumptions so the Commission talked about renaming
the subject as religion and worldviews so religion singular to illustrate that
it’s a subject that engages with the concept of religion and gets people to
think about you know what religion actually is, how it operates,
you know, what the boundary between religion and non-religion actually is
and worldviews plural – second part of the name – because that shows the scope of things that could be studied within the subject and I think, I think that will be
a really helpful way of talking about the subject and might make it easier for
the wider public to understand what it is that we’re hoping that children do in
these lessons. (AL): Yeah, we will link to the Commission on RE report in the show
notes. I’ll just say, it’s such a big subject that we hopefully maybe we’ll get into it on another occasion. The audience can find National Secular Society’s view
on RE and our view on the right to withdrawal which I would say, you know, I think
is quite nuanced and does take on board a lot of the stuff you’ve said there, at www.
reformre.org. Rudy, it’s been great chatting to you today. Before you
go, we always like to ask our guests if they have any recommendations for books
or films which they think do a good job of exploring religious freedom. (REL): So, well, there’s loads of films that make an interesting entry point to
the subject but I think it’s often the nature of films that they’re often,
they’re going to be polemics in favor of a particular position so I don’t know
how nuanced some of the things I could suggest would necessarily be. I’m tempted,
to be difficult or whatever, and suggest DW Griffith’s epic
Intolerance back from 1916 which basically says that intolerance
including religious intolerance is bad although of course if you’re being a
cynic you might say that what it’s really about is him atoning for having
made his earlier blockbuster – the pro KKK film – Birth of a Nation, which is a little
bit of a smear on his record. I mean I could go on for ages- there are loads of other interesting films. If you let me say, there’s a couple of recent documentaries
that might make interesting viewing about what’s happening in America. So a
couple of years ago, or less, there was ‘The Most Hated Woman in America’ about
Madalyn Murray O’Hair who was the atheist activist who was kidnapped and
murdered in the 1990s so that’s, that’s quite an interesting one to try and
there’s one – I haven’t haven’t actually seen this one yet,
but I really want to and I think your listeners might be intrigued from the
sound of it – it’s called ‘Hail Satan’ and it’s a documentary about the Satanic
temple in the US which, if I understand it correctly, is a group that, I don’t
know whether they really are Satanists, I think they probably pose as
Satanists in order to pose some really interestingly….. (AL): So, they’re
allegorical Satanists (REL): ….Yes, yes so that there are some really interesting legal
questions about religious liberty and showing some of the I, I think hypocrisy
of the way in which religious liberty is sometimes interpreted in the US and the
reaction from that and from the sounds of things that documentary sounds really
good but as I say, I haven’t actually seen it so I can’t be held
responsible if anyone does go off and see it and it isn’t their cup of tea. (AL): Oh
well, we’ll have links in the show notes. Is anything else you’d like to plug before
you go? (REL): Well I’ve mentioned the Commission on religious education but I
think it’s worth mentioning again, you know, the final report came out last
September – it is arguably the most important publication in the world of
religious education for 50 years – it’s promoting or recommending a radical
program of reform of the subjects which has had a lot of support from a wide
range of different organizations so National Secular Society has been pretty
positive about it but so has the Church of England and I think if you can get
responses from those sorts of groups all being positive that’s got to be quite a
good thing, so I would recommend checking that out. (AL): Okay, thank you so much for
joining us. (REL): It’s been a pleasure. (AL): I had some great recommendations from Rudy –
we’ll have links in the show notes and remember that you can find our range of
book / film reviews at secularism.org.uk/reviews. that’s I do
just want to say something about the film, America’s Most Hated Woman. I have been
told that the film advances the theory that Madalyn Murray O’Hair was
embezzling from American Atheists. I haven’t seen the film, and I’m not
familiar with the full history, but as I understand it, that has been debunked. To
be clear, this smear is victim-blaming. It is a common trope to undermine human
rights activists by accusing them of being in it for the money and it’s
particularly hurtful for some because in a very real way this smear led to
Madalyn’s abduction and death – spoiler warning – I’m still looking
forward to watching the film at some point and I still thank Rudy for the
recommendation -I just wanted to note that. Before I go, I want to give Secularism
2019: a plug. This is our upcoming major conference that this series of interviews is
leading up to. Its on Saturday, 18th of May 2019 and all the details are on our
website. If you’re thinking about coming along but are undecided
please let me give you a quick pitch for why you should come. Firstly, the value
for money is fantastic – it’s a full-day conference in a stellar venue with an
internationally esteemed lineup of speakers, refreshments, awards ceremony
and drinks reception. Student tickets are just 10 pounds, NSS members 25 pounds –
even the full price non-member tickets are a steal at 50 pounds. It’s been almost
three years since we did an event of this scale – you don’t want to miss out on
being in the room with this group of activists and experts, the opportunity to
draw inspiration and make connections. Just visit secularism.org.uk/2019
– that’s two zero one nine for all the details. If you have any feedback on
the podcast, please get in touch. You can support the podcast by sharing it on social
media or joining the National Secular Society today. Until next time, I’ve been
Alastair Lichten. Thank you for joining me. Goodbye.

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