Proposing a toast last year at the National Secular Society’s annual dinner in London, Lord Raglan said that he was an “Anglican agnostic.” He reminded his fellow unbelievers how much they owed to the Church of England. “For every twelve bishops,” he declared, “there are twelve different opinions—sometimes thirteen.”
Three years ago Charles Smith, one of the founders of the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, ingeniously explained the decline of organized atheism. Churches, he said, had been relegated to being mere social centers, and Christianity had been watered down until it had become little more than “cheer ’em up stuff.”
There may be a decline in organized atheism in those United States (though I doubt it), but in these British Isles the Humanist Association is still striving energetically to ensure that its voice is heard, particularly in political circles. It encourages members to participate fully in the work of their political party (whatever it is); it cultivates and briefs humanist members of Parliament; it compiles a dossier on all MP’s and makes their views known to humanist constituents; and through its “Humanist Lobby” it presses humanist policies on parliamentarians of both Houses.
Its evangelical urgency is impressive, as it audaciously exhorts the faithful to anti-religious action. When the secretary for education announced he intended to retain in the new education bill compulsory religious instruction and a daily act of worship in state schools, the humanists were quick off the mark with a circular to their supporters. It bore this message, all in capitals: “Please write without fail to your MP; in ...1
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