The Wikipedia page of the National Secular Society starts with this:
The National Secular Society (NSS) is a British campaigning organisation that promotes secularism and the separation of church and state. It holds that no-one should gain advantage or disadvantage because of their religion or lack of it. It was founded by Charles Bradlaugh in 1866 and is now a member organisation of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, endorsing the Amsterdam Declaration 2002.
During our latest anti-MGM protest outside the Conservative Party conference a month ago, Stephen Evans, the CEO of the National Secular Society, introduced himself to me. He was interested in our campaign, took some leaflets, and invited me to the forthcoming “Healthcare and Secularism” conference, which I agreed to attend. We agreed to meet at some point in London, to explore how we might collaborate with a view to challenging MGM. All very encouraging and amicable.
However, my subsequent emails to Stephen, seeking a date to meet, went unanswered. He appeared distinctly uncomfortable when I met him briefly at the conference, during which James Chegwidden (a barrister) and Brian D Earp (an ethicist) discussed legal and ethical issues relating to MGM. I posted a blog on the matter, here.
Before the conference, I applied for annual membership of the NSS – an organization I belonged to for many years, as a younger man – at a cost of £34. Membership page here. I was surprised to receive this email from the NSS, in the past hour:
Dear Mr Buchanan,
I regret to inform you that your application to join the National Secular Society has been rejected by our Council of Management. We have not collected any payment.
The NSS Articles of Association provide that, “The admission of members is entrusted to the Council and the Council shall have power to reject any application for membership without giving any reason for so doing”. This is reflected in the terms and conditions on our website. In this case, the Council have chosen not to give any reason for their decision.
I understand that this news will be disappointing. However, the decision of Council is final.
The Membership Secretary
National Secular Society
I shall be sending a link to this blog piece directly to Stephen Evans, openly challenging him to give the reason(s) for the decision. A decision which feels like a kick in the teeth for me, having dedicated a huge amount of time and effort over the past four years to the issue of MGM (it’s been this party’s #1 campaign over that period). It’s also a kick in the teeth for those who’ve worked with us, and supported us, over that period.
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