The National Secular society have tweeted an answer. Two highlights:
Secularism is a principle that involves two basic propositions. The first is the strict separation of the state from religious institutions. The second is that people of different religions and beliefs are equal before the law. …
Secularism is not atheism
Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. Secularism simply provides a framework for a democratic society. Atheists have an obvious interest in supporting secularism, but secularism itself does not seek to challenge the tenets of any particular religion or belief, neither does it seek to impose atheism on anyone.
Secularism is simply a framework for ensuring equality throughout society – in politics, education, the law and elsewhere, for believers and non-believers alike.
When the question was posed to me about secularist/atheist I gave this answer:
Well, at the risk of sounding like “some of my best friends are …”, I know theologians who are more passionate about the secularist state than the second coming.
Atheism does not undermine secularism; the issue is really whether you think religion needs to disappear for a golden age of humanity or that any one that offers a magic bullet for humanity’s ills is more likely to shoot themselves in the foot.
If people want to believe that manna rained down from heaven and that god spoke from a burning bush fine. That to me is no different to Greek myths, or tribal stories that unite a community with a common culture.
When religion starts to be enforced on me as a basis for how to live my life, or affect my status as a citizen then a line is crossed. Your belief has become threats to my liberty, of person and thought.
The secular state is the only one that can give justice and freedom to citizens, whatever religion is yours or if you have none. That is a much more powerful argument than the irrationality of anyone believing their particular faith is true for everyone.
Related Blogs: Secularism – Why it is good for us all
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog